Flexport Executive Damon Dean Tackles Building Your Product Strategy For Success
How do you build your product strategy for success? This is the question former DocuSign vice president of product Damon Dean set out to answer during a speaking engagement at the Yelp headquarters in San Francisco.
Damon is now in a similar role at Flexport, a freight forwarder company looking to disrupt the movement of goods by using technologies.
Damon’s roadmap presentation focused on several areas, but his main points were disruption and steps to building your product strategy for success, while also adding a little humor, and using examples from his current and former employers.
Follow the Yellow-Brick Road?
Damon’s roadmap approach ties into answering the question of building your product strategy for success.
I started taking a look at what are people thinking about the idea of building your product strategy and how you think about it. What I found was that people are taking a serious dump on roadmaps. I started reading articles and a lot of people were saying product roadmaps are not useful.
The general argument about why roadmaps are not useful boils down to a few things, but a key is the added business value from building a roadmap.
When you get to the end of the roadmap process, you ask now what? Do I do it all over again? Do I make another one? What business value did I provide in building this roadmap? I think what we see right now is a bunch of people reacting to this.
The Peter Thiel Concept
Peter Thiel is a co-founder of PayPal and created a concept of 0 to 1.
This idea of building products that start from the ground up and then you are either disrupting something or you’re building something new, but that process is essentially it’s new and you focus on rapid iteration, continuously iterating, and build until you find this thing that you call product-market fit.
Then he describes this other part about getting from 1 to N where N equals maturity. A lot of these articles that are not keen on traditional roadmaps start to derive their view of the world, which is once you’ve reached product maturity, why do I have to keep making product roadmaps? I’m going to be more interested in themes. I want to deliver value to the business. It becomes less about how did I make a product to how am I making this thing grow and add value. It’s a completely nice, compartmentalized view of the world, but what it doesn’t account for is disruption.