A product people love is key to scaling

Chis McCann of Greylock took the Stanford course on Blitzscaling over the last four months. The course is taught by Eric Schmidt, Reid Hoffman, Marissa Mayer, Brian Chesky, Diane Greene, Jeff Weiner, and more.

Chris wrote up the 16 top lessons here.

 

I’m going to call out a sometimes counter-intuitive point which Chris mentions in his 5th and 6th lessons.

Brian Chesky said:

Paul Graham gave us a series of advice that changed our trajectory. The most important of this advice was that it was better to have 100 people who loved us vs. 1M people who liked us.

And Reid Hoffman said:

analytics, dashboards, and data management will not matter at all if no one cares about your product. Getting people to care about your product is much more important than metrics [when you are just getting started – 1-10 people]

I’m writing this because whilst every founder wants people to love their product most don’t get there. The natural instinct of many is to build a first version which matches their vision of what customers want and then iterate. The problem with this approach is that the initial vision is rarely right and iterating from a bad starting point often doesn’t get you very far. Technically it will get you to a local maxima. And that’s if you do it well.

Much better to focus on building a product people love. The way to do that is to talk with customers. Find the thing they care about and the feature(s) that make their eyes light up. Then build. We go on about this endlessly at Forward Partners and it’s a key component of The Path Forward.