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What is your first step in developing a 0-1 product?

I haven't heard the phrase 0-1 products before and would love to learn more about it.
Brandon Green
Brandon Green
Buffer Staff Product ManagerMarch 11

"0-1 product development" is the idea of building something from nothing. That is, you have an abstract customer or business problem you need to solve and no solution for it (0) and, as a PM, you need to figure out the first attempt at a solution (1) to address the problem. An example from my own career is Notebooks, a product I helped ship at Abstract - we had a meaningful number of customers abandoning our initial offering due to changes in the product design tooling landscape, and we needed to figure out what problems they still had that we could build a solution to address. After spending a good amount of time interviewing and researching the product landscape, we identified an unmet need (in that case, a way to centralize design decisions made in the product design process outside of the tool used for design, to easily communicate and ratify decisions among stakeholders). We built an MVP, validated it with customers in a controlled setting, and then iterated on that product until we felt it was ready for a public launch.

My first step in developing a 0-1 product actually isn't developing at all - it's understanding or framing the customer problem. Often the problem is given to a PM in some other way that isn't actually the problem at its core. In the case of Abstract Notebooks, we actually had a business problem (customers were leaving our service because they no longer had an unmet need) but we didn't have a good sense of what other unsolved problems they had. In that case - and I'm a proponent of this - we went out and talked to users to help get an understanding of what problems they still had in their product design processes. We talked to a number of different kinds of users - former Abstract customers, curent ones, those who had never heard of us before - and started to find common challenges amongst them. That allowed us to shift away from thinking about the internal business problem to something very focused on the user. It certainly took some time to wrap our heads around a clear, focused problem we could solve, and there are a number of tactics one can use to do this (design sprints are one I like) - but that first step of beginning to frame the user problem is what I always find a useful starting point.

Laura Oppenheimer
Laura Oppenheimer
Bubble Group Product ManagerJuly 29

Part of the fun of building something 0-1 is that you have a green field in front of you — you can build anything! (Or that's what we wish as PMS....)

As much fun as it would be to the world is your product oyster, constraints help provide focus and a direction. I see the first step is making sure that you and stakeholders are aligned on what a goal or success looks like. And usually, that comes in the form of a metric that you're trying to move. 

If you work for an ecommerce company, you'll make very different decisions around what to build if your metric is increasing ASP versus unlocking a new vertical or segment. If your metric was the former, you might start doing user research on customer willingness to pay, or what they're thinking about when they're in the check-out flow. And if it's the latter, you'd probably start with user research into people who aren't yet your customers. 

Without that first constraint — what metric do we want to move, what does success look like — there's no way to focus your research and problem defintion phase. Once you have that north star to work toward, you can enter user research with your specific goal in mind. 

Ravneet Uberoi
Ravneet Uberoi
Uber B2B ProductsAugust 31

0 -1 product development refers to building a new product or service line from scratch (0) to bringing its first iteration into the hands of customers and users (1)

The first step to develop a 0-1 product is to deeply understand the market need. I look at this from the buyer perspective, the end user perspective, and the competitive landscape perspective. Unless you understand, what's needed, what exists, what's missing, and what will differentiate your solution and validate your need to exist, you cannot begin the next phase, which is product definition. 

Puja Hait
Puja Hait
Google Group Product ManagerSeptember 14

I will share first two steps that I follow.

Step 1: Is this problem worth solving?

1.1 Problem definition and user segmentation

  • B2B product: A business customer must have a genuine painpoint that they are willing to pay for. Some problems are not big enough problems, hence not high priorirty for the business users, these are not worth pursuing. Fine tune the problems till they hit  
  • B>B>C: The business user/stakeholder may have rightly identified a problem but may not have the best ideas in terms of what solutions can work. Validate the problem is real with user research.
  • B2C: Similar to B>B>C, some segment of users have a need. Identify who they are and what the real problems are.

1.2 Is the Problem TAM big enough

Step 2: Why us? Why now?

