Summaries

Winning by Design | Juha Paananen | Slush 2023

Published
December 8, 2023
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3
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Updated
December 18, 2023
Jenna Pitkälä
Winning by Design | Juha Paananen | Slush 2023
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Want to learn the best business insights from remarkable speakers at Slush 2023, but don’t have the time to watch the full speeches on YouTube?

You’ve come to the right place. Below is a summary of a speech by Juha Paananen, Co-Founder & CEO of Soba.

(psst: the notes were automatically generated with Wudpecker's AI notetaking tool. If you'd like to check these notes + transcript + audio recording without needing to log in, press here.)

<p class="h1-rich">🤏 TL;DR</p>

Game developer and founder Juha emphasizes the importance of building a product that someone truly cares about by either building for yourself or deeply understanding your user's needs. He advises product builders to focus on what users can become with their product, rather than just the product itself, and to narrow down their user personas and be decisive in choosing a specific target audience. Action items include identifying target user persona and their needs, focusing on building a product that someone truly cares about, understanding that users want the superpowers that come with the product, and narrowing down the user persona and being polarizing rather than trying to please everyone.

<p class="h1-rich">✨ Summary</p>

Building a Product that Matters

  • Juha, a game developer and founder, emphasizes the importance of building a product that someone truly cares about.
  • He suggests two strategies for achieving this: building a product for yourself or deeply understanding your user's needs.
  • He advises against building something that is beautifully designed but lacks value for users, as such products are likely to fail.

Focusing on User Desires and Superpowers

  • Juha highlights that people don't want a product itself; they want to become someone with the help of that product.
  • He shares an example of his failed short-form video app, Donut, which focused on becoming famous rather than addressing user desires.
  • He encourages product builders to think about what superpowers their product can offer users, rather than just the features it provides.

Narrowing Down User Personas

  • Juha advises against targeting a broad user persona and instead recommends being polarizing and choosing a specific target audience.
  • He suggests starting with a niche audience and expanding from there, citing examples of successful companies like Roblox and Minecraft.
  • He emphasizes the importance of spending time smartly with users and understanding their behaviors rather than relying solely on their opinions.

The Community as the Product

  • Juha asserts that in social products, especially in the early stages, the community itself is the product.
  • He warns against unintentionally attracting the wrong users and stresses the need for intentional community building.
  • He shares an example of how his company, Soba, initially attracted users interested in cryptocurrency rather than authentic game creators, which led to a necessary shift in their target audience.

Focusing on Core Experience and Differentiation

  • Juha advises product builders not to focus solely on what users want, but to instead focus on improving the core experience of their product and offering something different from the competition.
  • He cautions against trying to close the gap between a new product and established products too early, as it may lead to failure.
  • He encourages product builders to find the core element that excites users and gives them superpowers with their product.

Summary of Lessons

  • Build something that people truly care about by either building for yourself or deeply understanding your user's needs.
  • Focus on what users can become with your product, rather than just the product itself.
  • Narrow down your user personas and be decisive in choosing a specific target audience.
  • Build an intentional community that aligns with your product's goals.
  • Focus on improving the core experience of your product and offering something unique, rather than trying to mimic established products.
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Winning by Design | Juha Paananen | Slush 2023
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Winning by Design | Juha Paananen | Slush 2023
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