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Building Sustainable platforms

Gopikrishna Aravindan
December 26, 2022

This blog is a sequel to the Building Scalable Platforms – Part 1 where we went over Design Principles and Ease of Onboarding.

In Part 2 of the series of Building Sustainable platforms we will talk:

  • User quirks
  • Build-Measure-Learn cycle
  • Creating Content

User quirks

It’s premature to conclude that product teams will always know what the users want. You have probably watched the square hole meme  where the user ends up dropping pegs of different shapes into the square hole, although the product has multiple holes, matching all peg shapes. This is a representative of many products where product teams may have envisioned using a product in one way, but it may end up being used completely differently.

Platform adoption and use will be driven by users and its very likely they will find ways to use the platform in ways to use the platform that we will not foresee. So, it’s important to make room to learn from user quirks and redesign around it. Monitoring usage by investing in web analytics will allow product teams to validate hypothesis around user interaction with product and take corrective measures as needed.

Content in king!

To be able to create relevant and reliable content we need appropriate checks and balances as well as offer user friendly elements.

Also providing the right space for collaboration is key to promote organic growth of content. For (e.g.) if you are a marketplace for buyer and sellers of mobile devices, then provide a simple and quick way to rate products/ merchants will be an incentive for buyers and sellers to add reviews. Ability to quickly share on social media like twitter and facebook will enable content to be distributed to the outside world.

But creating content goes beyond just reviews. Knowing how your competitors are engaging with audience is a dimension to include in your content strategy. For (e.g.) if you are in Edtech industry trying to engage with students looking for admissions and their parents, research what your leading competitor is providing. A leading CRM provider, Hubspot provides free tools like the Website grader that incentivizes customers to come back to their site time and again contributing website traffic.

Content should be resourceful and verifiable. Inviting content from users who can be identified will lay the foundation for customizing content for their needs. Google and Facebook make authentication using SSO simple through the APIs. Rather than building from Scratch these APIs make it easier for any web or mobile app to authenticate within minimum number of clicks for the users.

Build-Measure-Learn

A brilliant idea and timing are only part of a successful product. Product Execution is probably most critical piece. The only way to know if a product works is to release it to market and seek validation from the users. Each release must be viewed as an experiment. Most experiments fail but some succeed. At this juncture, it makes sense to drop the features that failed and double down on the ones that succeed.

The advantage of building Minimum Viable Product is that product teams can validate learnings with least possible effort. Releasing a product early and capturing the maximum learning means product teams could validate if their product truly solved the customer pain points.

One of the MVP approaches it to focus on small set of customers, ideally early adopters. By focusing on a handful of users, product organization can streamline their work and iteratively solve the problems of a small group of users or a even a single user rapidly. When most of the problems are solved, the product can then incrementally scale to address a larger customer base. Scaling a product has its own set of challenges of its own.

What challenges have you faced in bringing product to market in your organization?

About the author

Gopikrishna Aravindan is an experienced professional services leader who has a passion for everything technology starting from ideating concepts to delivering large-scale technology transformation solutions while taking ownership of everything in between. He has a Masters degree in Information Systems from Carnegie Mellon University. He started his consulting career at Deloitte and has served seve

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