Many people set out to build products that are simpler than existing solutions but then fall into the trap of trying to keep up with the feature set of their competitors.

It’s easy to lose sight of simplicity in the pursuit of “being competitive”. Don’t forget why you got into this game in the first place.

The easiest way to avoid this trap is not to worry about what your competitors are doing.

When you build a product that has all the same features as it’s competitors it gets really hard for customers to make a choice between which product to use. On the surface they both appear to do the same things.

Whereas if you choose to stay focused, your product may do less but the range of differentiation is much higher. What sets your product apart from it’s competitors becomes much clearer.

Of course, feature set isn’t the only thing that differentiates your product from it’s competitors. But when a potential customer hits your marketing site they’re going to judge your product on three things:

  1. Does this product fulfil the job I need it for?
  2. How much is it going to cost me?
  3. Does the product feel like it’s worth that cost?

By differentiating your product you’re making it much easier for the customer to answer these three questions. Their decision may go in your favour, it may not. What you know is that you’ve been very clear about why your product exists and what job it does.

Building a product that tries to do too much often ends with a product that does nothing well.

Build something focussed. Listen to your customers. Iterate.

Matt West