Questions from a Startup Founder #1

I was recently asked a couple of questions from a fellow startup founder that I often see and can benefit many people.
1.  What is the thing [secret sauce] that takes it from a project to product?
2.  Do customers want a base product with customization to their specific needs or is generic more profitable?
3.  How do you support the product if you have large amount of customers?

These are in depth questions, but let me see if I can give an overview for ya.


What is the thing [secret sauce] that takes it from a project to product?

1.  The only ‘secret sauce’ that I’ve found (across all our clients) is community.   The companies that build a community first, and then support that community via a product almost *always* succeed in some capacity; whereas the ones that build a product first on the assumption that they’ll find a community almost *always* go to market and then realize – shit, I’ve got no users.

I always recommend building the community first, and then building the product to support the community.

Do customers want a base product with customization to their specific needs or is generic more profitable?

2.  Highly depends on the context, the application, and the type of user engagement.    This also ties into what’s customizable;  for instance; we’ve built products before that can have the entire theme switched at the blink of an eye on iOS and Android, and customers can purchase that.   Really easy when using frameworks such as Ionic.    I offer consulting for this type of question if you want to get together, let me know and I’ll have my account manager get you set up for an appointment.

How do you support the product if you have large amount of customers?

3.  There’s two different types of support, infrastructure and outreach.   Infrastructure wise – utilize something like Firebase that can scale dynamically without requiring you to do any extra work.   Outreach wise, you need to have clear channels of communication defined for your users to approach you, and ways for you to respond.
If you have 1,000 people emailing you, texting you, and hitting you up via instagram – that’ll get crazy, specially when it scales to 10,000.   But, if you filter them ALL through a single point of contact mechanism – you can control the experience much better.

Hope that is helpful.  If you’re in the B2B space, I highly recommend creating a customer checklist so you’re not wasting time on ‘bad’ clients.   I’ve got a blog post about this topic here.

Also – I’d recommend doing a feature pyramid to prioritize your features and what you’re building; as well as a LEAN Canvas.  Sorry I don’t have a video of LEAN Canvas, but I do have a copy you can have from a presentation I gave today at UPenn.

Best,
~Jedi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *