Top 5 Learnings from my Product journey
Product development journey is not as easy as it seems for any budding entrepreneur.
I remember my initial days when I ventured into this start-up scene, I used to think I need a killer idea to develop a product. I racked my brains to think about gaps, opportunities etc. Every day I got a new idea which was so amazing than the previous one that I kept on iterating with my own self to finalize on one idea.
I remember the day I finalized, that “this is it”, “this is what, I am going to make”, lead to sleepless nights with noting down the feature list. I used to get excited about the entire feature list, how will it operate, function etc. The very next day, I used to discuss the same plan with my cofounder, who again helped me to come back at ground reality from my new adventure of new idea.
These ideas ate my brain one after another and I felt that there were so many gaps everywhere in every industry which can be filled by any new entrant. Post the idea formulation I searched for competitors who had already executed the same idea.. This helped me to understand the market space in the similar segment.
Here is my tip
#1 Do a thorough market research on your product idea. Don’t be in a haste to build.
The first product we built was jewellery closet a multi touch product for jewellery retail showroom in 2012. A first try on augmented reality consumer product, 5 years ago when very few companies existed in this space. People were not so much aware about Augmented Reality, it was very new.
We had a lot of challenges building this product from development to scale.
1) Choosing Technical Roadmap
a. As everything was new from hardware to software, we had to choose the best combination for scale. There are various multi touch hardware’s and each had their own SDK which were not compatible with each other and there various frameworks for different languages (Java, Python, Adobe AIR, C#). So our choice of deciding the architecture was on many factors such as compatibility, stability, portability, scalability, talent availability etc. It was not an easy journey, we rested our best choices based on the talent availability and hardware stability.
“Don’t put all the eggs of innovation in one basket.”
2) Finding the right talent to work on the new innovation.
This was a huge problem, as this was skill not readily available in the market. We wanted talented people with knowledge of AR and Multi touch and as both were new we had hard time finding the right talent to build this product. Finally we managed to hire interns whom we groomed as per the technology and our need. This worked for short term basis but for long term basis this was not sustainable as the effort was really high to groom people.
“Build teams with talent, don’t hire for tasks”
3) Establishing the Market
As there was no market for such devices or product, we were completely creating a new market for such digital experiences in Retail. Getting a customer was difficult as we had to educate the client about the product and then convince them. Also, very few customers cared for fancy stuff for generating customer experiences. All they wanted was a functional software for handling their routines and this market space was flooded with companies.
“Don’t make your product a junk food, Make it a healthy need.”
4) Scaling the product
Since the software was tied up to the hardware component and hardware was bulky, it was difficult for us to scale it and deploy it various locations across the length and breadth of the country.
“Products with high Usability Quotient tend to be scalable. “
5) Technology Obsoleted
Hardware specs were changing and there were newer versions of hardware coming into the market. It was difficult for the customers to upgrade their existing multi touch hardwares to the newer versions due to the high cost. Also for us it was difficult to maintain the inventory for the same. On the other hand, people started comparing the big multi touch hardware to the iPads which had recently launched back then.
“Drive innovation, for product iteration”
Every product journey has its own unique challenges and experiences. Challenges takes your thinking ahead for you to think more and grow more. This is a bitter- sweet pain and I am sure every product owner will agree that it is completely worth it.