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Product Discovery not Software Development (lolstartups.com)
39 points by enki on Jan 10, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 5 comments



This article was inspired by a heated discussion on irc.freenode.net #startups about whether not supporting IE and even Firefox is a viable strategy for an early-stage startup.

Here's how I see it: your software doesn't "not support IE". Your software "doesn't support IE today". You have the rest of your life to rectify this if it matters to you.

Other things may, for the moment, be higher on the priority list. That is OK. For example, if your are getting 10 visits a day, and your software does not support any printer but the default one, a non-trivial percentage of your ten visitors a day will be much happier with you if you fix that. However, for the moment, you'll have better business results if you work on your SEO to get to 100 visits a day, and tell anyone who complains that you're sorry and that a fix is in the pipeline.

My software really didn't support any printer but the default one, for about two months in summer of 2006. I am probably the only person alive who remembers this, because customers have more important things to do with their lives than remember and remark upon software that didn't meet their needs.

My friends who strongly advise against launching "half-functional" software like this say "But but but you'll poison your brand image with everybody who gets bitten by it!" First, if you actually manage to establish a brand image to poison you're far ahead of the game. Second, it isn't "half-functional", it is "fully functional for the set of functionality implemented right now". The people who just print to their default printer don't perceive it as damaged. Similarly, IE support should almost certainly be on your roadmap, but if it doesn't work today that doesn't mean your Firefox users will curse your name.


I think this is a great point. Early adopters will put up with bugs and crappy tech if the app solves a real pain and makes them happy. It's all about love, not IE6.


While I do understand and agree that the initial stages of a startup are about Product Discovery, what I would like to understand more is when startups realize that they have hit the right product. Like what metrics can be considered as an indicator that your product is finally converging towards a point where a signinficant chunk of your target audience will find it useful and use it


Got it. So, in order,

1. Customer Development 2. Product Discovery 3. ??? 4. Profit!

Right?


tell me more about 3 plz




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