Top tips for product development

Product development principles to live by.

Focus on the problem

Everyone says this and we all know it, but doing it in practice is hard.

Really focus on what problem you’re solving. Write it down somewhere, preferably on a wall where you’ll see it every day. Every time a feature is mentioned ask the question “does that help us solve the problem?”

It’s astonishing how easy it is, even after years of product development, to drift off and start working on features / ideas that aren’t relevant to the core problem you’re trying to solve.

When it comes to build time, build it well

The post: MVP does not equal shit product has more detail. Build as well as you can and don't cut corners. You'll thank yourself later.

Don't build a native app

Building a native app is difficult, slow and very expensive. Start with a web app. They are quick, cheap (relative to native) and you can ship changes instantly.

Only look at a native app once you have gained a rock solid understanding of your value proposition and you know what core functionality is. Even then, double down on my first point (focus on the problem).

Your opinion doesn't matter

You are too close to your own work, and so are your co-founders. As are your families and friends. When it comes to UX, taglines, copy etc neither you nor those close to you can make an objective call on it. It's impossible.

As early as is logistically possible get your product in front of actual customers and get feedback. Sites like Indie Hackers are perfect for this.

Your early versions should be bad

If you’re not embarrassed by your first release then you shipped too late
- Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn)

You cannot start learning anything until people start using your product. The above quote has become a cliche, but that doesn’t mean it’s not correct. Get your product in front of real customers. Now.

Take all feedback with a pinch of salt

This applies to good AND bad feedback. Don't get too caught up in any of it.

Even if a piece of feedback really makes sense to you and it’s something you should take action on, does it need to be done right now?

Also, disregard all feedback that you only hear once. Real, actionable feedback is the stuff you hear repeatedly, from multiple sources.

You will not blow up on "launch day"

No matter what you think, when you launch your product, very few people outside of your immediate circle will care. This is even true if you have a decent marketing budget. Having a successful product is a marathon and not a sprint. Stay the course.

If you're not a (good) UX designer, get a (good) UX designer

Don’t underestimate how important this is. If you have the best product in the world but people can’t use it… you’ve lost the game.