Andrew Nater

Thoughts on Building Products

The foundation of a great product experience is how well it solves a user's problem. This sounds obvious but it's often lost to other concerns. Too many people prioritize other things: tech stack, aesthetics, profits, etc. The problem is that a user simply stops caring about your product if it doesn't solve their problem.

You could deliberate about your tech stack but if you aren't solving a customer problem with that choice, it's a waste of time. You need to de-prioritize your opinion. You aren't your customer. Ask yourself: Do you want customers? Or do you want a side project? There isn't a correct answer, but if you want customers then you need to focus on their needs.

The same is true for aesthetics. If it doesn't engage your ideal customer, what good is it? This can be hard to hear, but as before, do you want customers? Or do you want a portfolio? If you want customers, then you have to learn what gets them to trade money for your work.

It tends to surprise product designers that they should not spend all their time building a beautiful product. They need to spend more time getting that product in front of users, collecting their feedback, and earning them as customers. They need to learn where the experience is lacking. Each opportunity to improve a product is an opportunity to earn a loyal customer.

It is absolutely critical to get your product validated with a living, breathing person. If your goal is to build products that create loyal customers, then you need to drop everything that isn't central to solving their problem. Ask yourself (or your bank account): who are you a loyal customer to? I'd guess It's only a few companies. Examine what they do well. How do they keep you loyal?