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November 23, 2021

How to Design Impactful Products

Every product that is created has an impact on people. Whether it’s the product themselves, or how they are produced, one way or the other, it will always impact someone. Steven Jacobs, Venture Advisor at First Round Fast Track, is very passionate about creating innovative products and making sure that they have a positive impact in society. He is a Fortune 500 Product Leader with 10+ years of global management experience delivering commercially successful Hardware, Software, and ML products.

Every product that is created has an impact on people. Whether it’s the product themselves, or how they are produced, one way or the other, it will always impact someone. Steven Jacobs, Venture Advisor at First Round Fast Track, is very passionate about creating innovative products and making sure that they have a positive impact in society. He is a  Fortune 500 Product Leader with 10+ years of global management experience delivering commercially successful Hardware, Software, and ML products.

“Impact isn’t the degree of happiness that you bring to someone. Impact is the amount of people that  you affect.” - Steven Jacobs

Steven has a lot of experience in designing products as he used to work for Apple, HP and Google. When he was first starting out, he used to gauge his impact by how much happiness he is bringing to the consumers. But as he grew older and had more experience, he realized that impact is about how many people you affect, and not the degree of happiness the product can bring. 

Product Impact

According to Steven, there are 2 types of companies that impact their customers: Companies that are trying to optimize the product to benefit people, and companies that are trying to make their products more addictive regardless of the consequences. His mission is to bring more companies to make a positive impact on their consumers, rather than a negative one. There are three ways to solve this problem”

  1. Educate - People have to know the ramifications of certain things about a product. Like in the food industry where most people lack the education to know that a certain type of food can cause harm to their body; Like foods with preservatives or too much sugar. 
  2. Expose - Forcing companies to be transparent about the types of ingredient or materials used in their product will help people be more aware of the risks. 
  3. Regulate - Through government laws and policies, companies should be prohibited in putting harmful substances in their products. 

All products should be regulated, because at scale, even the smallest experiment can affect a lot of people in the world. 

With this mindset, he founded First Round Fast Track, where he is a Venture Advisor to CEOs and C-Suite operators at early-stage, First Round-backed companies. He is now helping startup companies create and scale innovative products, teams, and businesses based on the technologies and trends that are going to have a massive impact. His primary goal is to make sure that that impact is a positive one. 

“It's unfair to negatively judge a company for operating the way they're operating today if they're not getting any feedback.” - Steven Jacobs

Steve also believes that companies should have a short feedback loop. You have to communicate with your customers and identify the immediate impact of your product, so you can course correct as fast as possible. But the most important thing for any company is to build a culture of positive impact mindset.

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