Product or feature

June 15, 2020
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A feature is something that is nice to have. It can be an essential component. But it’s a technical thing – a functional solution to something.

When you’re building a new business it’s good to stop and think what you’re doing. Is it so crucial and critical that customers have a hard time living without your solution?

If they can manage without you then you might have a feature that is nice to have but it’s not a must. You need to solve a real pain point.

Another dimension to the product vs. feature conundrum can be considered by looking at it from the competition perspective. If your competitors or some incumbents with deep pockets decide to step into your turf how vulnerable are you?

Features are easy to copy and implement. They become commodities over time. You are in a never-ending race to add more superior capabilities.

Sakari Pihlava mentioned this in our discussion the other day. He said that it’s hard to be the best but it’s easier to be different. If your solution cannot be easily compared to other options in the market and it is more than the sum of its features then it sounds like you have a product.

Products can have features but features are not products. New technologies are usually first novelty products but then they become implemented widely and they become just part of regular solutions.

If you’re excited about the possibilities of a new technology or widget X then you might have a feature issue at hand. AI has been a hot topic for many years. Yet, its underlying capabilities are not exactly new. They have been improved over the decades but now we have enough computing power and data to act upon it.

AI is a similar theme as mobile was some years back. It was novel to do things with your mobile phone instead of your desktop computer. Now, you’re wondering why you cannot do everything with your mobile.

Being different, at least ten times better than others and solving a real pain point are building blocks for a growth company.

Are you building products or features?