Building Great Products: Charles Teague, Lose It!
Charles Teague, CEO of Lose it! discusses what it means to build great products and provide a meaningful user experience.
I joined Alere Corporation as actually the very first employee and at Alere I was responsible for invoicing, filing, and answering the phone and I turned that into a position running a bunch of the software for the company.
I’m Charles Teague, and I am the CEO and Co-founder of Lose It! Lose It! is a web application and mobile application that helps consumers lose weight.
What I love about what’s happened with mobile and the Internet in the last three to five years is that the ability for users to discover great products has become incredibly easy. What that means is that good products rise to the top. In a world ten years ago where you could sort of market your way out of a bad product, you could just spend enough money advertising and spend enough money telling people about it and you could make a business on that. That world is changing very quickly. At Lose It! we sort of laugh because we have someone who is running our marketing and I give them a budget every year and it’s about a thousand dollars. “There you go, there’s your marketing budget, enjoy yourselves. I’m sure you can think of a lot of innovative ways to spend a thousand dollars.” Meanwhile we’ve gotten fourteen million people who have used the app and we’ve done that primarily, when we survey those users, it’s because of word of mouth.
It’s easy as an entrepreneur working on a problem to have a grand vision for how you think things ought to work. It’s easy to get lost in a vision and stop thinking about the real problems that people have. You have to start with a very concrete user problem—the user has to feel pain, the user has to be saying there is something I really want to do that I can’t do right now. Once you’ve identified that, don’t ask yourself: ‘What’s the least amount of work you can do?”I think you have to ask yourself: “What’s the least amount of product I can build that would give the user a really great experience?” It’s not about this minimum viable product, it’s also not about boiling the ocean, it’s about finding the exact right experience and building just to that point. Then I think you have to make sure you have things in place so that you learn from that.