With 889 million monthly active users, Tencent is one of the few companies to have evolved its messaging product (WeChat) successfully from a desktop product to a mobile platform, says YC's Anu Hariharan.
In Summary: When WeChat launched in 2010, Tencent was already one of China’s top internet companies. Recognising the growing role of mobile, they shrewdly put together a small team to create a new app that could potentially compete with its core products.
Despite the diverse set of services available, the product team has kept the UI simple. They’ve been disciplined enough to constrain it to 4 tabs: Chat, Contacts, Discover and Me.
WeChat defies the popular belief that growth is all about number of users. Instead, they think about growth as increasing value. In WeChat's case this means the number of tasks it helps its users complete.
WeChat believes that a good product will encourage user efficiency. It limits how many friends you have, how many promotional messages you see, and how much engagement it displays from your social circles. This is seen as noise that distracts from the product's core utility.
Strategy represents a set of guiding principles for your roadmap and backlog to ensure they align with your mission and vision, says Vince Law.
In Summary: Strategy doesn't exist (or shouldn’t exist) in isolation. Strategy bridges the gap between what you aspire to be and what you are doing. To understand what your product aspires to be, you need a clear Mission and Vision. To understand what you're doing, you need a Roadmap which you are constantly executing upon.
Vince cites Tesla as a great case study thanks to Elon Musk's highly unusual decision to share Tesla's Mission and Vision over a decade ago. His faithful execution of those statements is now creating stellar results.
As a Product Manager, if you lack either visibility of the Mission of the company or the Vision for the product, it's imperative you develop one yourself and get buy-in, or ask for leaders within your organization to articulate them.
Lose more but win big, says NextView's Rob Go.
In Summary: With any product problem, there are many possible solutions and varying degrees of success. Rob likes to map the options within a 2×2 matrix, that yields 4 quadrants. On the vertical axis is the likelihood the strategy succeeds once. On the horizontal axis is the likelihood it succeeds if repeated over time.
You shouldn’t attempt the strategy in the bottom left quadrant because you're bound to fail. The top left is dangerous: even if you're successful once, over time the odds are not in your favor.
The top right quadrant is the most appealing as it favours both one-time and repeated success. The problem is, everyone else will be competing here for the same reasons. If you adopt the same strategy as everyone else, you have to be that much better (or luckier) to win.
Rob recommends the bottom right quadrant as the best place for new product developers to focus. This will lead to a lot of trial and error. But, by speaking directly to customers, doing things that don't scale and shipping imperfect products (but iterating fast), you're best placed to succeed over the long term.