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E116: A Feature as a Product

by Sean Boyce

Historically you may have received feedback about your idea that goes something like this – ‘that’s not a product, that’s probably just a feature’.  This is often given as feedback to mean you aren’t ready to create your product yet because maybe it doesn’t do enough.

I want to challenge this narrative and share examples of how some product companies have been wildly successful build entire products around a single feature or idea.

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Episode Transcript
 Hey folks, Sean here today. What I wanna talk to you about is the whole concept of feedback previously where people might say that your idea isn’t a product, it’s more likely a feature. Now, traditionally, this has been shared in the context of something somewhat negative or maybe feedback to the extent of you, just you’re not quite there yet in terms of ready to move forward in building a product.

You don’t almost have enough substance or value to offer someone in order to turn it into a product experience that people are going to pay for. I want to challenge that narrative, and I wanna challenge that because of the rise of this concept and the success of other products like it that I’m referring to as micro SaaS or touch, and in my world, particularly B2B SaaS products or applications, because in the studying that I’ve.

The more complicated your software product is, the harder it is to do just about everything. Build it, sell it, market it, gain traction, find product, market fit, whatever, right? All of those things are significantly more difficult, and I believe become exponentially more difficult, the more complicated your software product becomes.

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Now, can that product do more? Yes. More often than not, that’s the case. However, do most of your users want that product to do? That answer is a little bit harder to kind of figure out, and it takes a lot longer in order to determine. So long story short, here, what I’m trying to communicate is that if you’ve got an idea that could potentially be a successful quote unquote feature, or somebody who’s less familiar with the low-touch product world is giving you feedback to the extent of that’s not a product, it’s a feature.

I want to tell you that I think that’s potentially a good thing as. Products that are created around largely a feature create potential opportunities to be highly successful low-touch products, and I’ll give you an example, if you’ve ever used a calendar booker before, those are all pretty good examples of low-touch products.

As in you and I want to meet, and we don’t want to do the round robin via email in order to figure out what works for each of us. So instead, I create a link to my Cal. Enabling you to see the visibility in terms of when I’m available, and then you can compare that with when you’re available. So in self-service format, you can put a meeting essentially on my calendar that works for both of us.

That’s it. That’s where that product stops, and that’s what low touch products are all about. So if you had an idea for something like that, people might have given you feedback on that in the lines. That’s just a feature that can’t be a product oven in itself, but if you had built something like Calendly specifically that it is, that is what they do, and you would’ve been wildly successful.

So don’t let that discourage you. And in fact, I believe features rather than an entire product is actually a potentially good differentiator for even what a micro SAS or a low-touch but successful product ultimately is.