Brian Norgard

Brian Norgard quotes on product

Entrepreneur & investor. Ex-CPO, Tinder. Architect of the top grossing app. Investor @SpaceX @Lyft @AngelList @NotionHQ @Airtable & many more...

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1

Reasons your product will fail: 1. Too complex 2. Can’t easily be described 3. Didn’t iterate fast enough 4. Bland 5. Failed to launch into a community 6. Doesn’t save time/money 7. Poor design 8. Does too much 9. Didn’t take a feature risk 10. Listened to wrong the customers

2

I wholeheartedly reject the notion that every product must solve a problem (I hear this a lot from investors) Our lives are busy, noisy & difficult, there exist a class of products that aim to delight & displace people from reality These products have a place in our world too

3

A/B testing culture guiding product is a clear signal the company is out of new ideas.

4

No one cares about your product. Who built it, its features, the origin story — it’s all superfluous. People only find value in what your product can do for them right now. Save people time. Save people money. Give people an escape. The selfish hand will always govern.

5

If your consumer app isn’t being used while someone sits on the toilet, it’s probably not going to work.

6

People buy stories not products.

7

Being good at product is being good at people

8

The biggest mistake made in building any product is forcing a behavior that doesn’t already exist.

9

Junior product teams obsess over creating features. Senior product teams obsess over eliminating features.

10

Don’t confuse building a product with building a company.

11

Prototype the absolute simplest version of your dream product. Use it yourself first. Also include teammates, friends & fools. Then pause for a week. Do you miss your product? If the answer is “yes”, you are onto something. A practical heuristic for future value.

12

Your product is imperfect. Your team is imperfect. You are imperfect. That’s precisely why you keep building. There’s so much left to do and experience. It’s time to test yourself — to walk through the forest of impossibility. That’s entrepreneurship.

13

I’ve never met a good product person who didn’t want anything but absolutely brutal feedback on their work

14

Most product strategy comes down to saying no.

15

Building a product is about fighting the insidious disease of more More features, more fluff, more everything As a builder, you have lost the naïveté of a beginner’s mind The more phenomenon is rooted in fear You’ll never defeat more, but you can contain it with awareness

16

If you aren’t the first customer of your product, it’s the wrong product.

17

The single best growth hack in existence is a quality product that only works when used with other people.

18

People don’t want good products. They want simple solutions that improve their lives. That could mean saving them time/money. It could equate to helping them disconnect from reality through entertainment. You could make their job easier. But people never want good products.

19

A great product doesn’t need a tutorial.

20

Avoid making food decisions when hungry. Avoid making product decisions when desperate.

21

A product must make you feel before it makes you think.

22

It’s too simple is the greatest compliment a product can ever be paid.

23

The next time a product launches you don’t admire instead of trashing it pause. Think about the sacrifices that were made to get that live. Someone’s mom went to school at night, maybe worked two jobs so their kid could reach for the stars one day. We are all in this together.

24

Building products is more fun than talking about building products.

25

Long development cycles create idle time, morphing product teams into theorist not builders. Product theorists devise crackpot intellectual frameworks that distance themselves from real users. The kiss of death. Stay close. Sketch. Prototype. Build. Action over theory.

26

A product is never finished.

27

If you can’t identify the core use case of your product you don’t have one. If you can’t identify the core user of your product you don’t have one. If you can’t identify the core promise of your product you don’t have one. Check all 3 boxes, live to create another day.

28

You can invent incentives but not new behaviors. Building failed products has taught me this one hundred times over.

29

Product development traps: -Not defining a North Star out of the gate -Committees -Listening to the wrong users -Overbuilding -Copying -OKR worship -Arrogance/fear -Being driven by technology (eg machine learning) not user pain/delight points -Desire to create new behaviors

30

Never build for a crowd. Crowds don’t talk about your product, write checks, or care. Individuals do. Build for your sister, brother, or best friend.

31

Dark mode is not a product strategy.

32

A majority of products fail by doing too much rather than too little.

33

Side projects create the greatest companies because they begin as freedom machines, labors of love and truth vehicles. Precious time is traded to pursue something pure.

34

Your product should be a reflection of you. An expression of your beliefs, experiences and dreams. If it isn’t, either you are building for someone else or even worse, to be like someone you are not. Let your spirit shine through your product.

35

Delaying gratification is one of the key factors for future success in product, entrepreneurship & life. To delay gratification means to be able to function under stress. Impulsivity is a cancerous state-of-mind designed to obliterate your ability to play the long game.

36

Dishonest “sugarcoated” feedback will surely poison your product & culture. Honest “raw” feedback—which at times will be very negative—will surely strengthen your product & culture (if delivered with class). No matter how badly it stings, always deliver honest feedback.

37

When in doubt, build a prototype

38

1. Build for yourself. 2. Build for your close friends and family. 3. Build for your community. The further you move away from your sphere of understating the harder it is to deliver what the customer wants. Don’t delude yourself in building for people you don’t understand.

39

I’ve reviewed thousands of products Without fail, it’s the products built by people for themselves that continue to win Why? When you are the customer you don’t have to guess what people want Customer focus, incentive clarity & a razor sharp point-of-view creates great product

40

People are incredibly forgiving about what your product doesn't have as long as you have that one great thing

41

If you want to ruin a great product hire a focus group.

42

One of the toughest aspects of building a new product is you have to predict correctly a massive change in a critical technological, cultural or behavioral vector. That goes way beyond the ability to build something.

43

Being good at product is being great at saying no.

44

Your elevator pitch is immaterial What truly matters is how someone explains your product to a friend

45

Real entrepreneurs don’t ask for permission to build product, recruit a team and raise money. They just do it.

46

Top product people practice reductionism. They take radically complex concepts and distill them down to the bare minimum. Their skill is directed by years of trial and error; pain and failure. The sooner you practice reductionism, the better you’ll be at product.

47

Behind every successful entrepreneur is a former failed product.

48

One of the hardest things for a young designer or product manager to do is show off unfinished work Learn how to do this, it will quickly become an invaluable part of your growth process

49

If your product doesn’t alienate a large group of consumers it won’t succeed.

50

It’s really hard to build anything useful, let alone a product that scales. Cheers to those of you bravely giving it a go. I am with you.

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