On building product by Michael Seibel

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How to bring successful products to market.

For the first issue on my new newsletter on product development, I decided to start with an all-time-favourite video of mine by Michael Seibel, Y Combinator CEO, on tips to bring new products to market.

🔍 What problem are you solving?

Often, founders are vaguely interested in a problem or idea without having nailed down what is the actual problem they are solving. These are three tips to better define the problem:

1. Try to clearly state the problem → You should be able to state the problem that you are addressing (and the specific user you are helping) in two sentences or less. If you can't, you don't know the problem yet.

2. Try to define the problem narrowly. When you get started you can't solve this problem for everyone. Think about what can you address immediately. Who can you help now? Define a narrow use case.

3. Figure out if the problem is actually solvable. Once you can clearly state a problem that is narrowly defined, you can ask the question of whether the problem is actually solvable. Some problems are hard to solve.

🦸🏻 Who is your customer?

You don't understand the problem you are solving until you understand who are you solving it for. Below you'll find three steps to better define your customer:

1. Everyone can NOT be your customer to start with. Most products used by everyone now had no users to start with. Figure out who is your ideal first customer. If you don’t have a good answer to this question, you’ll be lost as you won't be able to talk to them as you build your product.

2. Get to know your customers deeply. This is why you need to figure out your ideal customer. Communicating with them often will save you time and money as you will be able to shape the product around their most pressing problem.

3. How intense and frequent is their problem? Make an intensity/frequency analysis of their problem. High intensity (they really need your product) and high frequency (they will be using your product often) are good.

🤩 Does your mvp solve the problem?

This happens more often than not. In the process of building your Minimum Viable Product (the simplest version of your product) you might end up with something that doesn't do what you promised.

1. Does your MVP actually solve the problem? From the beginning, have a close relationship with your users to find out if your product is doing the job it was originally intended.

2. Identify the right customer to get feedback from. Getting feedback from people that don't really need to use your product can lead you to the wrong path. You want feedback from users who either already pay for your product or whose life would be harder without it

📈 Be smart with your metrics

Your MVP should have analytics from day one. This will allow you to monitor how users use your product. Otherwise, you will be flying blindly. Below you'll find three tips about setting up metrics:

1. Set up an events-based analytics product. Google Analytics isn't great to identify what actions your users took when using your product. Were they clicking on that button, were they seeing this particular screen? For this type of insight, you need products such as Mixpanel, Amplitude, Heap, etc.

2. Define your main KPI. A Key Performance Indicator is a number that you track to reflect how your company is doing. Your KPI should almost always be one of two things:

  1. Revenue if you are planning to charge money from your customers.
  2. Usage (like daily active users) if you are not going to charge money.

3. Pick only 5 to 10 important stats. Avoid tracking all that your users are doing. Pick a few simple stats that move your main KPI and educate everyone in your team to access them.

🤗 And that's all for this week

Thanks for reading,

Here is the link to the video in YouTube

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