I had an absolutely superb meeting today with someone on the team about the tidal wave that has swept product development – data.
We talked a lot about how it has become a must have skill set in the Valley, and where we land on that scale (read: way behind). I kept the conversation going in my head tonight, and it really has forced me to ask where as a team we need intuition and where we need to be data driven.
So I did what any logical person would do, and I hopped on Quora to see what others have asked, and what answers have been given.
I think one of the benefits of Quora is also a bit of a downfall. Folks get requested to answer a question, which brings experts to the topic. BUT. It tends to bring a very specific answer set as well. In this regard, I got inundated by religious zealots swearing that there was only one way, that way was data, and Reis was his prophet (ok, I made the last piece up, but you get the idea). There are few folks who defend intuition because it has no tangible way to prove success. Much the opposite, there are way too many failure cases to the contrary.
So Quora failed me.
Instead, I dove deep into our platform, and came out the other side realizing that we need to be is an intuition based team where data acts as the final scorecard. Our intuition used to just come from gut, but today we have enough customers that we can soft test anything. Further, the leaps of faith are quickly becoming hops, and on the horizon will be even less contentious. Why? Because first customers will say they need it, and then we can prove they use it.
And yet the big ticket item of what and where is still a task for our imaginations. I like that. A lot.
This blog post is a ramble more than a thought, but nonetheless I’m really excited about our product development future. Numbers and prayers both have a big part to play.