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Founding Voices: How Markets Help Products Evolve

Listen to the Market to Know Where to Grow

As a founder, you’re constantly thinking about how your product might evolve. While this is a valuable exercise, the endless variables and possibilities to consider can turn uncertainty around your growth trajectory into anxiety toward the future. To help orient yourself, make the customer your center of gravity, and let their wants and needs give you footing on a path forward.


“If you solve a problem for your customer, they’ll expect you to solve three more. Innovation and evolution go hand in hand.”

Co-founder and CEO, Outreach

Your product can be a vehicle to explore your interests and intellectual curiosities. But it’s important to remember that the product is ultimately subordinate to the customer, and the benefits it delivers must be tied to real world user pains.

Be empathetic and intentional in soliciting feedback from your customers. If you understand their struggles and expectations, you can better identify problems that exist on the periphery of your product. Each pain point you uncover creates an opportunity for the product to grow and address it. As such, it’s valuable to think of product growth not as a unilateral process, but rather an interplay between you and the user.

“Products evolve when problems evolve,” says Rajeev Batra, who spearheaded Mayfield’s investment in Outreach. “You should strive to identify, analyze and understand any new pain points, but you don’t get to decide what they are.”

Rajeev Batra

Partner, Enterprise, Consumer

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