How much should you work with users?

When starting something new, working with users has two efficiency frontiers.

One is that it’s efficient to work directly with users because you’re the most experienced and can serve them best. The flip side being that you should train the trainer and scale impact.

The other is that it’s efficient to work with users to build empathy necessary to scale impact. On the flipside, only ever focusing on scald takes you away from the original focus on users.

I think we can agree there’s a balance to be struck. You should spend time working with users, and learning from them. But you should also spend time thinking about scale. At the very beginning it might look like 99% users and 1% scale as you prove the concept and gather information. As you grow and mature as an organization, that will start to shift. Maybe it’s 20% users and 80% scale, or even more skewed toward scale. But I don’t think it should ever be 0% users. That’s when leadership gets out of touch.

That’s when people lose sight of why they’re there in the first place. That’s a situation that’s not good for anyone.