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7 Product Decisions That Turned out to Be Costly Mistakes
It’s been a couple of years since I sold Sendible so I took time to reflect on the poor decisions we made that impaired our growth.
Here are the 7 product decisions that turned out to be costly mistakes:
1. We waited too long to identify our ideal customer persona
We started out being all things to all people and chased the larger TAM. This meant trying to satisfy the many, rather than delighting the select few. It’s better to be known for something by a small niche than being known for nothing by the majority.
2. Our roadmap was solely based on user feedback
We ignored our long-term vision and only delivered the features users were asking for. We tried to set aside 20% of our roadmap for innovation, but it was never prioritised. As a result, we ended up allocating 100% to satisfying users’ immediate needs.
3. We spent too much time on short-term wins
We were overly concerned with reducing short-term churn and making quick sales. Instead of building what was the best for the future of the product, we accumulated more tech debt.
4. We built unique features for our highest paying customers
We allowed our largest customers to dictate the roadmap even if they weren’t our ICP. Why? Because we were fearful of losing large amounts of revenue. We built custom API’s for a small subset of clients. This meant paying the long-term price of needing to take these edge cases into consideration when making changes.
5. We ignored technical debt that impacted long-term revenue
Due to technical debt, we did not package our pricing plans in a way that users could easily compare with our competitors. As a result of this added friction, our Sales Team constantly needed to pick up the pieces to explain how our pricing worked.
6. We built our own billing system
Instead of using a third party to handle our subscriptions, we spent months building our own billing engine. Having a stable billing system was always a high priority and when bugs arose, we had to drop everything to resolve them.
7. We integrated with too many third party APIs
Instead of focusing on the few API’s that were core to our business, we built 30+ integrations. A lot of our time was spent monitoring upcoming changes, planning for them, and implementing updates. This took us away from our core focus.
Some of these decisions may have driven short-term growth but in the long-term we paid the price.
Hopefully this is helpful as you think about what you’re prioritising on your product roadmap.