Terence Huijgen
Terence HuijgenCo-founder

Starting a Product by Sam Altman

In this video Sam Altman (CEO of OpenAI) talks about the value of creating a service for a small group of people that actually love your product.

He talks about two approaches:

1. Deep and Narrow: “You have a small number of users that really love you and then find out how to find more and more of those users and broaden the appeal of the product.”

2. Shallow and Wide: “You can have a lot of people that sort of use the product once or twice and kind of like it and try to figure out how to get them more engaged over time.”

“With high confidence, I can say that you want to start with a small number of users that really love you. Almost all great companies have products that start this way.”

Focus on retention and frequency of use

Sam Altman says the following about growth in users: “In fact, I think this is so important that you actually shouldn’t track absolute growth in number of users in the early days of a startup. You should just track how often they’re using it… That’s a good early indicator of users that love you—better still is them spontaneously telling their friends to buy your product.”

My point of view

When you create a product for a small group of people, it is easier to develop the essential features your users need. This is a lot harder when you target your product to a lot of users, because then when you release new features, you don't know which ones stick. And, of course, you can grow your user base and open up your product for more users in the future. But if you build the essential features for people who actually love your product, it will reduce your development cost drastically.

In the early days of Frank Energie we started small and received a lot of good feedback from our users. Once we found a product that people loved, it was a lot easier to add new features because we knew that people would use it, so it wasn't a waste of time and effort.

I highly recommend watching the full video

Terence Huijgen
Terence HuijgenCo-founder