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Exploring the Intersection of Software Development, AI Innovation, and Entrepreneurial Success | Growth and Core Product Value

Growth and Core Product Value

Core product value is that one thing that if a user gets to experience it, it will cause them to become activated. Some people define it as a leading indicator of engaged users. For example, Facebook knows that if they can get you to follow seven friends within ten days of signup, then you're very likely to stay engaged. Zynga found that if they could get a user to come back after 1 day of signing up they would become engaged and paying. Dropbox gets a user to put at least one file in a Dropbox folder on one device that gets them hooked. For Clarity, it was experiencing a call. For Instagram, I'm going to assume it's getting a user to post a photo with a filter to their social network of choice. What's cool is that you don't need to guess what it is.  

What actually happens when a user signs up?

After a new visitor goes to your site, signs up and uses your product for the first time, they create a mental movie for the value it can bring to their – or a friend's life. I call this whole process, "creating the Product Story." Being extremely deliberate in extracting this from your product – and refining your product's story – is a significant piece to product growth. 🎗🎭🎪

Product Value

Your path to becoming a CEO as your own. You founded a company, were promoted, or were next in line for succession in a family business. Whichever path you took, it prepared you for this role. But now that you're at the top, there's a lot competing for your attention. What can you safely delegate? Who can you trust to advise you on the big (often sensitive) decisions? You may be the best at tackling the day-to-day tactical challenges facing your company, but as CEO your focus needs to be on big-picture strategy. It's up to you to establish a compelling vision to rally employees, adapt to marketplace shifts, and choose the best points of leverage to drive results. Only you have the combination of scope and authority for decisions of this magnitude. 

You can also think of Onboarding as the setup manual for your digital application or website, but with a subtle — yet effective — dose of persuasion. Kind of like the manual IKEA gives you to build a chair, but combined with an ulterior motive: Getting you to use the chair. 🥽🧥

The main goal is to accommodate your user and get them using your product — as soon as possible. To call you for a second date or to start using that swiss designed chair. It's crucial to make a great first impression and carefully familiarize users with your product — and then those users will come back.

The "Do Something" Approach

By asking users to make their first move on the application, an application can get users engaged right off the bat. This is common in applications that depend on curation by the user to get the app working (like Ness). Tumblr, for example, has users follow a few people and name your blog. They feel that service is so easy to use that they leave out the joyriding approach.👔👕🛒

The "Setup" Approach

A setup process is an approach to Onboarding that gets users to set up their accounts rather than teaching how to use the product. This approach assumes that understanding the app isn't the tricky part but that the setup is the point of weakness that needs support.

The setup approach is often combined with a walkthrough approach. Keep's onboarding approach sets you up to start using the product with a few questions. Cons: As a standalone, users may still have trouble using your product. This approach works if the UI of the product is clear, but if it isn't, users may have difficulty understanding how to use your product.

Product Growth

What we're calling "continued onboarding" are tactics a site uses to keep the user moving in the process of using the web application. LinkedIn, for example, has clear call-outs at the top of your profile, most often asking you a question to add more information to your profile and encouraging you to "endorse" your connections. The incentive is getting a 100% complete profile, a continued set up approach, but getting that completion perhaps isn't even possible! So best he signup for Dropbox cause it's free and it will provide more long term value. Boom. Dropbox created that movie in my mind.

They got thereby

1) Setting a strong promise (Dropbox keeps your files safe, synced, and easy to share)
2) Getting me to experience their core value (syncing a file and viewing it on a different device)
3) Slowly adding more value (Dropbox for business) to solve related problems

I now have a completed movie for how they create value in the world and what situations I should consider them for. That's what you want to make using your product's Onboarding.

Effective one-to-ones should be a go-to coaching tool. They create space to share strategic and developmental issues with your top reports. They also give them the accountability and calibration needed to assume greater leadership responsibilities. They also help you:

• Achieve better alignment with your vision, mission, and goals.

• Gain a clearer picture of how your direct reports solve problems.

• Model the behavior you want your direct reports to use.

• Provide much-needed recognition.

