How old is your product in human years?

I recently listened to the Craft podcast featuring Tommi Forsström, where he drew an insightful comparison between the stages of a startup and the stages of human growth.

This analogy piqued my interest, and I would like to extend the same framework to product stages, outlining product maturity in a more relatable manner.

In the context of product maturity, we can think of product stages as the different phases of human growth, which include infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

Each stage has its own characteristics and challenges, just as products evolve and mature over time.

  1. Infancy: Initial development and launch of a product. Focus on validating product-market fit and addressing immediate customer needs. Much like a baby learning to crawl, the product team experiments and iterates rapidly to adapt to user feedback.
  2. Childhood: The product has gained traction, and the team has a better understanding of the target audience. Time of growth and refinement based on user experiences. This stage is similar to a child learning new skills and discovering their interests.
  3. Adolescence: The product has a solid customer base and generates revenue. Focus on optimizing user experience, scaling, and expanding market reach. Much like teenagers navigating complex social dynamics, the product team must manage competing priorities and balance innovation with stability.
  4. Adulthood: The product is well-established and has a loyal customer base. Emphasis on sustaining growth, maintaining market share, and adapting to changing needs and trends. Like adults, mature products must continue evolving to stay relevant and competitive.
  5. Death: Products may face a decline in growth, user engagement, and revenue due to technological advancements, changing customer needs, or superior alternatives. Like humans, products may eventually “die” as they become obsolete or unable to compete effectively in the market.

I highly recommend this podcast, as it offers practical examples of B2B SaaS growth challenges and strategies.