The key to building excellent products, at least in my opinion, is understanding your users. And you can't do that if you're not spending time with them, watching how they work, seeing their issues, asking questions, and diving deeper. We can gain this kind of understanding through in-depth research or through periodic, less formal conversations. The key point is that it happens. And the more regularly the better.
One of my favorite stories along these lines comes from the early days of Airbnb when Paul Graham asked the founders where their customers were. They answered they had a few in New York. So he asked them what they were still doing in California. They needed to be in New York knocking on doors, getting to know their customers. So that's what they did. And they went from small startup to major disruptor by better understanding their users.
Do Things That Don't Scale - Startups (and products) take off because their founders (and teams) make them take off. They often require a push. That may mean getting people to buy in one by one until you get traction. But that is often what it takes.
Democratizing Research (podcast) - Democratizing research is understanding that the world is moving fast so we need to enable teams to react fast. Product teams (and businesses) need the tools to do research to inform decisions. A good listen.
Doing User Research (podcast) - Eva and I dive into user research. It's critical for product teams to understand user needs and find out what you don't know. While it would be great to have a dedicated user research team, user research is also the responsibility of product managers and product designers to inform the product design, gather insights, and guide the overall direction.