Make Your Mark: The Creative’s Guide to Building a Business with Impact by Jocelyn K. Glei is one of the most important books that I’ve read this season, as I’ve been learning about Growth and Impact. The book is a very cool compilation of advice, experience sharing and interviews with top business executives and founders in the creative industry. I found some of the things shared in the book to be very instructive and one of my favourite chapters was the chapter on Product building.
Here I share some of my the words and advice that have changed how I’m seeing Product Building.
“Product is a clinical term for a passionate endeavor. As Steve Jobs, the “product guy” par excellence, put it: “Every good product I’ve ever seen is because a group of people cared deeply about making something wonderful that they and their friends wanted. They wanted to use it themselves.”
Andy Dunn on focusing on one product for a long time:
1. “If you don’t start with a relentless focus on an amazing first product, odds are you won’t even get a seat at the table. You don’t start with the right to do product #2. ”
2. “Here’s the paradox: even if you make two great items right out of the gates, just by having two you make it harder for the customer to know what job to hire you for. Why start with two, when it creates more risk, requires more capital, dilutes your focus, and makes it harder to message who you are in those precious early innings? Remember: you’ll have opportunities to grow revenue and extend the brand later.”
Scott Belsky on Designing the experience of the product:
1. “For your customer, the product is ultimately his or her experience of it and nothing more. So when you are creating and evolving a product, your primary role is really managing the experience of those who will use it.”
2. “The trick here is to stay sober about your product by regularly boiling down every aspect of it for the first-time user. Doing so brings you back to the roots of why your product is important and what made it effective in the first place.”
3. “As you build your product or service, take a two-track approach. Optimize the product experience for the first fifteen seconds as a compartmentalized project. Then, for the customers that actually come through the door, build a meaningful experience and a relationship that lasts a lifetime. In other words, make decisions with the short-term as well as the long-term in mind.”
Sebastian Thrun on focusing on the process as opposed to the end result:
1. “The journey is much more delightful if you can derive pleasure from the process every day, rather than at the end of the year. If your goal is to IPO and get rich, then you’re going to be in for a very long, very sad ride. Because most people don’t IPO and don’t get rich.”
2. “One mistake I see a lot is the eternal thinker, the perfectionist. This is the person that builds all the components without putting them together because there’s perfection in component development.”
Jane ni Dhulchaointigh on treating your users like collaborators:
1. “Whether you embrace it or not, you are not the only one who is building your product or business—your users are, too. And by involving your users at every turn—before, during, and after launch—you’ll also have the most amazing time along the way.”
2. “Empower your users to be your ambassadors, their word is more powerful than yours.”
Julie Zhuo on Product Design
1. “More often than not, the questions I ask myself when encountering a new innovation are: 1) Does this make my life better? and 2) Is it easy to use?”
2. “Don’t limit the shape of the solution too early.”
3. “Reduce the number of steps required.”
4. “Look for opportunities to lean on familiar patterns or mental models.”
You should get the book.