5 reasons why entrepreneurs & products fail?
Many product managers are entrepreneurs are extremely passionate individuals. However, at times unguided passion can result in products with limited customer and business value.
This blog only talks about pit falls while building products and does not focus on issues w.r.t marketing, pricing, sales motion, business models etc.
1. Strive for perfection
Perfection is the biggest enemy to learning fast and failing faster.
At times product managers build the most beautiful things that on one wants. Ever debated with your engineering to fix even the most remote low priority issues before a product launch because you have this urge to stand by the product quality? I have. “Sorry Vishnu” … & “Amit” & “Pratibha” & “Mahathi”, & “JP” & “Srini” & “Bala” & “Aseem”
When your perfection instincts kick in, you spend time and effort doing work that will fetch you immense personal satisfaction at the cost of customer and business value.
For example, the apple pro stand for $10k is a piece of art that folks are still trying to figure whether to buy as a piece of stand or as a piece of art. In my opinion, it has limited user value.
2. My product is my baby
After having spent months and at times years on an idea or a product, entrepreneurs become so attached to their concept that they are unable to see any flaws in it. They just want to make it work and in the process they turn a blind eye to any signals that suggest otherwise.
For example, many products and organizations had firm belief that their product, business model, and technology was here to stay. They held on to their idea long enough to see it become irrelevant.
3. Fit technology for customers
Few entrepreneurs and product managers have a bias towards the technology of choice. They are so passionate about a technology that it supersedes their passion to solve a customer problem.
You will hear conversations such as — let us make something using Blockchain or I want to solve some great problems using AI/ML. The problem with such conversations is that we are trying to make a technology work for a customer instead of focusing on a customer’s problem and understanding the applicability of the technology.
For example, foldable screens on a phone was exciting to see but it found limited customer acceptance. The list of these products is very long. Remember a glass that lets you see a virtual world?
4. Ship half baked scenarios
At times, product managers and entrepreneurs, in the haste of shipping early, ship an incomplete scenario. This is where the term MVP gets abused.
Such product deliveries do not guarantee any customer value or any PM learning. For example, in the above quintessential image of MVP, the scenario that you wish to solve is: “Traveling from point A to point B”. You can only get relevant value when you ship features that complete the scenario to move from point A to point B i.e. skateboard, scooter, cycle, bike or car.
If you ship a wheel, an engine, a car body, followed by a car you will never be able to get any meaningful feedback from the customers regarding your product.
5. Follow the competition
All product schools and most MBA models teach you the 5Cs of marketing and unfortunately some PMs take the “C” around competition the wrong way. They start looking at competition as a source of inspiration to build their products or do incremental changes to improve what the compete is already offering.
In such cases you will surely be able to play a great catch up game. But, you always remain a follower to your competition. You will always be a close second. While getting to 2nd in a market is not bad but chasing competition cannot be a product strategy.
There are many products that remain second to a market leader but what matters is the culture that has developed in such organizations. Do entrepreneurs find remaining second as their product goal or do they strive to reach the summit by being first hand innovators and by obsessing over their customers.
I hope you don’t fall prey to the same pitfalls that many others do.
Once you are ultra successful and become filthy rich after making billion dollar products after reading such blogs, you can think of donating any of these items to me:
Because honestly, I won’t buy them even when I am filthy rich :) Please message me for my address.