How Problem Solving, Customer Research, and MVPs Result in Winning Products.

Posted on June 23, 2020

In this episode of the GrowthTLDR, we talk to Jeff Gothelf, author of Lean UX and Forever Employable, about developing fantastic products and applying product thinking to your career.

We cover why it’s critical to take a problem, not a solution approach to developing products. How companies can build customer research into their culture, the MVP approach to developing products and how to have jobs chasing you, versus you chasing jobs.


Happy Growing!


Time Stamped Notes

[3:35] – In Jeff’s experience, most product teams start with a solution to implement, not a problem to solve. The teams who get given a problem to solve do far better work. Jeff works with product teams to reframe solution statements to a problem statement. Product teams that start with a problem statement generate better ideas, are more passionate about them, and build better products.

[6:30] – The best way for your product to succeed is to solve a real customer’s real problem in a meaningful way.

[9:25] – There are many similarities between marketing and product teams, in the work they do, and how they approach that work.

[11:30] – Customer centricity is critical to both the success of marketing and product teams. The reason some teams don’t do it is ego. They don’t want to be proven wrong by that research. To make customer research more prevalent within a company, you need to make it part of that companies culture. 

[15:25] – Jeff gives us examples of how you can incentivize customers when conducting your research program.

[17:15] – To make customer research part of a companies culture, you need to foster a culture of continuous learning. Companies need to get the balance right between the speed of delivering work, and the speed of learning. Learning helps you to deliver quicker on your work.

[20:05] – We talk about the role of MVP in product development. What is the least amount of work you can do to test your hypothesis? The answer to that question is your MVP. The MVP you need differs significantly across what question you’re trying to answer. 

[23:30] – How minimal should your minimal viable product be? It takes a lot of practice and experience to understand how minimal your MVP should be. 

[27:20] – We talk about how MVP’s help you manage risk in your growth efforts. The amount of risk you should take on should be relevant to the potential rewards of getting that thing right.

[29:45] – At a certain point, sometimes companies need to take a leap of faith. However, they can minimize that leap considerably by continually gathering research using the MVP approach.

[31:45] – We talk to Jeff about his latest book, “Forever Employable.” Two of the main points from the book are:

a. How you apply product thinking to your career. 

b. How can you build a platform so you’re not chasing jobs, but they’re chasing you?

[34:15] – We talk about how to position yourself correctly, and how you can be on message for the problem you want to solve. 

[36:30] – In today’s world, it’s risky not to invest time in building your brand. 


Jeff on Twitter / LinkedIn
– Kieran on Twitter / LinkedIn / Medium
– Scott on Twitter / Linked / Medium