Because of change in the economic situation, many companies struggle to come up with a good product ideation strategy.

Profit is the blood of any company, without it there is no business, no bills will be paid and people who spend their time with the project lose motivation and eventually give up.

You as a product manager have the tough job to identify what ideas are worth pursuing and how to pursue them.

In my article, the key focuses of a product manager, I explained the job and responsibilities of a product manager. In this article, I would like to explore to flip the script and explore the idea of fun profit.

What for profit product development is?

The ideation strategy to use when developing for profit is a fast feedback loop from the customer. You have an idea; you got to a lot of customers ask them using strategies in this article if your solution will fix their problem and then you go, build the product and increment the features.

This is a very standard practice. The good side is that you build for the masses and the scale. This means a lot of profit and growth are the goals. The downside is, because of the short validation cycles, you might miss opportunities in the long term, you optimize your product for the most common use cases. How about if something in the market or your customers’ behavior changes? Then you will experience a big pain in adopting your product to the new reality. This is actually what happened with the pandemic. Product such as Zoom, which was a very specialized and niche, focused on making on-line teaching and group learning and facilitation easy, took off and many users including the British Parliament adopted it.

On the other sides, huge corporations with vast resources didn’t perform so well. Two examples are Google Meets and Microsoft Teams. Even though they could easily spare resources to make their video software better, in the end, they weren’t prepared at all for this amazing opportunity.

What is a fun profit project?

In many organizations, the people who work there and who might feel limited by business objectives, start to develop different skills aside. Those skills grow and they might have decided to leave the company to pursue their passion. In most cases, employee who had develop such skill over the span of a few years is able to validate the value and is making the leap.­

This is something I observed in the time of crisis, when companies struggle to adopt, but small independent entrepreneurs who had already built their network flourish. This is a slow process and is totally different compare to the traditional company management, or is it?

Examples of the fun profit product ideation strategy

There are a few examples of fun ideas which took the world. Java is one of the most famous program languages ever. It’s constantly on the top places according to Tiobe index.

How did Java start?

Java was a side project for the engineer James Gosling while he was working for Sun on the secret project Green.

According to his colleague Patrick Naughton:

“In 18 months, we did the equivalent of what 75-people organizations at Sun took three years to do,” boasts Naughton — “an operating system, a language, a toolkit, an interface, a new hardware platform, three custom chips…using new risky technology at every turn. We pulled out all our teeth and put them in each others’ mouths.”

Java went to be an enormous success, and now many devices from phones to enterprise applications use it. And this is thanks to the fact that engineers were trying to solve a problem and had fun doing so.

How did Gmail started?

Similar to Java, Gmail was actually not a prime Google product. It started by Paul Buchheit, who had already experienced with email projects. In 2001 the web emails, such as Yahoo, weren’t that good and the goal was to come up with something better.

Paul’s initiative with the help of other engineers proved to be a good choice.

“the software had been used internally for “a number of years before it was released to the public in 2004.”.

Wikipedia

Some sites show that Gmail makes around 73 million dollars per year. Not bad for a fun project.

Next steps

It’s hard to adopt a product ideation strategy related to fun profit. However, what history shows is that small amount of people can generate enormous revenue for a company in the long term. Do you struggle with new ideas?

Are you sinking because of the tremendous competition in your market segment?

Then creating a new segment and new product might be the right choice and what a better way to try it with a funpreneurship. It’s advisable to do it in times of growth to protect your company in times of market decline.

What do you think, is funpreneurship a good product ideation strategy for your company?

Please share in the comments below.

Aleks Vladimriov is a Senior Software Developer, recognized Project Manager and Soft-skilled trainer and a coach.

Aleks Vladimirov

Solution Engineering Manager at Thales | Senior IT Professional | Startup Mentor and Product Manager

Aleks is experienced Product Manager with an engineer background and over 10 years of experience as a software developer. He works with different governments and is responsible for negotiation features and requirements, understanding the customers’ needs and supporting the senior management with regular reports and analysis. He held various positions starting as a software developer, moving to a team leader and software architect.

He strives in waterfall and agile environment alike. He is certified Scrum Master and Prince2 Practitioner and he knows how to design business processes and help teams optimize their work.
During his tenure, he had to wear many hats, prioritizing business requirements, delegating work and mentoring team members, creating mockups with Balsamiq, providing MS Project plan to the senior management.

He had worked in many international teams, located in the same city or distributed in different countries and continents. He had been a team leader of cross functional international team of 8 people.

In his current position, he is very much client focused. He has excellent presentation skills.
He delivers training sessions on presentation skills and leadership and he had helped hundred of people to improve their presentation skills.

He is also interested in creating more positive changes in the workplace by using entrepreneurship skills.
He had won startup competition where his team had validated and develop a business idea from scratch.

In his free time, he writes in his blog about effective product development.

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