Copying will only make you mediocre

A look at Vimeo’s pivot.

Curiosity may be a product managers best asset. After all it’s all about discovery. You can not discover new things and new ways without being curious. Learning from others is a good way to get a head start.

I listen to a lot of podcasts for learning. One of my recent favourite episodes is a conversation with Anjali Sud, CEO of Vimeo, on the decoder. I didn’t know much about Anjali. I still only know much other than what is in the podcast. I did remember Vimeo from its early days. What I heard on the podcast was an excellent story that helps illustrate a lot of things related to building great products.

Here is a link to the podcast but I’m going to discuss some of the key take aways as it relates to products.

Anjali didn’t come from a product management background. She was a marketer, which I think shares a lot of skillsets with product management. That’s important because to build great products isn’t about having a certain background. It’s really in my opinion about understanding people and utilizing tools to get those insights that help you.

Here are a few take aways from the podcast with some of my comments but I highly encourage you to listen to the podcast in full.

Anjali decided to stop competing with YouTube, Netflix, and other consumer video companies and find a better market to play in

That’s an important decision made by realizing that you can’t win if you don’t deliver an experience that the market is not already delivering to end users. Competing by copying is not wise and bound to make you mediocre.

I became CEO to pivot the company, as you said, away from being a viewing destination or media platform, like Facebook or YouTube or Netflix, and really into a video SaaS or software company for businesses. 

Great! They identified what they didn’t want to do and had a hypothesis that being a video software as a service provider to businesses was a good idea.

They would have perhaps used something like the Importance versus Satisfaction framwork to come up with the hypothesis.

..our goal isn’t to entertain and to then monetize through entertainment. Our goal is to help any business or professional or organization, use video the same way that they use text or image as a powerful way to communicate.

Here is a differentiated goal that monetized by aligning it self with the goals of the businesses.

We want our success to be aligned with the success of those creators.

It is ALWAYS a good idea to have alignment between your customers outcomes and yours.

I hope you enjoy listening to the podcast.