In the software world, death by a thousand cuts comes from trying to make the product do all things for all people. I want to bring up another phenomenon not talked about enough: death by not enough cuts. This happens when an entrepreneur builds a product and gets it in the hands of a few customers, only then to keep customizing it further for those too few customers. In addition, it is often combined with not being opinionated enough about the product functionality, so a few companies drive the product road map.
The next thing the entrepreneur finds out is that they have a deep and rich product, but not a big enough market to be successful. Oh, and the product is so large now that adding functionality takes significantly longer than it used to take — big problems lie ahead. Here’s what I recommend:
- Get the product into the hands of as many prospects as possible
- Launch early and often
- Always ask yourself if the feature request fits into your vision for the next three years (be opinionated!)
- After you’ve asked if it fits in with the vision, ask yourself if it is applicable to 80% of your user (e.g. will they love to use it)
- Every 20 customers you sign up, raise the price until you can’t raise it anymore
What else? Have you seen this happen? What would you recommend?