Get Good At Being Green

by Sean Boyce
focus team in an office

In the world of building product businesses, being an expert is a disadvantage.

If you consider yourself an expert in your craft, think long and hard about your answer to the next question.

When was the last time you were wrong?

If it’s been awhile, then you may be experiencing a symptom of a larger problem which challenges your ability to achieve product success.  

As an expert, all that experience makes it much harder for you to learn something new.  The more we learn, the harder it is for us to expand upon that knowledge. We develop natural biases and take for granted the things we already know.  It becomes all too easy to disregard something that challenges what we think we already know as wrong when in fact, it could be new knowledge that very well should update and correct our view.  

Why this is such a threat to building a successful product business, is because learning happens to be the most important aspect of everything that we are trying to achieve.  

So what is a so called ‘expert’ to do to ensure they are best prepared to learn while building a product business?

Force yourself to say hungry

You originally decided to build a product business to solve a problem.  Before you knew what that problem was, you needed to learn about it. Constantly remind yourself that the problem your product business solves is a moving target and will never be static.  This means you should be constantly learning. Change your routine as necessary to ensure that this is the case for you.

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Maintain a healthy distrust of your current product strategy

I’m a big fan of the old saying, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room”.  What is being implied here is that if you can’t learn anymore then you will fail to grow. When building a product business, learning is never done so if you find that you aren’t learning anything new about your target market, then you’re doing something wrong.  

Track your progress regarding important lessons learned from your target market to ensure that you are learning new insights at a healthy pace.  If your pace dips below a normal level, change your routine to bring it back up.  

Focus on the flipside

Most product businesses fail because they only focus on the data that supports their current product strategy and ignore everything else.  This is an obvious recipe for disaster – especially if you are also unaware of the balance.  

Remove as much bias as possible from your data collection process by processing all of it and keeping track of the balance.  If the balance begins to tip out of the favor of your current product strategy, then be prepared to repeat the process of identifying the new patterns in the data and make an update to your company’s product strategy.  

Want to know more about how to become an expert in learning to give your product business the best chance of success?  Let’s talk it through, email me at or visit us on the web at NxtStep.

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