Building a digital product

And thanks to Peter Grillet, we’ve got a TL;DR version!

Michael's business worked because:

  • We kept costs low

  • We had a highly technical team

  • Passionate about the product

Ask yourself

  • How serious is your problem?

  • How specifically are you solving the problem for first?

  • Solve a problem people need to solve regularly

  • How easy are your customers to find?

  • Does your MVP actually solve the problem?

  • - Get users on your product early (you are not an artist)

  • Who are the most desperate customers, sell to them first. If it takes 10 months, they aren't desperate

  • Who's business is going to go out of business, without your software?

  • Be weary of 'customers' who are taking the piss and avoid them

  • Be cautious with your discounts. Use discounts for urgency but don't devalue your product / service


  • Super important: ensure your stats are part of the build process

  • Should be a sources of ideas for features and solutions

  • Google Analytics is not optimal, you need an events based analytics solution (Mixpanel...) as well

  • Pick 5-6 simple stats to track, don't overload yourself

  • Ensure you are tracking if people are using product or not

  • Maintain a clear spec that you are building that all team members can refer to

Dev cycles

  • Keep them short

  • Have a single KPI that reflects how you are doing (Money if you charge / Usage if you don't)

  • Ensure everyone in the company knows what the KPI is and was

  • Brainstorm solutions (with metrics to support / destroy ideas)

  • Categorise: New Features & Optimisations / Bug Features / Tests

  • Prioritise: Easy / Medium / Hard - Decide

  • which hard item with impact the KPI the most - Which Medium item... - Which Easy item...

  • Create the spec for each item

  • Distribute tasks

  • Meet once a week or bi-weekly, enough time to get shit done

Pivot or iterate

  • Give your product time be properly validated

  • Pivot: Changing problem or Customer

  • Iterate: Changing the solution

  • Identifying the problem is the genius

  • Don't be fake Steve Jobs; iterate and talk to customers

  • Ask a specific customer what they want and make it (if it makes sense for your KPI)