Paul Graham

When a startup launches, there have to be at least some users who really need what they’re making — not just people who could see themselves using it one day, but who want it urgently. Usually this initial group of users is small, for the simple reason that if there were something that large numbers of people urgently needed and that could be built with … [ Read more ]

Rahul Vohra

[Sean] Ellis [has] found a leading [product/market fit] indicator: just ask users “how would you feel if you could no longer use the product?” and measure the percent who answer “very disappointed.” After benchmarking nearly a hundred startups with his customer development survey, Ellis found that the magic number was 40%. Companies that struggled to find growth almost always had less than 40% of users … [ Read more ]

Rahul Vohra

To increase your product/market fit […] spend half your time doubling down on what users already love and the other half on addressing what’s holding others back.

Ibrahim Gokcen

Failing fast and cheap doesn’t mean making bad decisions. It means complying within the constraints that you have, and learning how do you go faster or how do you test things faster. And then implementing the decisions properly.

Scott Belsky

Your challenge is to create product experiences for two different mindsets, one for your potential customers and one for your engaged customers. Initially, if you want your prospective customers to engage, think of them as lazy, vain, and selfish. Then for the customers who survive the first 30 seconds and actually come through the door, build a meaningful experience and relationship that lasts a lifetime. … [ Read more ]

Scott Belsky

Whether you’re building a product, creating art, or writing a book, you need to remember that your customers or patrons make sweeping judgments in their first experience interacting with your creation – especially in the first thirty seconds. I call this the “first mile,” and it is the most critical yet underserved part of a product. […] In a world of moving fast and pushing … [ Read more ]

Scott Belsky

Life is just time and how you use it. Every product or service in your life either helps you spend time or save time. […] The only exceptions are rare products … that add a time-consuming action to your plate while also making that experience faster than it normally would be.

Scott Belsky

Simple is sticky. It is very hard to make a product—or any customer experience—simple. It is even harder to keep it simple. The more obvious and intuitive a product is, the harder it is to optimize it without adding complication.

How Big Companies Can Outrun Disruption

Large companies can be easy targets for disruption, but Gary Pisano says there are steps that can keep them ahead of the innovation curve. Rule 1: Don’t emulate startup cultures.

Freek Vermeulen

Stopping doing certain things is a different route to innovation.

How to Shape Remarkable Products in the Messy Middle of Building Startups

Scott Belsky’s new book, The Messy Middle, covers an expansive range of topics, from constructing teams (“If you avoid folks who are polarizing, you avoid bold outcomes”) to culture and tools (“Be frugal with everything except your bed, your chair, your space, and your team”) to anchoring to your customers (“empathy and humility before passion”). We’re pleased to present Belsky’s introduction to his “Optimizing Product” … [ Read more ]

Taking the measure of product development

Is the way you measure product-development performance harming your company’s health? New research suggests that it might be.

Scott Keller, Mary Meaney

To most leaders, the speed and flexibility that drive innovation lie at the opposite end of the spectrum from standardization and centralization, which promote efficiency and control risk. Not so. Rita Gunther McGrath’s research sheds light on agile organizations. Large companies that raise their income disproportionately, she found, have two main characteristics: they are innovative and experimental and can move quickly but also have consistent … [ Read more ]

David Bohm

No really creative transformation can possibly be effected by human beings unless they are in the creative state of mind that is generally sensitive to the differences that always exist between the observed fact and any preconceived ideas, however noble, beautiful, and magnificent they may seem to be.

Accelerating Product Development: The Tools You Need Now

To speed innovation and fend off disruption, R&D organizations at incumbent companies can borrow the tools and techniques that digital natives use to get ahead.

Taking the Measure of Innovation

Don’t overlook the insight that two simple metrics can yield about the effectiveness of your R&D spending.

Safe Enough to Try: An Interview with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

Organizations are more likely to innovate and thrive when they unleash the potential of individuals and the power of self-organizing teams, says the online retailer’s CEO.

Andrew Hargadon

The pursuit of innovation doesn’t depend on genius. Instead, it demands ingenuity — the ability to come up with solutions that are original and clever given the constraints that you and everyone else face.

[…]‌

The penicillin story makes clear that the need to come up with a new and brilliant idea is often overrated. The ideas are out there, and people can see them. They just … [ Read more ]

Data From 3.5 Million Employees Shows How Innovation Really Works

Innovation, like marketing and sales, is a pipeline. In one end go raw concepts and notions. Out the other end come actionable ideas that can move the business forward. With the right technology, could you manage this pipeline the way you manage a sales pipeline?

Our research shows that you can.

One of us, Dylan, has analyzed five years of data from 154 public companies covering over … [ Read more ]