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Be like water: The martial artist’s guide to empathy in enterprise product

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Many product-oriented people focus on “what should we build” when in reality the far more important question is “why should we build this?” The role of a product leader is to be the voice of the customer, which means finding pain points that are fundamentally hindering the customer’s progress, and that said customers are willing to pay you good money to solve. This is described well in the “Vitamins vs. Painkillers” discussion. There are severalgreatarticles on this, but TL;DR if you aren’t building a product that solves a vital issue for a customer, you aren’t likely to build a scalable business. Whether you are attempting to get your first customer or to get an investor to write a check, no one is going to part with their money until you can convince them you’ve found a pain point truly worth solving.

There is no better way to identify and build painkillers then by feeling your customers’ pains yourself. This is where empathy comes in. According to Wikipedia, empathy is “the capaci…