Product of Theseus: Where are you going?

Do you need to create a clear vision of why your product exists and where it’s going, grounded in the reality of what it does, why, and for what audience? If you’re building products - you’ll find this talk helpful.

Ship of Theseus is a thought experiment about a boat that leaves on a journey and during that voyage, it’s continually mended. When it arrives as its destination, every part has been replaced. This results in a philosophical question: Is it still the same boat?

Asking “what is this product?” is a philosophical question in a similar way. Is a product a set of continually changing features? If there are features no one uses, are they really there? Does a product even exist?

Without a clear product vision, you might encounter these problems:

  • Feature bloat.
  • Users employing painful workarounds.
  • Product teams surprised by how users use their products.
  • Slow feature adoption.
  • Losing out to competitors who are better at communication.
  • Sales or marketing selling product features that don’t exist (vaporware!)

At my company, we help product teams communicate the value of what they do to their customers. By the end of this talk, I’ll show you how we create a picture of: What is this product? What does it do? And what value does it deliver?