2.1 Do competitive studies 

2.2 SWOT analysis 

2.3 Are you best positioned to build this and build now?

Deepti Srivastava
Deepti Srivastava
Head of Product, VPDecember 14

At a high level, a 0 --1 product offers a completely new solution or functionality to a user problem, often creating a new market category or sub-category within an existing large market.  

The top thing in developing a 0--1 product is validating that there is a real user need in the market that will be served/solved by this new product, and, that the need is big enough to build a viable business around it.

  • Identifying/defining the top user persona for the product – their motivations, goals, tooling needs, and pain points with existing solutions, if any
  • Defining the buyer persona (if different from the user) – motivations, incentives, goals for themselves and their teams, and pain points with existing solutions, if any
  • Understanding the market – what existing market segment or category would the new product fit in, the competitors, incumbents, market sizing and basic TAM (total addressable market) analysis to validate there is a big enough market (or potential market) to build a business
    • If creating a new market category with the product, it is still important to understand what is the closest market segment to the new category you want to create. It helps gauge the TAM for business development purposes as well as the closest competitors to the new product.


Ashka Vakil
Ashka Vakil
strongDM Sr. Director, Product ManagementMay 3

The first and most critical step in developing a 0-1 product is to identify a customer problem that is pervasive and unmet. This requires conducting research and gathering insights into the target market, understanding their pain points, and identifying gaps in existing solutions. The goal is to identify a problem that is significant enough to justify the investment in developing a new product, and that presents an opportunity for differentiation and competitive advantage.

Hiral Shah
Hiral Shah
DocuSign Director of Product ManagementMarch 31

I have a very simple framework for building 0-1 product - IVC framework

  1. Identify:
  • The first step in developing any product or feature is to identify the user's needs. Hence, your goal should be to talk to as many users as you possibly can to understand what they say, do, think, and feel. This also helps you learn who you are solving for and who you are not solving for and create a problem statement

2. Validate

  • Building Conviction by testing Discovery, MVP, market analysis, possible conversion. During this time also you should be talking to customers to validate the problem and solution

3. Create:

  • Create the right team to build the product and also a plan on how you will bring the product to market. 

Pavan Kumar
Pavan Kumar
Gainsight Director, Product ManagementJune 29

Creating an entirely new product or entering a new market, the first steps typically involves conducting thorough market research and validating the product idea.

Here's a breakdown of the initial steps:

  1. Identify a Market Opportunity: Start by identifying a potential market opportunity where you believe there is a gap or unmet need. This can involve researching market trends, analyzing customer pain points, and exploring emerging technologies or industries.

  2. Define Target Customers: Clearly define the target customers for your product. Understand their characteristics, behaviors, preferences, and needs. Develop buyer personas or user profiles to gain a deeper understanding of your target audience.

  3. Conduct Market Research: Conduct comprehensive market research to assess the viability of your product idea. Evaluate the size of the market, competition, existing solutions, pricing models, distribution channels, and potential barriers to entry. This research helps you determine if there is a feasible market for your product.

  4. Validate the Product Idea: Validate your product idea by gathering feedback from potential customers, industry experts, or advisors. This can be done through surveys, interviews, focus groups, or prototype testing. The goal is to gather insights and determine if there is sufficient interest and demand for your product.

  5. Develop a Value Proposition: Based on the market research and validation, refine your product concept and develop a compelling value proposition. Clearly articulate how your product addresses customer pain points, offers unique value, and differentiates itself from existing solutions.

  6. Define Product Objectives: Establish clear objectives and goals for your product. These objectives should align with the market opportunity and address the identified customer needs. For example, objectives could include acquiring a certain number of customers, generating revenue, or achieving specific user engagement metrics. This is one of the key foundational steps!

  7. Create a Product Roadmap: Develop a product roadmap that outlines the key milestones, features, and deliverables required to bring your product from 0-1. The roadmap should align with your objectives and incorporate feedback and insights gained during the market research and validation process.

  8. Assemble a Team: Now we are ready to commit to our idea by investing on a team with the necessary skills and expertise to execute on the product roadmap.

It's important to remain flexible and adaptable throughout the process, iterating based on feedback, and continuously validating your assumptions as you move forward.

