Focus

Many years ago, when I was VP of Technology at Intuit, I was sent to visit a top executive at American Express in NYC to talk about a possible partnership.

At the start of the meeting, the Amex executive handed me a survey that was done with their customers. This survey rated Amex on about a dozen different criteria. The highest rating was for brand, the perception of Amex. She then told me she had an extra $100m in her budget for next year, and she asked me where she should spend it.

I looked down the list, and saw that one of their lower ratings was on technology, so I suggested that they work on that.

She said "wrong answer", and that she was going to spend the $100m on brand.

Her lesson to me was that when you understand why are you successful, you should double down on that to make sure you stay successful, and that you grow from your strengths.

I have taken this lesson to heart with the way I manage products.

Clearly, as product leaders, we should fix deficiencies, but we must never lose sight of the most important parts of our products, the things that our users depend on, and we should always look to perfect those things before we try ten new features.

paulenglish.com 26-Jan-2021