Recently, I got the opportunity to participate in a virtual product teardown session. After attending SaaSx4 teardown, and participating in PNCamp hyderabad tearddown, I was curious to see how it would work in an virtual format. In a teardown, you get critical (sometimes more critical than you expect!) feedback on your product, if you don’t mind being torn down in the process. I wasn’t sure how it would work when this is not done in person and you can’t see each other.
Post the session, I am happy to report that the effectiveness of the teardown didn’t get diluted too much because of the virtual format. This means that the teardown can be scaled and many such sessions can be run every month. Good news for all startups.
Enough about the process! In this post, I want to share 3 simple lessons someone would have taken from our virtual teardown of 2 companies. They stuck with me also because these were quite similar to what I saw in the PNCamp product teardown session as well.
Lesson 1: Spend time clarifying the messaging on your website
In most cases, I found the messaging to be confusing. When I would question the founder to understand what should be there, they were not very clear themselves. It is important for founders to be extremely clear about the message they want to convey to their potential clients. One way of getting clarity in your own head is to work on your website content copy and if you can nail it down, you will have improved clarity in your head as well.
Lesson 2: Build the differentiation into the product
It wasn’t very clear what the differentiation was in many cases. Even when it was clear, the differentiated messaging didn’t come out from the product. For example, if your product’s differentiated offering is that it is for teams, then the product, in every step of the way to onboarding, should bake the notion of team – setting up team, communication within team, teams working with other teams, manager of the team, etc. Otherwise the differentiation doesn’t sink in.
Lesson 3: Think like your customer
Most often, I saw founders thinking from their own perspective when describing the product, or building the product. This is cardinal sin. Your customer doesn’t care what you think, they care about what they think and what they get. For example, one of the products competed head-on with another product in WordPress plug-in; competing product had 1M installs, this product had 10 installs. Of course customer wouldn’t choose this product, ever. It is more prudent to think like the customer and position the product differently rather than passionately try to go head-on against this category leader.
These are simple and straightforward ones and it is not that founders don’t know them. Problem is that they get so busy solving their day-to-day problems, sometimes they don’t zoom out and think about these basics. Attending teardowns can sometimes serve as reminders for some of these points. If you are an early stage startup, consider attending one of the teardowns.