Jason Fried

Jason Fried quotes on product

Founder & CEO at Basecamp. Non-serial entrepreneur. Co-author of Getting Real, REWORK, Remote, and “It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work”.

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1

You can only iterate on something after it’s been released. Prior to release, you’re just making the thing. Even if you change it, you’re just making it. Iterating is when you change/improve after it’s out. So if you want to iterate, SHIP.

2

When making something new that clearly competes with something that exists, gravity will pull you towards trying to do everything they do PLUS the new stuff you want to do. I’d encourage you steer clear of feature parity. Instead, handle common struggles in novel, unique ways.

3

If you want to feel good, brainstorm it. If you want to appear good, test it. If you want to know if you’re any good, ship it.

4

When prototyping, always try wackier/quirkier stuff first. The deeper you get into a project, the more conservative it tends to get. Stranger ideas are more at home earlier in the process.

5

You can do big things with small teams, but you can't do small things with big teams. And small things are often all that’s necessary.

6

I’m starting to believe nothing should be designed in a day. A design needs to stand up to fresh eyes in the morning.

7

The only way to know if someone will pay for something is to put a price on it and see if they buy it. Asking “Would you pay $25 for this?” won’t get you an answer - it’ll get you a false sense of security (or insecurity). Why? It costs nothing to say “yes”.

8

You can’t call it easy if you haven’t done it before.

9

So much product development time is spent undoing complexity that should have been left out in the first place.

10

1.0 is not all your ideas, it’s simply what made the first cut. Which is one of the most frustrating things about a 1.0 - it’s not *everything* you wanted to do, and you can’t wait to dive back in to build more stuff. Always a wild mix of excitement and frustration.

11

Don’t be worried about those copying you. They are copies. Worry about those doing it differently than you. They are originals.

12

One of my favorite moments when working on a new product is knowing something isn’t quite right yet, but that it’s oh so close. Idea’s right, elements are there, but things haven’t quite come together yet. It’s the thrill of getting warmer, not hot yet. Eventual discovery.

13

When building products/features, always try the weirdest thing first, as it only gets harder to get weirder as real deadlines approach.

14

Raising money is not news. Turning that money into something newsworthy is news.

15

When you ask people what they want, they’ll answer your question. But that’s not the answer you need.

16

My favorite part of product design are the subtle adjustments you make last minute that really clear things up. Some stuff just takes a while to feel out and see, and real deadlines force a healthy precision on decision making.

17

One of the hardest things about product design is separating familiarity from fitness. Esp if you’ve been working on something for a long time. It’s easy to cling to a design simply because you’re used to it. I fall into this trap all the time. I enjoy breaking out of it, too.

18

One of the hardest parts of product development is preventing “design by anecdote”. In many ways it’s even worse than design by committee. We all do it - this isn’t a criticism of other people - it’s just one of those things that can derail things quickly if not nudged back fast.

19

It’s short-term fun to build, but long-term fun to refine.

20

The code, as best I’ve deciphered it: Be useful then distinctive then lucky.

21

I’ve never designed anything with post-it notes on a wall. Always surprised when I see them lining rooms at other companies.

22

If you generally get positive feedback on your ideas, don't trust the feedback. It's unlikely you're right that often.

23

"Beautiful" is a word software co's use to describe their apps. Beautiful isn't a word customers use to describe what they're trying to do.

24

Designers favor clean, customers favor obvious. The hard work isn’t making things clean or obvious - it’s finding the right balance.

25

The sketch is the best version. It’s all downhill from there.

26

New wears off, useful never does.

27

Construction never ends, even after it's done.

28

"A lot of people" is the least precise measurement that has the biggest impact on product development. We're all guilty of using it.

29

Great products don’t enable great businesses. Great businesses enable great products.

30

I’ve come to realize difference alone is a quality worth celebrating in products, art, invention, almost anything, really. Even difference for difference’s sake. Same has such a lock on nearly everything. It’s gravity is so strong, and escape velocity only seems to increase.

31

Some of the things you do in the final few months before launching something brand new: Second guess, change, change back, hone, edit, tweak, cut, sneak in, wonder, defend, promote, remind, rethink, bet, guess, get goosebumps, hold back, push forward, and go!

32

When you get used to something, you don’t often see it as a problem. But when you see an old not-a-problem cast in the light of a new solution, before and after can strike a strong contrast. New has a way of knocking you out of indifference.

33

You have to go past a limit to see where it is. Limits are only visible by looking back at them.

34

A big part of business is transferring your confidence to your customers.

35

Product design is like a funhouse mirror. Shift your perspective just a tiny bit and thin turns to thick, thick to thin.

36

Giving features catchy names is like giving something a handle - it lets someone pick it up and run with it. It's a good idea.

37

The bigger opportunity in giving live product demos is learning about your potential customer, not showing/selling them something…

38

The biggest advantage of giving in-person product demos… FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS. That's where the gold is. That's where the depth is…

39

Products that can do similar things don’t always get used in similar ways.

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