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A Summary of

How to Craft Your Product Team at Every Stage, From Pre-Product/Market Fit to Hypergrowth 

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First Round Review
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Founders need to craft a product team that matches the phase of their company. The three phases of a company are the “drunken walk”, product/market fit, and hypergrowth. 

Phase 1: Taking the “Drunken Walk”

  • This stage is fast failing, and the company’s heading is unknown 
  • The role of product vs. the role of the founders:
    • Product management is essentially project management 
    • It’s about scrappy experiments and supporting roles 
  • Mistakes that are easy to make:
    • Product is too early to market 
    • Product is too late to market 
  • Who to hire:
    • Probe if a project manager has the capacity for more scaling 
    • Listen to candidates if they say they are ready to temporarily get their hands dirty to jumpstart initial growth 

Phase 2: Reaching Product/Market Fit

  • This stage is full steam ahead with no time to rock the boat
  • The value the product brings to the user is higher than the price the consumer pays for the product 
  • There has to be a degree of profitability and sustainability when acquiring customer’s love 
  • The role of product vs. the role of the founders:
    • Your planning horizon will shift from weeks to months as customer needs come into focus
    • You start to establish more advanced communication rituals beyond weekly standups 
  • Mistakes that are easy to make:
    • Ignoring optimization of the depth and quality of the product once it starts to be successful 
  • Who to hire:
    • An experienced PM who can set goals and build the right communication habits with the right people at the table 
    • People who can introduce the optimal level of structure 

Phase 3: Kicking Into Hypergrowth

  • Scale your core business while expanding your offerings simultaneously
  • Your product is working well and you’re asking “what’s next?”
  • The role of product vs. the role of the founders:
    • Product management truly becomes a strategic function 
    • The company needs to be disciplined when it innovates 
  • Mistakes that are easy to make:
    • Neglecting the core business 
    • Not strengthening cross-functional teams, processes, and foundations 
    • Not creating a more structured culture 
    • Losing visibility as the CPO
  • Who to hire:
    • Entrepreneurs at scale with experiences at companies of different sizes
    • Raise the minimal quality standards and develop internal talent
    • Listen to your team and discuss new diverse candidates instead of outright cold recruiting 

In Summary

  • Correctly size the product team for the challenges the company faces
  • Add value through people and collaboration
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