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Features as Startups

On a long drive recently, I listened to an audiobook of Peter Thiel’s book, Zero to One.  I’d highly recommend checking it out.  Thiel’s blunt yet insightful approach forces you to consider many important aspects of your business.  As I listened to it, it made me think a lot about how we do things at Jana.

We’re currently working on a new project at Jana that has the potential to significantly impact our business.  It’s very exciting to work on because of that potential, but we still have to go from zero customers to one.  We have approximately 30 million people using our app, but that doesn’t mean that getting even one engaged or loyal user of our new product is guaranteed.

Thiel’s book is geared primarily toward the option of starting a company and the evaluation thereof, but a lot of the same logic can be applied to a new product in your company, or even a feature that you’re considering.  I thought Thiel’s checklist for deciding whether you should start a business was particularly compelling in evaluating our new product at Jana.  You’ll have to stay tuned for details on how these questions apply to what we’ve got coming, but I encourage you to think about this list next time you’re considering a new product or a feature.

Thiel’s List:

The Engineering Question : Can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements?

The Timing Question : Is now the right time to start your particular business?

The Monopoly Question : Are you starting with a big share of a small market?

The People Question : Do you have the right team?

The Distribution Question : Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?

The Durability Question : Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?

The Secret Question : Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?

I think we’ve got great answers to most of these questions, which makes me all the more excited to be working on this new product.  Want to help us out?  As always, we’re hiring.

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