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Raison d'etre

Nick Dunne's rant from Gone Girl that I posted a couple of days ago brought up a more interesting phenomenon of existential crisis. Even though existential crisis felt by people is a very interesting topic that requires delving into the depths of psychology, I will refrain from going down that road and stick to the existential crisis of products.

Recently, Google shut down their Google Glass Explorer program, which means Google is no longer selling Glass. But, they have promised to keep improving it in private and possibly release a different version of it when ready.

Google has killed several products before and I have seen products killed at places I have worked as well. So, it's no surprise to see Google take a step back and re-examine the reason for Glass' existence. It is something every product ought to do from time to time.

If you talk to any VC or a start-up mentor or a successful entrepreneur, they will never fail to tell you how important it is to be able to clearly outline, in just a handful of words, what it is that the product you're building ought to do. It could be anything from 'This product should earn me $1 million a year' to 'This product should enable people to chat with their friends'. But, it is critical to be clear about what it is.

These words will then form the basis of all important decisions, right from hiring the people that resonate with the cause to pricing to choosing the target audience for the product. These words will form the foundation of the culture your teams are built on. And eventually, these words will define how the world sees your product and whether it succeeds or not.

First outline why your product exists, and then start building it. And, like Google, when you hit a roadblock, re-evaluate it and re-define it.

We always find a new purpose for our existence. So will you for your product.

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