Working on the next little thing

When you first start a product, you have a small set of problems you want to solve for a specific audience, and you go all in. As a product gains customers and grows, you have to focus on what’s next. How are customers using the product? Where can we make the product even more valuable? Where can we remove more pain? Or, wouldn’t it be great if… 

I think this is where product owners get into trouble. We always tend to think about the next big thing. How are we going to blow our customers away and separate ourselves from our competition? It has to be something amazing. Something press worthy. 

But you also need to constantly refine your product in the places that you have not looked at for years. Because while you may have not looked at it in years, your customers are looking at it every day, and possibly experiencing pain in the process. Eventually you look back at your product and realize that while you launched some great new features, it’s starting to feel rough. It’s being neglected. 

We work hard to make sure this never happens in Postmark. While we collect support requests, talk to customers, and review old features, it can be difficult to identify where customers feel pain in the product. So on Tuesday we asked a very focused question:

What annoys you about Postmark?

The response has been incredible. This was a one-question survey. It didn't ask about on boarding, or target a certain group of users. Instead, we asked a single leading question knowing that we must have those little annoying parts that wear people out every time they use our product. 

The responses that came back brought a huge smile to our faces. It wasn’t the quantity of responses, it was the granularity of the response. While some of the things are known, we uncovered a list of small but valuable changes we can make to improve the daily experience for customers. And while they seem like little annoyances, they are actually giant inconveniences. Things like organizing the servers page, or searching sender domains. Solving each one can have just as much impact as the next big thing, and we plan to do just that.

We have to realize customers purchased our products for the features and experience that existed when they signed up. Yes, we have to focus on opening up the audience, but we can’t forget to constantly improve the original ideas and experiences. Most of us created our product out of frustration from another bad experience. We have to work hard to make sure our own products are never the source of that frustration.


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