Launching a product

August 25, 2022

There's a startup fallacy called "build it, and they will come". The idea behind the fallacy is that having a working product is enough to get traction. Enough to get users. Enough to get customers. Enough to survive.

That fallacy might have been true in the early days of the web, when the first mover advantage was so strong that building the product was enough to get you going, as you were the first (and the only) product of that kind.

But today? That doesn't matter anymore. Every day new products get launched and every day more of them fail.

Building and launching a product has become easy and streamlined. Ready made web frameworks that do most of the heavy lifting, no-code/low-code solutions that help you quickly create a working product, as well as platforms where it takes a few days to get an expert to help you out.

The actual development of the product is pretty much solved and streamlined.

If building it is easy, why is it hard to have a successful product?

Because the hard part is not building it, but knowing what to build. Emphasis on knowing.

If you are a part of a startup that's still looking for their product-market fit, the most valuable thing is not revenue, traction, lines of code, number of employees, but knowledge. Knowledge that tells you what works, what doesn't, and what has a better chance of working in the future. That knowledge is what propels you forward and helps you iterate and improve your product.

The trouble is, that there are no shortcuts or easy ways to gain that knowledge. You have to actually put in the work and the effort. That takes time. In return you get experience and knowledge.

How to make a successful product?

Well in practice, having a successful product means having something that's constantly improved in line what the customers and users want and need. The driving part of a successful product is thus the knowledge of what to build. So try to optimize your process on most knowledge gained, more than features shipped.