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Making a digital product7 lessons that we learned from launching 100 digital products

Making a digital product is not an easy task. Many things should be included on the very early stages. Together with CEO of LinkUp Studio Andriy Sambir we will try to find out why you shouldn’t drop the idea even if it sounds weird, why 9 moms cannot give birth to a baby in 1 month and what else he found out while creating 128 software products.

This post is part of a series of Building Digital Products - a podcast by LinkUp Studio, which we created to help innovators and entrepreneurs to create successful digital solutions - from idea to market.

Not understanding an idea doesn't mean you shouldn’t try

Here, in LinkUp, we often say: “Everything starts with an idea, but only results matter”. Many people have their ideas, but not all of them proceed with their implementation. Only a small percentage can get real results and actually change the world.

We always analyze ideas that product owners want to implement, including market, potential customers, potential customers in the second round and potential investors. Literally everything and everybody. And this should be done before writing a single line of the code, because coding is expensive stuff. Sometimes it is really hard to understand the idea properly if you haven’t spent time on research. Once we were in a situation where we had to test the feature of having a camera behind a chat in a messenger. It seemed weird. But after testing the prototype, we realized it was supposed to save the user from bumping the wall (or whatever people do while staring at their phones). So, not understanding the idea doesn't mean it's not worth trying.

Always look for a weak point of the product

Nothing is perfect, and not every idea can be successful. Working with somebody who has experience in technical and marketing ways makes your probability higher. You’ll be more likely to get funding from investors, getting your fist onboarding users and everything else. Once we had a situation when we almost failed because of not knowing Australian laws. Our product owner, whose idea was to create a convenient service of renting and lending apartments, didn’t know it’s prohibited to leave a review about a tenant. That’s how we realized we need a consultation with a lawyer. People tend to talk more about the strong sides of their platforms rather than weak ones. We have to seek them.

Start small, do it well and grow it gradually

If you want to change the world, you need to understand what your key differentiator is and work hard to explain it to people around. People are sometimes afraid that if they cut some features, they will lose market share. You should start with something small and only understanding what people really want from you, you can go further. Before starting, you may think that feature A is of the highest priority and feature C is of the lowest one. Until you suddenly realize it’s the opposite. In fact, it is always better to start small and think about it.

9 moms can’t give birth to a child in 1 month

People are usually worried about the time to market (TTM). It seems the right way if you have to deliver the product faster than your competitor. But if it affects the quality, it will only mean your competitor is much more prepared for this new, changing world. Quality is much more important than timelines. Increasing the number of developers may not be helpful, as building great digital products is only 40 % about developers. Sometimes you have a one-man job, and it’s better to have a small team that will focus on your features instead of having lots of calls, but nothing to deliver to the market.

Product is a king

Seems like everything’s done. You’re on the market, you have many users, people are happy. Well, actually, it’s just the beginning! Now it’s time to focus on what the product really wants. Neither you nor any of your team members, who can have their personal ambitions, are aligned with the product strategy. But the product itself: the area and people who use it. You may have three users who want something that no one else wants, so there’s no need to focus on that.

Be prepared for a marathon

No time to relax, you have to be active all the time. There’s a dogma that came from Silicon Valley: fail fast. Some people get it wrong. That doesn’t mean “create the idea, make a mistake and then stop doing it at all”. That means going in one line, trying different things in the same concept of product and understanding the features, but not giving up on the product itself. Just give up on ideas and features that don't help your product to become a king.

Talk to your partners, trust them, and let them trust you.

It is very important to have transparent and trustful relationships within your team. Each team member has to focus on product development. Human beings are the only animals who can actually speak, but sometimes people forget to use this feature. We always tell what is exactly happening. If we see some problem, we talk about it directly.

If you’d like to find more useful information and hear about the cases from which we derived these lessons, check our first podcast.

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