Fine Balance Between Being Comprehensive and Doing Too Much

Earlier today at Atlanta Rotary we had the opportunity to hear Jeff Arnold, founder of WebMD and Sharecare, share some of this entrepreneurial lessons learned over the past 25 years. Jeff did a great job taking us through several of his experiences as well as talking about the some of the opportunities that lie ahead.

Halfway through the talk Jeff made a comment that really stuck with me:

There’s a fine balance between being comprehensive and doing too much.

Personally, I’ve seen this challenge many times. As an entrepreneur, there’s a desire to please every prospect and customer. Only, that’s a formula for a frankenstein product. Entrepreneurs would do well to have a strong opinion of what will, and won’t, go into the product. When requests come up, figure how well they align with the vision of the product, and continually ask internally if 80% of the desired customers need the feature. Find the balance and build a comprehensive product that doesn’t do too much.

What else? What are some other thoughts on the balance between being comprehensive and doing too much?

2 thoughts on “Fine Balance Between Being Comprehensive and Doing Too Much

  1. I agree with you. As an entrepreneur, I have battled this question several times. Doing too much always tends to win if you don’t check yourself quickly. Sometimes, we just have agree, albeit reluctantly, that some features aren’t needed – at least not right now.

    One way to overcome this issue is to delay those ‘additional’ features to a following release or version. By that time, hopefully the urge to push it through dies down and sanity takes over, so you get to make a better decision on keeping the feature – or not.

  2. I’ve seen this challenge personally. Almost every customer we have asked for some sort of customization to our SaaS product. Eventually we had to get fairly militant about what could be included in the core product and what had to stay in a custom middleware tier. We outsourced the middleware tiers and kept the core engineering team focused on the core product.

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