Your Product Might Fail, Push Through with These Perspectives

Despite that your product will mostly likely fail, you’ve done your thinking and you’re sure of it: this product has to get done.

So here are some perspectives, tools, techniques to help you push through.

Remove Ego

People who make stuff happen have taken to this habit: they spot when their ego’s acting up, and they re-write their thoughts.

Here’s when your ego is taking over: you’re reactive, in a moment of paralyzing conviction, unable to be nimble, defensive, locked in your thinking.

Smallest short-circuit word to help re-write your thoughts?


  • Unless I do it this way, it’ll never pick up momentum.


  • This thing won’t work.


Craft Both the Product’s Focus and Its Landing Page at the Same Time

When picking your product’s focus, make sure it nails the Forces of Progress.

The (Struggle + Attraction) must be greater than (Anxieties + Habits).

On your landing page, the first words must help make the visitor say “I feel understood, this is my situation”. The features have to help connect with the aspiration. Anxieties have be addressed (“Will I have to invest a lof of my time learning something new to use this?”). You’re competing mostly against people’s habits, their “I’ll just” statements.

So imagine your landing page, then imagine the slice of features that’ll be just enough to answer the visitor’s job-to-be-done. Then re-write your landing page, and re-focus your product some more. Tic, Tac.

Tool: Simulate the Buyer’s Thoughts Using the Forces Widget

When judging your landing page, or when judging how you’ll put together a sales conversation, simulate the visitor’s mental back and forth by using this interactive Forces of Progress diagram:

Launch the Forces Widget

How to use:

  • Click the outside corners to expand the forces, simulating when forces are getting stronger.
  • Click the center corners to contract the forces, simulating when forces are getting less strong.
  • Click the white space in the middle of the four forces to revert all forces to zero.
  • Scroll down, and you’ll find an example “when statement” you can fill out, so you can attach the forces to a specific from-struggle-to-aspiration desire for progress.

Nail the Buyer’s Need to Tell the World

Make your product “tell others”-worthy. More than that, channel into your buyer’s own broader aspirations to find what will make them find it hard not to tell others. The impulse should be for them to tell the world, for their own benefit. Put them on the right side of history.

One way to do that is to use the Forces of Progress on the job of “I have to tell the world”, and make sure the forces check out. No need to add share buttons or anything, just make sure the product itself is impossible to keep as a secret.

Make a Worse Product

Stuck doing something derivative of other products in the same industry. Aim for “worst”.

Take your competitor’s main attributes, and see what you get when you go for a worst version of those attributes.

Then, and this is the important part, nail the job-to-be-done despite having those “worst” versions of the attributes.

You’ll find yourself with a product that will be better at solving the job, with much less of a product than the competition.

Power move.

Ship Something for Your Value-Ladder

When this will be all done, you’ll be celebrating you’ll have learned, pushed yourself to new uncomfortable places, shipped something despite having no guarantees.

But one thing will be guaranteed. You’ll have something to show later.

You’ll also have a new rung to add to your overall value-ladder, the series of differently-sized offerings you make available to your visitors.

Then fill the rest of your value-ladder with things that bring people further along (up the ladder, bigger price, more scope), and things that bring people to just start getting somewhere, with your help (down the ladder, more approachable).

Or maybe this product will be the lowest rung of the ladder. Good start.

Ship The Smaller Offshoots

In order to build up a network and an audience, be sure to ship the mini-struggle-solvers too: articles, videos, guides, ebooks, spreadsheets, templates or other mini-products.

This will allow you to see what works. It’ll also let you leave trails leading back to your bigger thing.

Reduce Anxieties, Set a Fair Price

Build appeal, yes, by reducing anxieties. Think of all the things that might make your buyers hesitate, remove those as much as you can, and charge a fair price.

Be Antifragile About It

Build something from your spare time, and don’t rely on its success. Take it as a bet, an investment that might pay off, but simply building it is worth your effort.

That’ll make your stance antifragile, as Nassim Taleb calls it.

You cap your downside risk to a set number of hours a week, you make sure you don’t ruin yourself from the effort. Nobody asked you to do this, so this endeavour gives you extra “optionality”. Who knows where this will lead you.

Stay sharp!


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