How writing drives clarity of ideas.
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At some point in your respective product management journeys, you’ll most likely come across the term “working backwards”. Amazon’s famous Product Management philosophy.
Working Backwards posits that when thinking about what product to develop — one must work backward from the customer, rather than starting with an idea for a product and trying to bolt customers onto it. If you are building products in 2021, this is textbook advice.
I’ve never worked for Amazon, but based on what people tell me, Here’s how it roughly works.
To test a new product concept/idea, Amazon PMs write an internal press release announcing the (hypothetical) finished product — The PM lists down the bullets, articulating the benefits as they perceive them, and sends the press release to customers (internal/external). Based on customer feedback, PM iterates on the press release until there is some amount of validation on what customers might think of such a product.
Writing Things down Forces clarity
The press release is a very interesting concept, and for multiple reasons.
First, it’s sort of a sniff test for the PM to see if their concept/ idea, as it stands, holds water.
But more importantly, it helps the PM internalize what their idea really is.
Writing the press release enables the PM to refine and simplify the idea further for external consumption such that anybody can understand the value proposition being pitched. Another such technique is writing marketing copy or creating a landing page for your product idea.
Personally, I like the landing page/marketing copy method much better as it really helps you see how things might look from a customer’s lens as if it were a real product. Adding simple imagery alongside your idea gives it yet another dimension — your ideas get a form and a feel.