189. Features: Don’t Sell Products

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If you aren't getting positive feedback from the market, don't start adding things. Strip the product down to its core basic value prop.

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Features don’t sell products. I am a former product guy. I like to tell people that now I’m mostly a business guy. But for the majority of my company’s starting years, I would fall in love with an idea and I’d build it, or I’d work with a team who would build it. What I would find is that, as a product guy, there’s this moment that most people experience where you’re so enthusiastic about this product that you’re building, and then you release it to crickets. Nobody’s banging down your door. All of those clicks from TechCrunch aren’t actually converting into users.

And where does your head go as a product person? You think, “Oh, I need to add more features. The reason that people aren’t signing up is because we don’t have social sharing or we haven’t added an AI bot or…” You know, you can think of it, you can build it. You can dream it. That’s not why people buy products.

And what I’ve learned over the years from many, many failures is that when you launch a product and it’s not resonating, the best thing you can possibly do—and this is completely counterintuitive—is to start ripping features out. If you launch a product and it’s got 10 features and nobody cares, what do you take away with that information? What is it that’s not resonating?

Do you launch a product that has 1 feature? All right. We know something, they don’t care about what you’re actually doing. As a founder, we are wrong in far more ways than we’re right. And the job is not to prove that we’re right. It’s to figure out the many ways that we’re wrong. And you do that through simplicity. So remember that if you aren’t getting positive feedback from the market, don’t start adding things. Strip the product down to its core basic value prop and figure out do people care about what you’re offering.

About Eric Marcoullier
Eric coaches first- and second-time tech CEOs, keeping their companies alive long enough to get lucky, figure out their business, find product/market fit and replace his ass with someone who knows how to scale companies beyond $5M in ARR. His work primarily involves challenging business assumptions, providing frameworks for new situations and distilling complexity down to basic, actionable ideas. If you’d like to learn more about his coaching, visit www.marcoullier.com or www.linkedin.com/in/bpm140

About AVL Growth Partners
AVL Growth Partners, founded in 2009, is the leading fractional Finance and Accounting firm supporting organizations in pivoting from growth to scale. AVL brings an experienced team of CFOs, Controllers, and Accountants to your organization, delivering transparent, strategic actions for short and long-term success. Transform your financial approach affordably with AVL, supporting companies coast to coast – get to know AVL Growth Partners at avlgrowth.com. (Sponsored)

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