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Sofas, Product Market Fit, and “The Homer”

The best kind of thinking. Sat on the sofa.

One thing we all have more of at the moment, is time in the house. Now before we get started, this isn’t a post about working from home, or COVID-19. There is enough content on those topics already to last a lifetime.

But sat on my sofa yesterday, I reached for the remote and was hit with a slap of Product insight I’d personally not noticed before. Maybe I was used to both products so didn’t see it, maybe I’d just never thought about it. But I was presented with a choice, TV remote, or Amazon Firestick remote.

Option 1; a product that’s twice the size of my hand, heavy and displays a plethora of 57 buttons (I counted so you don’t have to), options, choices and integrations with other media. Numbers, colours, and abbreviations everywhere. ECO. SAT. EPG. I / II / I+II. The kind of thing that wouldn’t look out of place in an airplane cockpit.

Option 2; a light-weight, palm sized device. The selection wheel fits exactly where your thumb rests. 10 buttons, all with an icon that explains exactly what they do at a glance, the iconic Amazon smile at the bottom.

It’s no secret that Amazon are obsessive about customer experience, and sitting in the palm of my hand was the purest example of that. Even as one of the most valuable and largest tech businesses the world has ever seen, they present you with 10 choices, not 57.

Many Founders I meet start out with ambitious plans. Their product will change the world, it will do this, and do that. The features are coming thick and fast. But herein lies the problem. Product-Market Fit. If as a business owner you don’t truly know what your customers want, what they’ll happily pay for and crucially, why, then you run the risk of building “The Homer”. (if you’re not a Simpson’s fan, google The Homer and see what I mean).

But back to the sofa. Interestingly, I didn’t think my TV remote was rubbish or obsolete. I instead went down the rabbit hole of thought and realised that the Firestick remote couldn’t and wouldn’t exist without the TV, and the decades of invention and innovation that have taken it to this point. I’m old enough to remember TVs with physical buttons you had to push in… The TV has been one of the most important inventions in spreading entertainment and information around the world.

So in reality, each product has its place and fit, and for many customers forms a symbiotic relationship that enhances our experience of how we consume media content and entertainment.

There is nothing wrong with your product being extensive in offerings, with integrations and options, but only if that’s what your customers truly want and need. When starting out with your product build, and everyday thereafter, you should constantly be asking what your customers want, what are they happy to pay for, and why.

If you’re a tech startup Founder and are looking for guidance and support with your product, then please get in contact to understand how Black Nova can help you on your journey.

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