There are two fundamental approaches to building products, a technology first and a customer first approach.
The technology first approach examines what is possible and based on what is possible builds something.
The customer first figures out what customer need is required and then builds something to satisfy that need.
I have had the opportunity to pursue both approaches in my career. And what I have observed is that they can both result in poor results.
The technology first approach can produce something that no one wants.
The customer first can produce a few deals that never grow past a certain point.
At one of my jobs, the GM had the head of product management and myself at each other’s throats. The head of product was very customer centric. I was very technology focused. And the GM would only approve a new project if we both agreed. Sometimes, the head of product would wear me down, and I would grumpily agree with his ideas. Sometimes, I would wear the head of product down and he would grumpily go along with mine.
And those ideas had marginal success.
The best products, the ones that were huge successes were the ones where we both could see how this would satisfy the customer need and that there was real technology innovation.