Many people are moving into the Technology industry, not because they know what’s up or how things work in the Tech space, but because they hear there’s a lot of money in it. It’s no lie, of course, there’s money in technology, a lot of it. But do you ever wonder where this money comes from? Most likely not.
The money in technology is mostly realized through different funding rounds from angel investors or venture capitalists. These investors get involved in the company when they see it has potentials and the idea will generate good revenue in the long run. They own a certain percentage of the company’s equity.
I know questions like ‘what if the company fails?’ is lurking somewhere in your mind. It’s true, what happens to the Venture Capital company if the company they funded fails, well, the answer is they move on.
Yeah, that’s right, they move on to the next promising start-up and take the risk all over again. The VC business is a risky yet lucrative one, that’s why VCs just don’t throw money around, your idea and pitching game as a startup must be tight and not just that, as a startup, before you can acquire a serious round of funding, you must have at least an MVP to show forth
It’s important to bear in mind that acquiring funding does not determine the survival of a product, there have been stories of products that got enough funding, yet they died. I’m sure you’d be wondering what on earth killed them, right?
Let’s take a closer look at what can completely take out a product as if it never existed:
- Zero objectives: Ideas are everywhere around us, we never run out of them, but there are certain qualities that qualifies an idea to be referred to as ‘a good idea’ and of course, there are bad ideas too, many of them. It’s not good enough to have an idea in the Tech world. Your idea becomes a ‘good one’ when it’s validated and actually address real life problems.
The objective of every product in my opinion should be solving real problems customers face in their everyday life. The problems can be big and frequent, small and frequent, big and infrequent, small and infrequent, the form the problem takes doesn’t matter, as long as there’s a problem, then build solutions away.
Many products don’t survive because they are birthed from an invalidated idea, a mere hunger to build without identifying any pain point. Then, after time, money, and effort has gone into building, no one uses, boom it’s dead, no longer in existence, funding in the mud, engineering efforts in the dust.
- Lack of solid value proposition: A value proposition, in corporatefinanceinstitute.com words, is a promise of value stated by a company that summarizes how the benefit of the company’s product or service will be delivered, experienced, and acquired. Essentially, a value proposition specifies what makes the company’s product or service attractive, why a customer should purchase it, and how the value of the product or service is differentiated from similar offerings.
If product B is similar to product A, what then keeps B in existence? This is where the question of what the value proposition of the product comes in. It’s like telling me as a user to stop using a particular product, one I have been using for a long time for some newbie product I barely know. The first thing I’d ask will be ‘What does this new stuff do that my oldie doesn’t?’
If your product doesn’t solve problems in a new, spectacular way, it might not survive considering the fact that there are competitors, you are not in the business alone and the guys you’re competing with have not come to play. Hence, you must find your own unique way of making sure people use the product and they are eventually retained.
- Using the wrong technologies: If you are very familiar with programming, you’d know there are so many languages, hundreds of them and you can achieve the same result with different combinations of these technologies. There are languages that have restrictions and cannot scale a product. For instance, the technologies that will be used in building a product with millions of potential users will be different from that of just hundreds of users. It’s mandatory to understand the product architecture and put things in place for scalability. Failure to do this will definitely result in the product crashing down one day and while it’s possible to keep it running again, it might not survive the crash.
- Lack of empathy: The Merriam-Wester Dictionary defines empathy as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to”. Products that thrive are ones that put users in to consideration. When a product really cares for user needs, such product is unlikely to just die.
A product will be dead in no time if it is not user-centric. Oftentimes, we hear UX which simply means User Experience. UX goes far beyond just interface design, it is deeply rooted in empathy and the entirety of it revolves around the users.
- Little or no documentation: According to filtered.com, documentation is a reliable resource that is a must for engineers. They are the foundation the product is being built on. Without proper documentations, the members of the design and the engineering teams will not have a clear understanding of the product’s requirements and architecture. Documents helps keep track of priorities, features, customer personas, business model, SWOT analysis, KPIs, OKRs. In a nutshell, documentation is life and a product without it is as good as dead.
A lot of deliberate actions goes into the survival of a product, and when these actions are not there, things go south and when this happens, the product dies.