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Product Management Product Strategy

Outside In vs. Inside Out

We all have been there. You have a great idea to build the next best product. Say to find the best restaurants in the neighborhood or help users find the best deals. You go out and build the cool new product. Only to realize that the user response to it is “Meh…”. You thought it would solve their core problems in their daily lives but the reality is that you couldn’t get them back in the app even for the second time.

Inside-Out

In most businesses, this looks something like “Check out what this cool technology built by someone in Eng. Let’s make this a product/feature“. Or here is another version: “We already have technology X, why don’t we build product Y and create a new revenue stream“. Several months are spent building the next best thing only to meet with a tepid response from the market. Even if the business is able to sell it to a customer, retaining them is next to impossible.

It’s like the illustration below where the organizational journey is left to right:

Inside Out model for Product Strategy by Abhishek Tiwari

Yes, these are all first-hand examples I have faced in my career and often made these mistakes myself. This approach leads so much wasted software and resources. This is also the starting point of “Build it and they will come” thinking. That topic requires another post by itself.