The Product Development Trap

Last October, a little over one year ago, I finally stepped out from my cushy job to take a shot at being an entrepreneur. For a long time, I was crippled by fear. “What if I fail?” and other similar questions would cross my mind always, preventing me from betting on myself to pursue a more fulfilled life.

In time I was able to overcome this fear and take a shot. One of my most significant skills was in technology. I had built websites, apps, and mobile software my entire career, in a variety of businesses and programming languages. I was confident my technology skills would carry me across the finish line and achieve the “success” I wanted.

I was dead wrong.

First I started by analyzing the market, meeting a few early customers, designing the MVP, and ultimately developing it. Things seemed good. I had checked all the startup boxes I read about online. But then I fell into a typical product development trap. I kept building features. I spent the vast majority of my time building, instead of getting feedback or selling my products.

I continued to develop, build, iterate, and test. The technology was my trump card, and that is where all my time seemed to go. Six months later the project had crashed and burned. I ran out of gas, starting making excuses, and I canned the business.

When you’re the only person in a company, writing code all day doesn’t help that much. This is what I refer to as the “product development trap.” The notion that a purely better product wins.

In the end, nobody was promoting my work. Nobody was marketing it. Nobody was selling it. And thus, nobody was using it.