I don’t quite remember how I came by this article, but after reading it, re-reading it, marking the jewels in it, and memorizing them, I’m finally sitting down to share it with you.
First, go read the article, which you can find here. It was original originally written in 1960, yet most (if not all) of its teachings are still valuable today. And that makes it even greater.
As product managers or business owners, we must always, ALWAYS understand what business are we in. As par of the software industry, many think that we are in the business of writing code. We are NOT. We are in the business of helping our customers do more by way of the software we sell them. This is a very important distinction.
As not to spoil the fun of reading the article, I’ll just close with one conclusion that is really important:
The view that an industry is a customer-satisfying process, not a goods-producing process, is vital for all businesspeople to understand. An industry begins with the customer and his or her needs, not with a patent, a raw material, or a selling skill. Given the customer’s needs, the industry develops backwards, first concerning itself with the physical delivery of customer satisfactions. Then it moves back further to creating the things by which these satisfactions are in part achieved. How these materials are created is a matter of indifference to the customer, hence the particular form of manufacturing, processing, or what have you cannot be considered as a vital aspect of the industry. Finally, the industry moves back still further to finding the raw materials necessary for making its products.