Once you have built your product and it’s in the market, there are only three things that matter: distribution (getting the product into users’ hands), engagement (validating that you’ve built the right product and that users are using it), and monetization (making money from those engaged users). This is your strategy.
At board meetings, I’ve started categorizing each portfolio company’s roadmap items into these three buckets. It’s a beautiful simplification that immediately reveals the priorities of the company at any stage. Is most of the product development focused on growth or new product features that drive engagement? How have those priorities changed over time? Where are most of our people allocated? Are these priorities the right ones given the stage of the company?
Breaking strategy into these three parts makes it easy – you now have a template, a stencil for describing your strategy. Make a table that looks like this:
Fill it in with the top 2 to 3 initiatives per quarter. You have just built a board-level roadmap that describes your strategy. Explain it to your board, solicit feedback, then hold a town hall and describe it to your team. Then get back to building your company!
Update: I’ve written a follow up post after some great conversations/comments and the amazing distribution this post has received.
Phil Libin gave a great presentation at the Founder Institute articulating a similar product philosophy. Slides are here.