All related (10)
Puja Hait
Product Leader, GoogleSeptember 1

1. Not validating the problem statement enough. Is this really a problem?

2. For a B2B product, I think its important to think through early on whether this is a problem they are willing to pay for. Often times, this is an after thought and expensive to pivot.

3. Giving up too soon. Its easier said than done to validate the problem statement. Sometimes this take iterations where you get live feedback from real users. So you might be dancing around the problem space for a bit and that's okay. 

Brandon Green
Director of Product, Fulfillment, ezCater | Formerly Wayfair, Abstract, CustomMade, SonicbidsMarch 9

I think the two most common mistakes in building 0-to-1 products are:

  1. Not acknowledging or checking some assumptions about the problem your product is meant to solve
  2. Over-investing in the first iteration of that product (the MVP) without having proven out the riskiest of your assumptions
  3. Under-investing in product market research (specifically the other products in the problem space and their strengths/weaknesses)

I see a lot of PMs attempt to build things that are bigger and more complicated than the most core thing they need to build to prove out whether a solution to the problem at hand is viable. This often manifests as other features that you may think are necessary, when in reality they are useful asides that don't actually get to the heart of what you are trying to prove out. The other side of this is knowing what makes YOUR solution unique in its ability to meet an otherwise unmet need. We see a lot of new products launch (eg. on Product Hunt) that look like a clone of something else - in some cases, that's definitely true, but in others, the creator has found a particular niche that makes the product useful in a way that other similar products are not. Not thinking about this creates risk that your brand-new product is easily dismissed as a clone of something else.

Laura Oppenheimer
Lead Product Manager, Bubble | Formerly Quizlet, CheggJuly 27

I might even abstract this out further to answer "What are the top mistakes product managers make when building a product period?"

The best advice I've been given — and what I try to follow in my own work — is to be obsessed with the problem and not the solution. It can be really easy to think you know what the answer is based on what a user tells you in research, what a PMM counterpart reports back or what sales is saying the customer wants. Solutions are sexy and it's fun to build! And yet, being obsessed with the solution is less important than making sure you're 100% sure what the problem is. 

Deepti Srivastava
Head of Product, VP, December 12

Not focussing on the user.

I tend to be pretty heavily user-focussed when building products. I believe strongly that without users, you may have cool technology, but you don’t have a product.

 

The first step towards building a 0-1 product is understanding who you are building it for, why is that the right target audience for your product, and how will this product make their lives better. If you don’t have clear answers to those questions, you’re not building a product.

Lisa Dziuba
Head of Product Marketing, LottieFiles | Formerly WeLoveNoCode (made $3.6M ARR), Abstract, Flawless App (sold)August 17

Hello from ex-founder who built startup and launched 3 products from scratch. Please meet my favorite personal mistakes with the biggest learnings. All coming from my startup Flawless App which we eventually successfully sold:


🥇"Always run user research."
Back in 2015, I and Ahmed Sulaiman released our first product.

It Failed Dramatically. We spent one year of development without proper user research, without defining the customer journey, or even having personas.

Obviously, we built something we imagined users would need but ... users had their own opinion. That taught me the importance of knowing users and their needs.


🥈 "Start small"
Really? Who doesn't know that? Everyone read about the lean startup framework except for us... We built FOUR products as our first MVP: a plugin for Sketch, a plugin for Xcode, a plugin for an iOS simulator, and a web version.

The release cycle of one year made our feedback loop ONE year long! If you'd see me now, you'll notice me blushing from shame. Start small...


🥉 "Do you know what your competitors are doing?"
In 2018, we didn't know until...

a competitor copied one of our main features. Well, doing a competitive analysis could mitigate the risk of this happened unexpectedly. This situation taught me the importance of competitive intelligence, competitive differentiation, and the power of product stickiness.

I hope, you will learn from my mistakes and will avoid them in your products.