User delight and why it’s too late for your product to have it.

We’ve spent much of 2015 with startups across a multitude of industries from wearables to artificial intelligence to enterprise software. All of them want to build a product that delights their users and thus dominates the market. A few are on their way to doing that, most are not.

Apple. Uber. Product Hunt. Amazon Prime. Zappos.  They all have it. Products that delight. We’re often struck by how simple the element of delight is. Why didn’t other startups think of free, no-hassle returns for shoes or a laptop that just works or free shipping on my internet purchases. Because other startups were too dumb. Ok, they weren’t too dumb, they were too busy.

Why were they too busy? Because startups spread themselves and their business across multiple product opportunities making them too busy. Although its counter-intuitive, placing a single product bet has a much higher probability of success than spreading yourself across multiple opportunities. A single bet allows you to focus all your energies and resources on that one path. Allowing yourself the time to focus creates the space for ingenuity, attention to detail and creativity to take hold. Resisting the urge to try other bets in parallel protects that productive space. And it’s that productive space that leads to light bulb moments, and more importantly, the time to act on them. The technology behind the Uber experience or the work of gathering up high quality new products for Product Hunt is not simple. The hard work those companies invested results in a simple experience that delivers delight. An absence of focus means no delight will happen. And delight almost guarantees success for a startup.

Want to know if your startup is building a delightful product for your users? Ask yourself this question; From CEO down to the most junior employee, does everyone know exactly what you need to do in the next 4 weeks? If you respond with something like “Yes, we need to test the assumption that ….” then you are likely on the right path. If you respond by saying “We are looking to raise a seed round to bring our new product to market” then it’s already too late to create user delight for your product….and your startup might even be doomed.

Stay tuned for my next post on a process to work out which bet to place.