Creating Great Products

Building a product can be quite simple, but the best ones include insights from human behavior, algorithmic efficiency, and usability. To start, an engineer might build a sophisticated app that uses some cutting edge technology. It is a non-trivial feat which required:

  • Speaking the language of mathematics in order to talk to the computer
  • Pulling from a toolbox of various algorithms
  • Manifesting itself as an app through programming

A solid understanding of this aspect means you have a feasible product. But that is not enough. You have a solution, but possibly no problem. Thus, analyst might come along to add some vision that takes into account a meaningful customer pain point (read: something that hurts enough people will pay for it). This is also a substantial feat which required:

  • Speaking the language of the target customer, oftentimes through mediums as varied as body language to analytics.
  • Pulling from a toolbox of various strategic frameworks
  • Manifesting itself a product roadmap through planning prioritization

Now, the product is not only feasible, but it is also economically viable. You have a solution and a problem that is solves, which makes a good product. Still not enough. The original criteria was building great products, so more work needs to be done. Next, a designer might come along to improve the usability of the app that takes into account user feedback. This amazing feat requires:

  • Speaking the language of creativity (?) I'm not sure here because I am not an expert
  • Pulling from a toolbox of design patterns and UX heuristics
  • Manifesting itself as well-designed user interface and user interactions

Finally, we have a product that is feasible, viable and desirable. We have a great product. All it took was the combined expertise of several industry leaders, and an idealized world where egos, politics and time pressures don't exist.

Derek Chen

Computer science masters student studying task-oriented dialog agents for natural language understanding, information retrieval and question answering.