StartUp Founders: Break The Machine

Users will always find ways to use your product that you never imagined. If you can see it, you can create the solutions they didn’t even know they needed.

StartUp Founders, Break The Machine

Dear Reader,

Founders are masters at creating artificial barriers in their products, solving problems that don’t exist – limiting usage, adoption & feedback. Your startup isn’t fully baked, the market finishes the job. (𝕏) This is Creating Problems.

Don’t introduce friction that limits the extraordinary. React to friction and create the extraordinary. Iterate relentlessly.

TL;DR: Users will always find ways to use your product that you never imagined. If you can see it, you can create the solutions they didn’t even know they needed. The Creating Problems Workbook.


3.2 Observability Stack: The difference between knowing what your product does and why it does it.


Your job is to get customers, get usage, remove every friction, and let the problems come to you. This applies to product, sales, pricing, consumption, constraints, onboarding, setup, training, support – everything.

No API to let people build or extend? Barrier. Difficult pricing? Barrier. Weird usage restrictions? Barrier. Quick call with sales? Barrier. Email for a white paper? Barrier.

Basically: “Here’s my product, but you can only use it my way.”

Your users are smart. They’ll find the workarounds, the new ways to wrangle your product to meet their goals. That’s the broken glass, the unexpected use cases, the gravitational pull towards certain features.

It’s the foundation of your your backlog, your iteration or maybe your pivot. The feedback loop you’ve been craving, the backlog you’ve been seeking, the gold mine you’ve been overlooking.

Clarity takes time. And if you’re putting up artificial barriers, you’re not letting the problems occur. You’re not failing fast. Your stroking your ego, you’re not learning. Let your users show you the way to product-market fit, even if it’s not the way you envisioned.

>> Best product doesn’t win. Best team doesn’t win. Fastest to learn wins.

If a startup is an experiment, then surely you need findings, and if you mandate the findings, then it’s not an experiment, it’s a dictatorship. And dictatorships don’t scale.

Embrace the Chaos: Your MVP is just a draft. Let them scribble all over it, tear out pages and rewrite the ending. The more they break, the more you learn.

Unleash the Wild Things: Encourage them to experiment, push boundaries and give them tools to make it theirs. It’s R&D at scale.

Profit from the Wreckage: None of this matters if you cannot see the mess. You have to be able to see patterns, pain and surprise. The money is not in letting it happen, it’s in seeing it and doing something with it.

The Creating Problems Workbook

SU003.3 Create Problems (aka Let Users Break It) by James Sinclair

I’m just going to repeat myself…

Don’t be greedy. Stop trying to control every aspect of the user experience. Ditch unnecessary barriers, ditch restrictive features, ditch weird selling practices, ditch _______. Let your users guide you to product-market fit, even if it means breaking your precious product in the process.

Stop solving problems. Start creating them. Embrace the chaos, unleash your users, let them show you the future of your product. It won’t be what you expected, but it will be what you need, if you have the humility to listen.

Ready to let go and give your users the chance to show you the way? Feel free to grab time with me.

— James

(LinkedIn | Tiktok | Twitter)

Related Post

StartUp Founders: Are You Right? thumbnail

StartUp Founders: Are You Right?

Get customers. If they’re not there, or not staying, pivot something and keep iterating until they are. It’s that simple.

StartUp Founders: From Product To Service thumbnail

StartUp Founders: From Product To Service

The hardest leap a founder will make is the mindset switch from product to service, from transactional to accretive.

StartUp Founders: Black Box Decision Making thumbnail

StartUp Founders: Black Box Decision Making

Observability isn’t just about collecting data; it’s about using it to see your product through your users eyes to build a product they can’t live without.