Issue No. 4

Using your What and Why to stay on track

As product people we often have more ideas to solve customer pain than we have time and resources. Know your what and why to stay on track.

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Using your What and Why to stay on track

Source: DALLE, told to extract key phrases from this newsletter, create a prompt and using the style illustrative, colorful, futuristic create an image.

If you ever find that you:

  • Jump from one product idea to another,
  • Struggle with what to do next from a multitude of options,
  • Set a strategy and then find yourself doing nothing towards it 6-months later,
  • Find it difficult to explain why you shipped your latest features.

Then this issue is for you.

Do you know your Why?

The great quote below is from Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why”. (If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it)

Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do.

As product people we often have more ideas to solve customer pain than we have time and resources. That’s why knowing your Why and What is critical.

Knowing these let’s you form a vision and strategy for your product. And particularly your strategy will be a life saver when you need to:

  • Tell a stakeholder no to a “must have” feature
  • When you need to get buy-in
  • And most importantly, to keep yourself focused

There are a lot of startups deviating from their strategy with AI right now. Many of them wouldn’t be if they had a product strategy.

All too often SaaS founders chase new features without setting a strategy.

Set your strategy, avoid unnecessary deviations ↩️

When you set a strategy you’re saying what’s most important to your startup for the foreseeable future.

Is it to

  • Address performance, because it’s impacting churn?
  • Expand into a specific new market, to increase your total addressable market?
  • Expand the jobs your platform addresses, because your customers are using other tools to complete the job you serve?
  • Decrease customer time to value, to increase your activation rate?

I don’t know. But when you look at your startup’s metrics it’ll be clear.

If you don’t set a strategy you’ll end up with unfocused work, decreased return on your efforts, and squandering precious time your startup may not have.

Make it Actionable and Measurable

Notice anything about the list above?

Everything in the list is both actionable and measurable.

  • Ap performance is easily measurable, and so is churn
  • A market can be defined, and new customers can be segmented by market
  • Via customer interviews you can asses how often they need an outside tool to complete their tasks
  • You can measure how long onboarding takes, and you can calculate customer activation

Since most startups lack runway (be it financial, time, or energy) you want to be sure you’re placing each bet right.

So set your strategy and make it actionable and measurable.

Pro tip - Assign feedback and features to a strategy

I like to attach strategy to customer feedback. This way when I’m a few months from having set my strategy I won’t forget it. Because it’s a specific and consistent step in my feedback process.


Let’s say one of my strategies is to ”Decrease time to Ah-ha!” And as I’m reviewing my support tickets I come across this:

Support ticket: I can't figure out how to do [critical step in onboarding].

I'll tag that with my “Ah-ha!” Strategy tag. Then later, I can look at all tags to help figure out how to address my strategy.

Being able to sort and filter your feedback and ideas by strategy is a powerful tool to keep you focused.

Do you have your strategy set?

If you do I’d love to hear how you assess what your path forward is. I plan to unpack SaaS metrics in future ProductFoundry letters.

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