When I think of a product and the story it tells,  I like to break it down into a few major components:

Product Promise: This is every place you mention the product and how you explain it. It's the product's Promise. This includes advertising, podcast interviews, blog posts, and most importantly, the copy on your home page. It's what sets up the expectation for the user and what they think will happen (hat tipped to Sean Ellis for teaching me this).

User Onboarding: This includes the setup steps required to sign up, the tutorial you might show a user to get oriented, and the mechanisms you use to get them to come back and activated (ex: notifications, emails, etc.).

Core Value: This is that ONE THING – the thing you do differently, better or uniquely. It's the value you can consistently deliver to users that solves their problem better than anyone else in the market.

If I think about my startup, I think I have something interesting to offer. Would you like to cut time on battery and energy storage selection or development? You could make sure your company is in 10% that outperforms in a recession with fewer expenses by 50% while saving quality and keeping up with a product roadmap? 

Consumer electronics + Battery OEM: observe and ensure battery supplier quality, manage the battery supply chain, and diminish warranty returns. Exploit big data analytics to optimize battery materials and processes, accelerate testing, and expand yield. 🏎🚑🚀

Transportation: maximize battery range and reliability for every vehicle configuration, apprehend full traceability for every battery system. Reduced maintenance and replacement costs: The application's actionable data encourages machine owners and operators to follow the best charge/discharge practices that can lead to a 40 percent improvement in battery life. Additionally, this tool helps reduce up to 70 percent of charger replacements that performed in error due to a lack of actionable data. 🏍🛴🛵

Energy Storage: Improve battery commissioning, deploy predictive analytics to categorize failures before they occur, and maximize system uptime.


In the context of a business or product, growth refers to the increase in some significant metric, such as user base, revenue, market share, or customer engagement. Sustainable growth is not just about rapid expansion but about scaling your business in a way that adds value over time while maintaining quality and customer satisfaction.

Strategies for Growth:

  1. Market Penetration: Increase the user base within existing markets. This can be achieved through marketing strategies, competitive pricing, or improving product features.
  2. Market Expansion: Enter new markets or segments. This involves understanding new customer bases and possibly adapting the product to meet different needs or preferences.
  3. Product Expansion: Develop and introduce new features or products to attract new customers or increase the value for existing ones.
  4. Customer Retention: Focus on keeping existing customers through excellent customer service, engagement strategies, and understanding customer needs.
  5. Partnerships and Collaborations: Partner with other businesses to expand your reach or offer combined services.

Core Product Value (CPV):

The Core Product Value refers to the primary value or benefit that a product offers to its customers. It's the reason why customers choose your product over competitors'. Identifying and enhancing this core value is essential for long-term success and customer retention.

Identifying Core Product Value:

  1. Customer Feedback: Listen to what customers say about your product. Reviews, surveys, and direct feedback can highlight what customers value most.
  2. Usage Data: Analyze how customers use your product and which features are most popular or impactful.
  3. Competitive Analysis: Understand your competitors and what makes your product unique or superior.
  4. Problem-Solving: Identify the specific problems your product solves for customers.

Enhancing Core Product Value:

  1. Focus on Quality: Ensure your product reliably delivers its promised value.
  2. Simplify the User Experience: Make it easy for customers to access and experience the core value.
  3. Continuous Improvement: Regularly update and improve the product based on customer feedback and technological advancements.
  4. Customer Education: Help customers understand and maximize the value they get from your product.
  5. Brand Alignment: Ensure your marketing and brand messaging clearly communicate the core product value.

Integrating Growth and Core Product Value:

The key to sustainable growth is a strong core product value. A product that delivers significant, clear value is more likely to retain customers and attract new ones through word-of-mouth and positive reviews. Growth strategies should align with enhancing and delivering the core product value to ensure that as the company scales, it remains focused on what makes the product essential to its users.

In summary, balancing growth with core product value involves expanding your business or user base without losing sight of what makes your product valuable to customers. By continuously refining the product to serve its users better and strategically planning for growth, businesses can achieve long-term success and stability.

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