Keeping Product Teams Hungry 🍗
Amsterdam Product Club #14 ☕️
New product teams start out hungry.
They set out on a journey to solve an important problem.
There’s pressure to find product-market fit.
No success? Then the team/company will cease to exist.
But once the product has found market fit, it’s easy to get into a different mode.
Actions and outcomes are no longer directly connected.
The product might still grow, but it’s reaping the fruits of earlier labor.
The team might start focussing on incremental projects to please power users.
Or get entangled in fighting tech debt and discussing “long-term projects”.
If you’re not careful, the team will accrue many meetings and processes.
This will make the team ship less and decide slower…
The team can no longer see what’s right in front of them
Bugfixes and obvious improvements get overlooked.
Until a competitor forces the team into “War mode” again.
Once the team’s existence is threatened, there’s no choice but to become hungry again.
Is an existential threat the only way to keep your team opportunistic?
Well, it’s probably the most effective one….
But there are more ways to maintain a sense of urgency:
Solve an important problem
Solving an important problem that gets people excited is the core of having a motivated team. Keep sharing the problem, and your vision for the world the world looks like when it’s solved. Check if you are getting better at solving the problem by analyzing new cohorts. Does activation and retention go up?
Create an enemy
We humans are simple animals and competition can drive us. Find a worthy opponent that your team wants to beat. This doesn’t have to be another startup in the same space, it could also be dumb retail experts saying Picnic would never work.
Let your team feel the pain
People want to be proud of what they are building. Using your own product will quickly show you where the pain is. Sharing painful customer support conversations also helps.
Cut away some unnecessary meetings and processes to remove red tape. Allow everyone on your team to make decisions and take action by themselves. Make it clear that you are making haste slowly, so wasting time in meetings is a no-go.
Set deadlines for when something should be accomplished. Steve Jobs was a master of doing this at Apple with their hyped-up product launches. For the mobile app we’re building at VEED we have a deadline before our company offsite in October. We want to look like heroes there, so we’re working hard to get it done.
This is what worked for me to keep teams hungry, but would love to learn from you too! How are you dealing with this?
Updates: What’s happening in 🇳🇱 tech?
Everyone shitting on Adyen & Vanmoof 💩
After Vanmoof defaulted, Adyen lost 40% of its market cap last week.
Everyone in traditional media was quick to explain how shitty both companies/founders are. While Adyen remains a solid cash machine, Vanmoof succeeded in building a popular consumer hardware brand. Let’s celebrate that a bit more!
Product Dinner this Thursday 🍽️
This Thursday I’m organizing another dinner for people in tech. It’s fully booked but we might be able to arrange an extra spot or two. Reply to this mail if you want a last-minute invite!
New APC course in October 👨🏫
This October we’re launching a new Product Fundamentals cohort.
In 4-weeks we’ll teach you all the fundamentals of building and operating a successful product team. You’ll also meet a group of like-minded builders.
We only have a few spots left, so be quick!
Links: Useful stuff found online 🔗
Tabs chocolate Tiktok marketing masterclass
A TikTok marketing success story. I am not endorsing anything this guy is doing, but it’s fascinating to learn how the world of UGC & influencer marketing works. Highly recommended watch/listen.
How to be succesfull - Sam Altman
Sam’s work with OpenAI and YC has put him on top of the tech food chain. Here’s his framework for becoming successful.
Doing Great Work - Paul Graham
On deciding what to be successful at. It pairs nicely with the previous article.
Hope you enjoyed this one!
Let me know if you did 👋
P.S. This edition was written from the Eurostar back from London. 🚝🇬🇧
I was there to work from VEED’s London office and meet old friends.
This train gets you from Amsterdam CS to central London in <5 hrs including passport control.
The perfect way to travel!