How to Understand Which Features to Build NextListen to Your Users
Listen to Your Users
One of the hardest parts about founding a company or hacking up a project is deciding which features you want to build next. We all have our own ideas and biases for what we think the next best thing or feature to add to our product is, but rarely do we build out true experiments for testing our assumptions.
It can be hard to escape from the influence of your personal bias. You want your ideas to be right. You worked so hard on them! Separating that, even from your unconscious decision making, can be extremely valuable for hosting accurate and insightful testing on your product.
The next trap that many creators fall into, aside from imposing personal bias, is listening to external cues as validation separate from their user feedback.
It’s 2017 — we hear so much advice nowadays about what we should be doing. In podcasts. In the news. In videos. In blog posts like this one. We keep hearing the same advice and feedback over and over.
The thing to think about is…who is this “advice” from and should we care about it?
The conclusion that many entrepreneurs, especially the most successful ones, come to quickly is that most people’s opinions do not really matter. Your professors. The press. Your friends.
All of these people’s insights, while they may be interesting, can often be distractions.
Distractions from what?
From your users’ opinions. They are the ones who are going to use your product. They are who you should be listening to. Right? Because they are the people that, at the end of the day, will be spending money on your product.
We often tend to over index on what “smart people think” rather than what our “users think.” We think that “serial entrepreneurs” know better than our users. Is this true? Maybe. But more likely it’s true that if you could solve a real problem, you would not need to worry so much about growth and growth hacking. If you could so keenly empathize with a large set of a population, then you could build the perfect tool/service that answers to their needs.
Listening is the first step.
So how do you create a system to listen to your users?
I asked my friend Deep Patel, he’s building a company right now, Owlmetrics, and he is working on building out a feedback loop just like this right now.
“This first big thing we had to recognize is that, to be really successful, we needed validation. We could not spend all of this time and money building out awesome features without first hearing feedback from users. So we launched a beta program and have slowly been on boarding users.”
I asked Deep exactly how they are on boarding users and how they measure feedback.
“We’re taking it really slowly. The last thing that we wanted to do was rush into this, get too many customers, and deliver a poor experience.
So we started slowly and have really been hand holding customers understanding their interaction with the platform and measuring things like use cases, as well as problems they have had with the platform.
We are doing our best to ignore false indicators — like press, vanity metrics — and focus on what really matters — paying customers.”
While it is often easier said than done, focusing on what matters is often a startup’s biggest obstacle early on.
Figuring out what matters, so you know what to focus on, is best found by listening to your users and distilling their problems into buckets and then iterating on those.
Thanks so much for reading! My name is Jordan Gonen and I write blog posts every day. It would mean a ton to me if you could:
If you ever have any questions, send me an email jordangonen1 at gmail dot com ! Thanks so much!
Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.