In this ProductTank Birmingham talk, Sam Reader, Co-Founder and CEO at WONDR, shares challenges, lessons, and ‘aha’ moments from his team’s journey building WONDR and their quest to find product-market fit.
The key points from his talk include:
- The road to market product fit—navigating uncertainty
- Why culture matters more than building tech
- Finding the hidden need
Watch the video to see the talk in full or read on for an overview of his key points.
The road to market product fit—navigating uncertainty
Sam explains that WONDR is still looking for product-market fit, and it’s something product managers are constantly looking for and that it is in constant progression. When they first started, they wanted to create something basic at first, but the first iteration was a mess as they didn’t spend enough time understanding how the product would come together for the user.
However, they understood that the problem they wanted to solve was growing. He knew there was a market where communities were failing to learn together; social media didn’t allow users to connect, messengers like Slack were too personal, and traditional ed-tech left you feeling alone. As product managers, it is essential to have a vision for what the product should like and build stories to work backward and help you solve the problem.
Sam explains that discovering the market first is important. When in search of market/product fit, product managers need to know the story they want to tell to be able to say we can support this experience.
Why culture matters more than building tech
As a product manager and leader of a startup, it might be tempting to try many things yourself. Sam explained that when they started and information flowed from him as product owner to operational admin to engineering to deployment, they moved slowly. As they added more roles, including marketing assistant and UX designer, things became slower. They needed to share the problem among everyone’s skills and increase the surface area of learning. By doing so, they could remove information-flow bottlenecks and find quick solutions that came from everyone’s skills.
Finding the hidden need
When building a product, it can sometimes feel like building a ship in a maelstrom as you get pulled in all directions. To cope, you need to find ports in a storm, such as the product vision and OKRs. Also, you need a North Star metric that helps you map out the customer journey and identify blockers holding you back. It’s essential to focus on the short term from week to week and monitor the long term.
As a product manager, you can’t expect to grow a product that won’t grow itself and should look for signs of organic growth. The key takeaways from this talk are that when building a product, one of the most important things will be your team. As a product manager, you need to find ways to draw on everyone’s skills to solve a problem and maintain common knowledge so that everyone remains on the same page.
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