Paresh Vakhariya
Paresh Vakhariya
Atlassian Director of Product Management (Confluence)March 14

Here are some steps I would consider:

  • Customer and end user issues: conduct early stage interviews to understand the end user personas, their goals, pain points and unmet needs

  • Define the market size and ensure there is a large enough need for the product. Some financial modeling is needed to ensure the product will be viable.

  • Define success measures: What would it take for the product to be successful? What are the top metrics you will go after?

  • Build out a MVP: if possible, build a MVP product and launch it to some key customers for early feedback. Iterate as much as you can quickly.

  • Test the core hypothesis: work with some close customers and end users to test out the hypothesis and metrics you are going after. Talk to them often and make quick iterations.

  • Develop a prioritized roadmap of future iterations: what are the missing features you want to consider building quickly?

  • Iterate or pivot?: continue to refine ideas but know when to pivot your idea/solution to continue to solve the core user problem.

Tom Alterman
Tom Alterman
Notable Head of ProductApril 24

The first step in developing a 0-1 product is to deeply immerse yourself in the problem space and understand the users experiencing this problem. This foundational understanding is crucial as it ensures that the product development is user-centered and data-driven. By starting with a thorough grasp of the problem and user needs, you minimize the risk of building something that fails to address genuine demands, maximizing resource efficiency and adaptability in your development process.

Here's the approach I take:

  1. Gather existing knowledge

    • Conduct a comprehensive collection of all current knowledge about the problem area.

    • Organize a collaborative session, such as a FigJam, with key stakeholders to discuss their hopes, perceived risks, and success metrics.

  2. Synthesize insights

    • From the gathered information, craft a clear problem statement, a testable hypothesis, and a prioritized list of assumptions.

    • Ensure the most critical assumptions are validated first, as their invalidation might negate the need to test lower-priority assumptions.

  3. Validate assumptions

    • Collaborate with your team to design experiments that test these assumptions quickly and cost-effectively.

    • Aim for a level of confidence in your results that satisfies the team’s criteria for progress.

  4. Iteratively learn and adapt

    • Remain flexible and ready to revise your hypothesis based on new learnings and insights.

    • Foster a culture of experimentation and quick pivots based on real user feedback and data analysis.

Lisa Dziuba
Lisa Dziuba Head of Growth Product MarketingAugust 12

Start by forming assumptions and making hypotheses around the desirability, feasibility, and viability of your new product. Then validate those assumptions, learn and iterate.

Desirability assumptions could be

  • Is the product addressing a problem that the customer is facing? Always look at how big the problem is in customers' lives and how much time, money, and headache it saves. What is at stake if the problem goes unsolved?
  • How frequent is the problem? Building a product for a one-time problem is risky. It's much better to evaluate the possible stickiness of the product and retention, listing what can get the product there.
  • Do customers actually need this problem to be solved? Will this solution be treated as a "vitamin" or a "painkiller," a "nice-to-have" or "must-have?" Some products address problems that are more pronounced than others, which naturally increases their desirability.

Feasibility assumptions could be

  • Technology. What kind of technology and professionals are required? Should the business hire a full-stack engineering team, or is it possible to start with a minimum viable product built with no code? Physical resources, licenses, or cloud services — are those critical for the product's success?
  • Budget and timing. How much funding and time will it take to bring the product to the market?
  • Partnerships and resources. What are the pieces that businesses need to align to make the product a success? Those are partnerships to leverage, GTM resources, and support from the compliance or legal sides.

Viability assumptions

  • What would be the core assumptions to have a profitable business model? Unscalable business models with unreasonable monetization will quickly hit a dead-end for the new product.
  • Market opportunity. How big is the market for the planned product? What is the value of the problem that the business is planning to solve and how much will potential customers be willing to pay? 
  • Revenue streams and channels. What are all the marketing channels to reach customers and what will be the monetization model? 
  • Cost structure and unit economics. Is the pricing attractive compared to direct and indirect competitors? Is the cost vs profit ratio indicating a profitable business? What could be acceptable CAC? Will the product have a free trial or freemium?

Based on my article at Entrepreneur.

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