Product feedback

There are two types of product feedback.

The first take the existing product flow as given and make suggestions for improvements within the existing flow. Examples of such suggestions include adding alternative login options, changing the font or size of the text, playing with the specific fields presented on a particular page, or making sure that links work.

Such suggestions are examples of “doing things right”. While they’re certainly useful, it’s the responsibility of the team to identify the need for and make such corrections and optimizations.

The second type of product feedback pertains to “doing the right thing”. Rather than take the existing product flow as given, these suggestions question the product flow itself. For example, what are the core use cases that the product needs to address, and is it doing so in a way that’s easily accessible to the user? Are there peripheral use cases that are being given too much attention in the product?

“Doing the right thing” type product feedback is where investors can add value. There are two reasons for this.

The first is that once a team makes a “doing the right thing” product decision, it becomes immersed in “doing things right”. It can be challenging to resurface and question the original assumptions around the core product decisions. The investor is already at the surface so it can be easier for them to see opportunities to do the right thing.

The second reason is that most product teams spend <10% of their time on “doing the right thing” decisions and >90% of their time on “doing things right” decisions. The temptation to just dive in and build is so great that you can lose sight of those opportunities where the greatest value is at stake.

A corollary to this reasoning is that if an investor repeatedly gives a team “doing things right” type product feedback, they either backed the wrong team or they are misjudging how they can add value.


Also published on Medium.