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The biggest weakness in startups according to Tim Ferriss

One killer feature

When working with startups, Ferriss sees one problem popping up over and over. “The biggest weakness I see is companies getting focused on implementing new features,” he says. “That’s the biggest waste of time that I see. They have a viable product that people are paying for and instead of identifying their cheapest avenue for acquiring profitable customers or focusing on polishing the product they already have, they focus on adding ten new features.

via Tim Ferriss on tolerable mediocrity, false idols, diversifying your identity, and the advice he gives startups – (37signals).

I’m hearing this at a very good moment.  I could work on Health Month features all day long… but honestly, I think the game is already off to a great start, and finding new players is 90% of the battle in the near term.

10 Responses to “The biggest weakness in startups according to Tim Ferriss”

  1. Michael McDaniel says:

    I think growing the base of players is very important, but you won’t be very successful unless you also pay attention to keeping the players you get. What keeps them coming back?

    For HealthMonth, there’s the email to remind you to check-in, and that’s helpful. I don’t think that’s all, though. To keep coming back next month, I need to see some results, and I need support in places that were challenging. Features that don’t serve those things are probably least important. To the extent that you can help people get their friends to join their team (how about a super-low-friction “account” for people without rules but who would follow MY progress?) or help people choose rules (by noticing they’ve got a lot of really hard rules or looking at aggregate data on failure rate in the first month by specific rules or rule count) or even let them do a mid-month correction if things are going badly, those might be things worth adding.

    Deciding which of those paths to take, though, requires data. I can say for myself that I am getting results and am enjoying using the site, though having an iPhone site (or app) would be better, and I’m convinced enhancing support options would be good.

  2. Michael – Yes, absolutely. Everything you mentioned is on my short list for features. Especially continuing the game month to month in a seamless way. And, in a way, that’s part of the mission of getting and keeping players. I love building features, and improving features. I’m not as instinctively natural at finding new players. They are definitely hand-in-hand, though, and that quote mentioned helped remind me of the dual feedback loops of getting players, and keeping them interested.

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  4. in a way, that’s part of the mission of getting and keeping players. I love building features, and improving features.

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