🛠️ The Product Person #23: Great, Not Good

If your product is great, it doesn't have to be good.

Pick 3 key features.

Forget everything else.

Those three features will define the essence and value of your product.

The rest is noise.

The iPod Example

For example, the original iPod was:

1) Small enough to fit in a pocket

2) Had enough storage to hold hours worth of songs

3) Easy to sync with Mac software

That's it. There were many features that it was lacking: no wireless, no ability to edit playlists on the device, etc. —nothing but the essentials, well executed.

The 1st gen iPod was released in Oct 2001. The iPod was such a good product that by 2008, it had captured 48% of the mp3 player market. The closest competitor in 2008 had an 8% market share. That’s 6x better.

The iPod Critiques

The iPod’s focus garnered it lots of hate. Naysayers poked at all the features that the iPod was missing.

Take a look at some famous 2001 iPod critiques from sites like MacRumors and Slashdot:

The Lesson

By focusing on only a few core features, you are forced to find the true essence and value of your product.

AKA, the feature(s) that make your product shine.

There will be critics that will point out the lackluster parts of your product. And they’re right. Parts of your product will just be “okay.”

But, true focus takes sacrifice.

If you're creating a new product, what are the three (or fewer) key features that will make it so great that you can cut or half-ass everything else?

Are you focusing at least 80% of your effort on getting those three things right?

🖇️ This is a summary of a blog post by Paul Buchheit, the creator of Gmail.


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