Adding features to fix customer concerns is very tempting. Every company will eventually add features to create additional revenue. The trick, however, is to refrain from doing so before your product is mature enough. We've spoken before about the danger of adding features to make customers happy. A recent post by Garret Dimon caught or eye as it goes a step further to explain the benefits of betting on design vs. new features early on:
All of those companies [where I worked before] have been focused on features or just getting something out the door. They were more concerned about next weeks trade show than next years vision. They would rather have one paying customer today than one passionate customer tomorrow. I always understood their reasoning, but I never shared it.
Instead of chasing the all-powerful feature checklist, we've made a pretty big bet that improving the overall experience of using Sifter is a better decision than adding as many features as we can.
Businesses are scared to deny a customer feature request early on in the game. You lose customers, they become angry, and sometimes very vocal.
Spending such an incredible amount of time on design isn't easy when the occasional customer cancels and tells you that they're doing so because of your lack of features. However, staying true to this vision feels like the most important decision that I make every day. It's frustrating at times because this is a massive exercise in delayed gratification.
We'll still be adding features as we go, but we'll always put design and user experience first. We're not going to add a feature simply to have it on our checklist.
The real question you want to ask yourself when building a product early on is: Do you want one paying customer today vs. one passionate customer tomorrow?