The Intersection of Evaluating Startups and Growing Products: Insights for Success

Aviral Vaid

Aviral Vaid

Sep 18, 20233 min read

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The Intersection of Evaluating Startups and Growing Products: Insights for Success

Introduction:

When it comes to evaluating startups for investment and growing products, there are shared skills and strategies that can be applied. This article explores the common points between these two areas and how they can be leveraged for success. Additionally, we will delve into the unique mindset of senior product managers and the techniques they employ to drive product growth. By understanding these concepts, individuals can gain actionable insights to make informed decisions and drive the success of their startups or products.

1. Evaluating Startups and Growing Products:

Investors often look for specific metrics and red flags when considering startups for investment. These metrics provide valuable insights into the potential success and growth of a company. By examining factors such as user reach, intensity of pain points, and the value of user segments, investors can quantify the impact of a startup and determine its worth. This process requires a deep understanding of the market, user behavior, and the strategic importance of the problem being solved.

Similarly, product managers play a crucial role in growing products. They focus on executing solutions effectively and efficiently by managing backlogs, prioritizing tasks, and ensuring clear communication within the team. Furthermore, product managers must constantly seek feedback from users to reduce the risk of building the wrong product. By evaluating solutions critically and assessing the worthiness of the problems being tackled, product managers can drive product thinking to the next level.

2. The Mindset of Senior Product Managers:

The path to a promotion as a product manager can be complex. While skills and achievements are important, other factors such as managerial support, the competence of peers, and the company's political landscape also come into play. Once a problem has been defined and a solution agreed upon, the focus shifts to execution. The ability to ship quickly and gather user feedback is crucial in ensuring product success.

Senior product managers also need to evaluate the strategic importance of the problems they are solving. They must articulate the company objectives, understand user problems, and determine the impact and outcome metrics of their solutions. This may involve saying no to stakeholders and pushing back when necessary. By understanding the true cost of a feature and considering the urgency of a problem, product managers can prioritize effectively and allocate resources accordingly.

3. Unique Insights for Success:

To further enhance the evaluation and growth process, several techniques and concepts can be employed:

- Quantifying Impact: By quantifying factors such as user reach, intensity of pain points, and the value of user segments, investors and product managers can assign a dollar value to the potential impact of a startup or product.

- Understanding User Needs: The Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework helps identify the deeper reasons why users "hire" a product. By understanding user needs and the forces that drive decision-making (push factors, pull factors, anxiety, and inertia), product managers can identify improvement opportunities and drive innovation.

- Expanding the Value Chain: Product managers can explore ways to expand a product's value chain by mapping out the process that customers go through to accomplish their JTBD. This allows for identifying areas where additional value can be provided, either before or after product usage.

Conclusion:

In the world of startups and product management, there are common threads that connect the evaluation of startups for investment and the growth of products. By understanding the metrics and red flags that investors look for, as well as adopting the mindset of senior product managers, individuals can make informed decisions and drive the success of their ventures. Additionally, leveraging techniques such as quantifying impact, understanding user needs, and expanding the value chain can further enhance the evaluation and growth process. By incorporating these actionable insights, individuals can navigate the complexities of the startup and product landscape with confidence and achieve their desired outcomes.

Resource:

  1. "The red flags and magic numbers that investors look for in your startup’s metrics – 80 slide deck included! at andrewchen", https://andrewchen.com/investor-metrics-deck/ (Glasp)
  2. "How senior product managers think differently", https://medium.com/irlproduct/how-senior-product-managers-think-differently-c5d8cd0cb52c (Glasp)

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