Saturday, September 8, 2012

Product Management: Solve a big must-have problem first

I don't keep my desk neat.  From time to time I find something that I meant to put away for a short while on the corner of my desk.  I wanted to share one of those things that I found today on my desk.  It's a 6-inch USB extension cord.

"It is not necessary to use this UBS extension cord."
Someone must have asked for this feature, and
MagicJack was smart enough not to build extension cord in its product.

It came with one sticker around the cord, which says "it is not necessary to use this USB extension cord."  I believe the code came with MagicJack.  They must have received customer requests asking for extension cord.  After including the cord, I guess they wanted to make it clear that extension cord is not required piece of hardware for MagicJack to work.

Seeing this label and 6-inch USB extension cord gave me a pause.  I asked myself whether I am building anything that is not necessary to use.  If it is not necessary to functionality, I should have looked for a generic solution.  Just like MagicJack did not set out to build extensible USB cord, a great product should contain the absolute bare essential to solve the problem at hand.

That is the focus.  That is the only way to solve a big and must-have problem.  Let all the other small problems to be solved by someone else who can do it cheaper and off-the-shelf.

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