#14: Building Product In A Crowded Space
📋 Today At A Glance
- Podcast - building product in a crowded space
- War never changes
- Quote - explore/exploit tradeoff in life
- Article - why you should stop watching the news
- Personal Updates
🚀 Building Product In A Crowded Space
In episode 591 of Startups For the Rest of Us, Cody Duvall, owner of Keeping, shared tips for bootstrapping a product in a crowded space as a solo founder. Here are my three takeaways from the talk:
- Serve a customer segment that is sliced two or three times. For example, building products for less than four-person companies that use Gmail for customer support. Slicing makes the segment small enough that it's not worth it for big competitors to move into that segment.
- Design the product for a low churn rate by integrating it into the customer's workflow. The product still needs to solve an essential customer problem for this strategy to work.
- Don't try to copy all the features from big competitors. Big products have big teams, and you'll end up chasing them infinitely. Don't try to become another version of big competitors. Instead, build upon what distinguishes your product and why customers choose your product over them.
Listen to the entire 35-minute episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
🤦 War Never Changes
Reading about war from half a world away, we often forget that there are real people who are being affected. No matter the outcome, people always lose. The deadpan nature of the comment is funny but quite eerie for me.
What do you do as a third party in a war? Do you get involved because, as the quote goes, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing? But certainly, the answer to war can't be more war and more deaths. Maybe a proportional response would be suitable. But, what's the virtue of a proportional response?
If you treat every decision as if it were your last, then indeed, only exploitation makes sense. But over a lifetime, you're going to make a lot of decisions. And it's actually rational to emphasize exploration—the new rather than the best, the exciting rather than the safe, the random rather than the considered—for many of those choices, particularly earlier in life.
From the book Algorithms to Live By, chapter 2
🗞 Got NEWS?
I stopped watching the "news" years ago for my mental health. I recommend reading the article Five Things You Notice When You Quit the News. As said in the article, there are better ways to be informed.
🙋 Personal Updates
I watched the movie Broadcast News. Overall the movie isn't that great, but the dialogues are, and that's what I love in the movies. It's also a very quotable movie. Few non-spoilery examples:
Just remember that you're not just reading the news, you're narrating it. Everybody has to sell a little. You're selling them this idea of you, you know, you're sort of saying, trust me I'm, um, credible. So when you feel yourself just reading, stop! Startselling a little.
- Reporter 1: They allow us to have cameras at an execution in Florida. Do you broadcast tape of the guy in the chair when they turn on the voltage?
- R2: Sure.
- R3: Why not?
- R4: Absolutely.
- R1: Nothing like wrestling with a moral dilemma, is there.
Except for socially, you're my role model.
Next week, I'll be recording an episode with Hazumu Yamazaki for my podcast.
Cheers! Have a productive day.
Prashant Anand (@primaprashant)