The ninth edition of TechSparks saw an interesting panel discussion on product strategy featuring people from companies from different industries.
Moderated by Abhishek Madhavan, Co-founder of LocoApp, the panel comprised Rahul Ganjoo; product vice president of Zomato, Kumar Srinivasan; CEO of MatchMove and Kanan Rai; Business Development Manager of Google Play.
Rahul said that one can know when a company has the right product mix through customer tractions. Apart from that, one needs to optimise for eligibility and create a path for fast feedback in the cheapest form before the product mix.
Kanan Rai on the other hand, said that one needs to ask a company to pick the right problem from the many problems that face them. According to him, one has to be really insightful and passionate to build a product/ startup as there are many similar ones in the market.
“To get the right product mix, get as much feedback and keep testing, reiterating the product because the vision you have might not be the same with the customers,” she added.
Kumar Srinivasan also agreed that one must give it a try and get the product into the market.
How to define product road map
Rahul said that planning added value but a company should not get attached to the plans, at least for not beyond 3-4 months as no one is aware of them after this period. He, however, insisted that the company have a point of view and be attached to outcomes.
Kanan emphasised that it becomes hard to predict what will happen in a dynamic country like India.
Kumar highlighted an interesting concept of pen, pencil and blur in connection with the product road map. A company for its next three months should be written in pen which can be predictable, the next three months after to be written in pencil so that they can be changed and further blurred.
Entrepreneurial themes emerging in the market
The rise of local language content and the use of voice is of great interest, said Kanan. Here she gave examples of ShareChat and Dailyhunt for its local language context. She believed that they have built them to help the next billion customers who are not comfortable with using technology in mobiles and computer who otherwise have to depend on English.
Another trend Kanan was specific about was the copycat culture. She said that once a company becomes popular or successful, a plethora of similar startups emerge. “ If it can add value to the concept, then great, otherwise it is just another startup.”
Rahul observed that the growth in Tier II and Tier III cities has been bigger than anticipated.
“We underestimated and did not understand them better. A lot needs to be done to understand them deeply. Technology is not something common for them. It actually change their lives completely” explained Rahul.
Kumar said that the Indian technological industry has huge market opportunities. Mobile revolution and data revolution has benefitted industries like education, health, among others.
With technological penetration and smart cities, Kumar believes that India is the place to be if one is an entrepreneur.
How reactive are you to copycats?
“Care just enough. Keep an eye and be focussed on your vision,” said Rahul. But a company that can add something to the common trend and look at it uniquely, should be taken seriously.
Kanan too agreed with him and said the company's focus should be on the customer by retaining and engaging with them.
Kumar, on the other hand, saw competition as a good measure to improve one’s own company.
The panelists also shared their key learnings.
Kumar is emphatic on believe in oneself. For Kanan, the focus is always on quality.
“It is important for the users to keep coming, sticking and spreading the word,” he said.
For Kanan, quality meant four things - creating value for the end user, easy to use, stability, and innovation.
Rahul explained his learning was to get attached to the problem the company is solving and not the product or plan.
YourStory's annual extravaganza TechSparks brings together the best and the brightest from the startup ecosystem, corporate world, policymakers, and, of course, the investor community. Over the years, it has grown to become India's most loved tech and startup platform for knowledge sharing and networking. The ninth edition of TechSparks also marks YourStory's 10th anniversary. A big thank you for all your support over the years and keep reading and watching YourStory.