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My Product Principles: A Working Document​

Having principles is important. If you don't you become a politician and nothing is worse than that. Here are my product principles, although I try to learn and grow every day so who knows, these will probably change.

  1. Aim for as few screens and as few buttons as possible so accomplishing things with your app is easy!

  2. Good consumer products don't need explainers and help docs. Onboarding guides are evil and they feel like they're straight out of 1999. Products should be intuitive to anyone logging in for the first time.

    • The exception to this is Snapchat where finding hidden features has become part of the game and has helped a lot with retention. The basic features are still easy to use (as long as you're under the age of 30).

  3. Surprise and delight users as often as possible.

  4. Rely on standard components & UX patterns as much as possible. It's better for user continuity and your engineers won't hate you.
  5. Don't try to do engineers' jobs for them. When you write tickets explain what is needed to delight the user, don't write pseudo-code or any other gibberish that makes your ticket more confusing.
  6. Don't expect users to give you the answer to virality/retention/world changing features. If you ask users what they want they'll say dark mode or fewer bugs. Be a visionary and then user test early.
  7. Users care about status, sex and money. No one is going to use your app just because you're saving orphans. Although if that is what you're doing, you'll probably have more users and ultimately a more effective product if you give users an elevated feeling of status for saving the orphans. Emphasize social sharing and including your friends for a really sticky product.
  8. Don't get over-invested in a specific product or feature. The product team's job is to bring others together to solicit ideas and get feedback. You should be obsessed with data, not in getting your feature built or prioritized. Product leaders (usually founders) who get too precious about specific features can ruin their entire company by not focusing on the features where they actually have product-market fit.

  9. Good and fast is better than perfect and slow. I've met way too many builders who develop their products for years without showing users and then when they finally ship, their product works great  and has no bugs but sadly no one cares.

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