I love meeting with entrepreneurs because most of them are full of optimism and often driven by a big vision. It is then easy to get into a conversation about that vision and how awesome it will be. But therein lurks a great danger and one that both entrepreneurs and investors (myself included) can easily fall prey to. Outside the room nobody really knows or even cares about your grand vision. Instead, your product is all there is.
What do I mean by this? Even if you do a fair bit of marketing and evangelizing and speaking at conferences, at the end of the day for most people the product either works or it doesn’t. It either fills a need of theirs (one they may not have know they had before encountering your product) or it doesn’t. Again, the vast majority of users will neither know of nor care about your vision.
This is worth repeating over and over again: your product is all there is. For the insiders in the know it is so easy to project the vision onto the product and they will always see it. But that is not how everyone else experiences it. Always keep this in mind. This by the way is true not just for consumer products but also for B2B ones.
So what should you do? Lots and lots of enduser observation of people who know nothing about your grand plans. And product improvement based on that feedback. Rinse and repeat and good things will happen.
Spot on. A lot of times you’re placed so many levels of abstraction away from your product, whether you’re pitching the vision to investors, or press, or buyers, or partners, that you forget that all that’s left behind when you pack up is your product. Remembering that is crucial, and often harder than it should be.