Building Habit Forming Products

Hello folks: after a brief hiatus, we are back with the TPF weekly AMA series! This week, we were glad to welcome Karan Peri, Product Lead at Twitter.

Karan Peri is University of Manchester - Manchester Business School postgraduate.  Karan has been an ex-Global Product Lead @ Amazon Prime Video, an ex-Product Lead for Flipkart's Mobile and Desktop Web experience including Flipkart Lite and an ex-Product Lead @ Microsoft for Live Sports experiences.

He helps build and ship innovative, effective and margin enhancing products people love to use and is a design enthusiast with a strong background in technology and business.

So, let us jump straight into it:

Everything about Product

The AMA had a lot of questions revolving around key metrics and discussions about the importance of prioritizing problems.

Here is what Karan had to say about such questions:

Prioritizing Important Problems

Karan shared the following insights 

  • Minimum market requirements (in context of paid features): Karan believes that Product teams are likely to hear feedback from customers encouraging minimum market requirements, which are generally features that the market has made customers accustomed to. Customers might ask for these but are unlikely to pay for them since they feel entitled to them.

  • Vocal Minority: Some feature requests are voiced passionately by a small set of users. The base is large enough that it can't be isolated on feedback channels, but small enough to not be prioritized. In this case, prioritizing this vocal minority alienates the silent majority as needs of the former appear deeper than they really are.

  • Good at problems, bad at solutions: Customers are good at expressing their frustrations well (which is good for us) but not great at suggesting appropriate solutions or predicting their behaviour. Two scenarios that Karan has encountered are:
  • When requested solutions have 2nd/3rd order consequences that customers might not fully understand or are more of an irreversible nature. 

  • When customers request for greater control or customization- Features in this bucket look like requests for customization. The temptation is generally high to make the product configurable, but in reality very few customers stray from defaults (even the ones who asked for it). It also adds complexity to the product that adds to feature debt. 

  • Order of operations: Lastly, this happens where there is a vision and the current roadmap helps edge towards the vision in a sequence e.g. In e-commerce, bringing catalogue quality to an acceptable level is essential before the catalogue is exposed via new discovery features.


Key Metrics for Start-ups competing with Big Giants

Karan suggested that Start-ups competing with Big Giants should focus on

  • Finding new and niche customer problems that can be used as a beachhead to get a footing with customers. 
  • Creative solutions and channels that big giants might be overlooking and taking for granted and becomes opportunity E.g excessive margins or fees.
  • Going head to head in the exact same space is generally not something that should be done unless there is a sustainable way to create an inimitable advantage to create a 10x better product.

Building Equations with Stakeholders

  • Karan suggested that one should keep their leadership and stakeholders involved in their discovery process and communicate progress regularly and not surprise them with results, but carry them along through an active cadence of catch ups and 121s. 
  • Keep a portion of the roadmap for external requests so that it becomes a transparent process rather than only at PM’s discretion. 
  • Karan also mentioned that there is a lot of advice on 'saying no'. One shouldn’t take it to an extreme and say no to everything rather understand tasks and work with stakeholders on them. 

The value of your Product

Pricing decisions change based on the type of product, stage (pre-launch, post-launch), incremental cost to serve users, depth of prod-mkt fit, sensitivity etc. Karan mentioned some resources to help understand the pricing:

Want to join the next conversation? We’ll be having another Product Chat soon, get your invite to our Slack community to get all the details. See you inside.

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