When we first started putting things together we knew that there were serious pain-points within organizations of all sizes and that their ability to make business-decisions from technical data was limited.
To make matters worse (and to throw salt in the wound), most of the data was available but it was silo’d and not easily understood or translated into business-centric outcomes.
With these issues in mind we began to build features that we believed would snowball into an eventual larger product – something that could be used to create visibility and enable the important conversations to happen around engineering and the larger software development lifecycle.
And although we are much farther than when we started it honestly took time to put together a product that truly resonates. What we’ve had to do is have consistent conversations with early customers and ask the hard but important questions:
Would this (fill in the blank) solve your problem?
Through those conversations we would iteratively get closer to identifying actual problems, not just what folks believed were problems (and there’s a real difference).
Something that an older friend and mentor once counseled me earlier in my product-building career is this easy-to-remember metaphor that I’ve never forgotten:
Everyone gets hungry at least 3 times a day… but the exact customer that you’re trying to target has a specific menu in mind. Align your offering with what will make them leave with a full stomach and so grateful that they’ll come back the following day (and bring friends).
What we’ve been trying to do is essentially working through this process as we identify the type(s) of customers that we can truly serve really well and offer them the best menu possible with our current resources. Of course, over time, we’ll expand, but we’ve got to get our “first course” completed and out the door.
In this way we’ve continued to build momentum, getting closer to what really resonates and what’s going to truly satisfy our first customers. It always takes more time than you imagine, even if you’re an experienced team and even if you’ve done it before.
In a way, the time requirement and investment is an important factor to consider because most folks will quit way before they find the right product that deeply resonates. It just leaves less (but better)options available to customers and this means that the customer will ultimately win – and that’s a good thing.
A product that resonates will have a history and legacy of tough conversations, iterations, and a lot of trial and error. And if we’re to continue the food metaphor, your first attempt at a main course isn’t ever going to be perfect, so don’t give up too early or too soon.
Also published on Medium.