October 9, 2019

157 | The Product Mindset: Succeed in the Digital Economy by Changing the Way Your Organization Thinks | with David DeWolf, Jessica Hall, & Shawn DuBravac

On this special edition of the Innovation Engine Podcast, David DeWolf, Founder and CEO of 3Pillar Global, and Jessica Hall, 3Pillar’s Vice President of Product Strategy and Design, discuss their new book, The Product Mindset: Succeed in the Digital Economy by Changing the Way Your Organization Thinks

During our discussion, we’ll unpack the key characteristics of successful digital products and the three core principles that drive their creation: minimizing time to value, solving for need, and excelling at change. We’ll also talk about the challenge of an antiquated IT mindset and how leaders can embrace company-wide thinking that leads to great products and thriving businesses.

We are also joined by Shawn DuBravac, Founder and President at Avrio Institute and author of the New York Times bestseller Digital Destiny, who will moderate the discussion.


Episode Highlights

A successful digital product has three core characteristics or attributes:

1. Digital products have to be self-funded.

“Software products are about creating dollars, not saving pennies.” What we learned very early on at 3Pillar is that the difference between businesses selling traditional products and business creating digital products is that the digital product is the value proposition — the software product is what is sold. It is the good or service of the digital economy. And because of that, it has to create its own revenue stream.

So, the digital products game is not about saving pennies. It’s about creating dollars, creating new markets, and that makes the mindset fundamentally different than selling or creating traditional products and services, or even other types of software.

2. Digital products need to be chosen by the customer. 

It’s no longer good enough to just make a great product — you now have to be chosen by the consumer.

A long time ago, you had to gather a lot of capital, a lot of resources, and a lot of connections in order to bring something new to market. It takes 10 years to bring a car to market. Heck, it takes two years to bring a book to market!

“But to bring a software product to market,” Jessica says, “that’s a credit card, and 8 hours, and a six pack of Dr. Pepper.” The barrier to start making money, to start eroding market share, is lower today than ever before because we have never had more choices than we did today.

3. Digital products are never done.

In this day and age, the expectation is continual innovation. If you’re not evolving your product — if you are not keeping up with regulatory, user, and performance expectations — the will start losing the market share you’ve worked so hard to capture. Because customers have choices!

And a big mistake we see in a lot of “digital” businesses that the CFO that is still looking for a project plan. It is going to be a capital expense for nine months, and they’re going to budget it as a project — but products aren’t done that way anymore.

It’s an operational cost. It’s ongoing R&D. You have to expect to evolve it and continually take it to the next level, and that is fundamentally different from a world where you create something and then you’re done.

We have to embrace this reality that there’s no finish line.


About The Innovation Engine

Since 2014, 3Pillar has published The Innovation Engine, a podcast that sees a wide range of innovation experts come on to discuss topics that include technology, leadership, and company culture. You can download and subscribe to The Innovation Engine on Apple Podcasts. You can also tune in via the podcast’s home on Spotify to listen online, via Android or iOS, or on any device supporting a mobile browser.