How to Innovate While Staying True to Original Vision

How do you continually enhance your product without straying away from your original vision? A traditional answer might be to treat your first version as a foundation and to simply build on top of it until you’ve got every bell, whistle, and dingle ball available. After all, you want to give your users the option to work with each feature even though they may only use a handful, right? Wrong. There’s a fine line between making your product easy enough for beginners to live with and giving your power users the features they can’t live without.

Finding the balance between giving everyone what they want and being smart about what we build is very much a thin line. For example, we receive around 3-5 feature requests a week which range from the “Good Idea” to “this person is thinking about 10 years ahead of what current technology can allow” -“ Implementing all of these ideas would chew up all available time and resources then eventually see us chasing our tail. So we must weigh up feature requests and analyze the usability of what we implement as opposed to being a people pleaser.

Looking at the other side of the argument we know that over half of our users that open Nitro use PDF to Word conversion with around 1 percent using redaction. We needed redaction to be competitive in certain verticals and it has paid dividends whereas implementing something like 3D rendering which only a handful of people request is a nice to have feature. Knowing what our users do within Nitro we are far better off spending time improving PDF to Word and being best in market as this is what people want and use.

Of course you can gear your products to either the occasional users or the power users but by doing so, you’re inherently alienating the other side. Finding the balance between product quality and feature depth is where the vast majority of users work and even your most sophisticated customer needs an intuitive solution. Here at Nitro, we’ve always erred on the side of ease in our products, workflows, and company values and it’s paid off so far.

Sam Chandler is a founder of Nitro and has been CEO since late 2007. Under his leadership, Nitro revenues have more than quadrupled, and the company has profitably expanded operations in the United States, Europe, and Australia, growing to more than 70 employees in five countries.