Lessons from PagerDuty on how to build a $3B+ company:
✅ Focus on a big, annoying pain that many have
✅ Build what others call a “feature” to solve that better than anyone else
✅ Methodically evolve that “feature” into a platform that creates a market
— Aaron 📦 (@levie) April 11, 2019
ICYMI, PagerDuty went public this week. How did they do it? By NOT building features, is how. I mean, sure, they built features, but truly successful products are not just the sum of their parts. They are much more — they ease pain for users. If you’re feeling feature-obsessed, this is our PSA to you: “Feature” isn’t everything.
A Letter From Jeff
Jeff Bezos’ annual letter to shareholders is starting to feel like a way brainier version of the Apple reveals of yore. It’s full of inspiration, vision, and, for our purposes, plenty of product wisdom. Bezos is obsessed with builders, and in our mind all PMs are builders. If you’re going to TL;DR this, here’s our best takeaway:
Even when they’re experts, [builders] are “fresh” with a beginner’s mind. They see the way we do things as just the way we do things now. A builder’s mentality helps us approach big, hard-to-solve opportunities with a humble conviction that success can come through iteration: invent, launch, reinvent, relaunch, start over, rinse, repeat, again and again. They know the path to success is anything but straight.
Getting Back to Basics
Today I got to do some real #prodmgmt work breakdown. Twice! It’s a shame that moving up in your career often means no longer doing the original things you loved. I enjoy #leadership and growing team members, but I miss the day to day execution as well.
— Ben Newell (@bennewelldallas) April 12, 2019
PMs are the CEO of the product (maybe), but what about CEOs? The farther they get from the product, the more they bemoan the loss. Good leaders, though, stay close to the product and evangelize from that place. Looks like Ben Newell is one of them.
Again with the “features.” Jeff Lash, a friend of the craft (who’ll be speaking at our conference next month), pushes us to think deeply about building for the sake of building. Read it, and then re-read it. Then go look at your roadmap. Time for some spring cleaning!
Time for the Big Leagues
About the Author
Hillá Watkins is the editor-in-chief of ProductCraft. Previously, she was a content specialist at Insert, a mobile engagement platform, and a digital insights analyst at SimilarWeb. A graduate of Yale and Georgetown, Hillá is a life-long nerd.