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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

August - 2007 - issue > Entrepreneur 101

Creating a winning product strategy

Gunjan Sinha
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Gunjan Sinha
In the last few issues, I have talked about social entrepreneurship as a theme. In this issue, I change the tack, and share my thoughts on how one builds or delivers great products - one which truly delights customers! As entrepreneurs, business leaders, and technology developers we are all confronted by the challenges of building a great product, one which will hit the market at the right time, with the right force, and will create a disruption in the way things are being done till now. So, what differentiates a winning product manager, designer, or an entrepreneur from some one who is yet to master this art? How one should approach product strategy and incorporate it in the business game plan? These are questions which are top-of-the-mind issues for not just CEOs, VCs, top executives but also for developers, product managers, and others who are responsible for “block-buster” performance. In my column today, I wanted to share some thoughts on this matter. We all want that the next “ipod”, the next “facebook”, the next “google”, or going back to my social entrepreneurship theme, the “next Grameen bank”, come out of this siliconindia community, how do we make it a reality, how should we shape our product strategy to enable that vision?

The world in the forward mirror, not rear view
Great product strategists look at the world in the forward mirror, not rear view. They sincerely attempt to understand the direction of the global industries, technology disruptions, evolution of consumer behavior, business lifecycles, and other key trends. This is critical in providing a context to our product strategy game plan, and all of us know that some entrepreneurs get better at it than others. What gave Steve Jobs the inspiration for “ipod”? Did he marry the evolution of mobile devices with a “trendy” consumer need to almost come up with a new fashion category? Or how did the Chairman and Founder of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, envision the emerging consumer need for “public privacy” and “place to meet” ahead of its time?

The devil is in the details
Both these leaders and great product strategists are maniacal about consumer experience, and understand the value of paying attention to every aspect of their customer need. The verbal needs, the non-verbal needs, the obvious needs, the subtle needs. Here is a brief email from Howard Schultz (Excerpt from: http://starbucksgossip.typepad.com /_/2007/02/starbucks_chair_2.html)
From: Howard Schultz
Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 10:39 AM Pacific Standard Time
To: Jim Donald

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