Your Startup’s Customers Don’t Want New Features, They Need New Solutions
Have you ever bought a product that you expected to be great, but when you used it you were really disappointed?
I know why this happens. I know because I’ve built awesome products that nobody wanted. In fact, I’ve done it enough times to know that when it happens, it usually comes down to the same problem:
The product was nothing more than a great collection of features.
Product Features vs. Solutions
- A feature is something the product does.
- A solution is something the customer needs.
When you read those most basic definitions, the gap between builder and customer becomes a lot easier to see. We builders have a tendency to build what we envision. And when we don’t check that vision with the customer, we end up with a product that does a lot of very cool things — none of which the customer wants.
That’s when you realize that the word “feature” is just a term we use to cover up that mistake. Then you can’t unsee it.
Poor Solutions Are Passed Off as Amazing Features Everywhere
I see this happen in marketing messaging all the time. I get emails with subject lines that shout:
“Try our new golf VR coach!”
Instead of touting this accomplishment for the company, that message should be speaking directly to me. I’m much more likely to open an email that suggests that I might:
“Take 2.7 strokes off your next round!”
It’s not just a consumer-driven issue either. It’s in the questions I get from super intelligent entrepreneurs who are doing world-shaking things. They tell me they just announced an incredible new product to a lot of curated, ready-to-buy prospects and got complete silence back. Then I go to their website which describes their product as:
“The world’s first multi-partitioned SCOOP-based micro server that can output JSON-based crux…