Product Development Is Language

Product development is like learning a foreign language. You must raise yourself above the embarrassment and uncertainty of knowing how to express your idea and put yourself out there. You have to immediately test if you can move the idea in your head into an expressible form. And if you do manage the expression, have the courage to find if it has been persuasive.

Ideas are easy. Ideas are ephemeral and abundant, but it requires years of mastery to be able to bring ideas to life. To breathe air and thought into the words and make them heard.

Like any new language very little progress will be made with infrequent practice. You have to embrace Agile techniques and deliver often, to exercise the muscle of product expression. Only by frequent failure and experimentation will you learn the idioms of your product, your market and your customers.

You cannot speak holiday French and expect to succeed beyond the provision of basic needs. And as you begin product development, basic needs will be sufficient. But for your product to succeed in the long term, you must learn the subtleties and nuances of how to transfer value between you and your customers. To master the conjugation of product and market.

Over time your experiments will yield greater understanding and open the dialogue. Like a new language learner who reads facial expression, you will learn to divine meaning and direction from the data of your successes. To hear ideas in what had only previously been meaningless sound, or noisy graphs.

Conceive. Breathe. Express often and speak life into the products you create. Do it earnestly and you will not fail to be understood. Do it skilfully and you and your customers will succeed together.

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