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20 things I believe about building new products


Building new products

Ask a group of architects to design a new home and you’ll get as many different designs as you have architects. The same is true when you ask New Product Development (NPD) practitioners what they believe about the process of building and launching new products into the market.

But since we’re all different, I thought I would take a moment today to highlight the 20 things I believe about building new products. This isn’t a manifesto, and I haven’t written details around each item on the list. Maybe that will come later. But for me, even reading other people’s lists are fun. So hopefully this is helpful in some way.

My top twenty beliefs

Without further ado, here are my 20 beliefs about building new products.

  1. People pay for the delta between their old life and the life you now offer.

  2. Features are a proxy for that change, but they’re not what people are paying for.

  3. Painting the picture of the delta harder than engineering.

  4. The easiest way to elaborate on that delta is thru stories.

  5. Selling to early adopters is predominantly an effort of syncing stories.

  6. That’s why it’s critical to build an opinion directly into your products.

  7. When solving problems, don’t focus on problem #27.

  8. People will agree it’s a problem, but they won’t pay for its solution.

  9. The best way to test if people really want it solved is by paying.

  10. No new product will solve every problem, so focus on the big ones.

  11. When you solve important problems, you get the chance to solve more.

  12. Solving more problems leads to a larger portion of someone’s wallet.

  13. The larger share of a wallet you own, the longer your relationship.

  14. Shifting from vendor/customer to partners helps you build better products.

  15. Few people buy infrastructure. Most people buy results.

  16. So selling new products by pitching technology doesn’t always work.

  17. Early adopters want to be heard. Not necessarily obeyed.

  18. What’s critical, throughout the process, is expectation management.

  19. Small, incremental, iterative experiments work best.

  20. The skill of new product development is a competitive advantage.

The start of a dialogue…

You may be working on a new product even as you read this. And your list may differ than mine. If that’s the case, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Go ahead and comment below. Which items do you agree with? Which ones do you disagree with?

This is just the start of a dialogue. 

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