Is It a Thing? Demystifying the Essence of Product

Is It a Thing? Demystifying the Essence of Product

"You just need an idea, a touch of confidence, and a push to get started." That's the magic formula for sparking your own product creation, a message beautifully captured by Jason and David in their ReWork book. They further inspire us by stating, "If you're going to do something, do something that matters." Absolutely right! In my previous blog, I emphasized the importance of building something you love. If you don't find joy in the process, success can feel elusive.

As programmers and entrepreneurs, we often dream of launching our own startup or making a mark on our careers. We brainstorm incredible ideas, some truly unique. But as the ReWork book reminds us, "Ideas are cheap and plentiful. The original pitch idea is such a small part of business that is almost negligible. The real question is how well you execute." That's the crux of the matter – execution is the true magic spell. Countless programmers find amazing ideas, upload them to their Github, and leave them there due to waning interest, time constraints, or dismissive peers. The worst outcome? A potentially valuable product left unused and unsold, a victim of focusing on technology over customers and profitability.

"In business," the book continues, "too many people obsess over tools, software tricks, scaling issues, fancy office space, lavish furniture, and other frivolities instead of what really matters. And what really matters is how to actually get customers and make money."

We understand, I think, how can we take first step when we build something. But the building a product is not easy, you have to understand design, some web sites issues if you create a software product, a little bit knowledge hardware and network in first days, some test covering, etc. Working solo has its limits. For bigger goals, build a strong team and collaborate for success.

At ProductLoom, we're a diverse team bound by a shared passion for building exceptional products. But what exactly is a product? To delve into this multifaceted question, we asked our designers, product owners, developers, DevOps engineers, and QA heroes: "What is a product?" Their unfiltered responses unveiled a spectrum of fascinating perspectives, highlighting both unexpected similarities and intriguing differences in how we each perceive this core concept.

Perhaps the most captivating insight lies in the varying lenses through which we view the product. Some teammates prioritize the human touch, emphasizing customer needs and crafting meaningful user experiences. Others, captivated by the inner workings, focus on the product's technical soul, ensuring flawless functionality and elegant architecture.

This tapestry of perspectives isn't a mere clash of viewpoints; it's the beating heart of our collaborative spirit. Each unique piece contributes to the rich fabric of a product that transcends mere functionality. It becomes a bridge between our team's expertise and the desires of our users, ultimately blossoming into an experience that delights and empowers.

Before delving deeper into the philosophical essence of product, let's dive into the raw, unedited responses from our teammates. Their voices paint a vivid picture of how diverse minds converge to create products that inspire and resonate.

Our product designer provided a delightful response that resonated with happy customers. I was impressed!

A product adds value to a group of users by solving their problems and/or addressing specific needs. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a break-through innovation. It could be a more affordable alternative to the most popular software, or just provide better user experience than its competitors.

A successful product is the one that also generates value to its owners by converting its users to happy customers.To maintain its success, the product has to adapt to the changes in its users’ habits and the environment, since nothing stays the same forever.

Arman Kırım , Product Designer

QA engineers focus on making life easier through...

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of a product is a set of events that creates a positive impact with input and output. Since software has entered our lives, the concept of product has lost its concreteness. Even a small development you create in the software world can become a product that you can sell. That's why I think there has to be an input and an output.

So you give it something, information, money, data, anything you can think of, and it gives you an output, and that output adds value to your life or makes your life easier.

Miraç alagaş , QA Engineer

And it continues...

A product can be thought of as software designed to meet user needs, prioritizing user experience, and equipped with a functional and aesthetic interface.

As a frontend developer, we focus on the visual and functional aspects of the product. Our main goal is to create an interface that is easy for users to interact with, understandable, and accessible. In this process, elements like user interface design, user experience, performance, and accessibility are important.

The reason we call it a ‘product’ is because all these components together form a solution that responds to user needs and expectations, creating value. In short, for us, a product is software that offers a user-focused experience combined with technical excellence.

Erhan Arda , Fronted Developer

In my opinion, our backend developer believes that strong functionality and deep domain knowledge are the most critical factors for the product.

Software products are essentially products that offer solutions to problems in human life. Technically, it is a system that has one or more components within it, with functionalities that meet certain requirements.

We talked about human needs and functionality, at this point, software products focus on one or more business areas called "domain". Domain is the business area that the product is trying to solve.

For a software product, we can say that one of the most important and challenging parts is the part of understanding and absorbing the domain correctly. If a useful solution is to be offered to a specific problem, the domain needs to be understood and analyzed very well.

At this point, it is not enough to understand and specialize in the domain. Each different domain that software products focus on has its own unique features and challenges. Understanding the nature of domains in the world of software today and making technology choices in this context makes software products much more useful and long-lasting.

To sum up, when I think of a software product from the perspective of a backend developer, software systems that focus on a specific domain/domains, and offer solutions to specific problems through the functionalities it provides with technologies selected according to the needs of the domain it focuses on, come to mind.

Eren Yılmaz , Backend Developer

Another backend developer on our team takes a rather unconventional approach to the product, often incorporating humor into his thinking.

Picture a software product as the love(hate)child of caffeine-fueled sleep-deprived coding marathons. For me product is not just lines of code; it's a red dragon that does your bidding (most of the time). It's not just software; it's a living, breathing entity with its quirks and tantrums. You feed it code and rage, and it belches out results. It's a bit like a pet, really. You nurture it, occasionally yell at it, and when it misbehaves, you might even threaten to rewrite it. But deep down, you know you're stuck with it, and you wouldn't have it any other way.

Deniz Kaan Batıbeki , Backend Developer

Product Owners handle product differently...

The product is something that arises from a need, created, nurtured, and developed for the right target customer, serving its purpose, marketed through the right channels at the right time and providing benefits. And most importantly, it is something that, as its creator, we would also want to use and be customers of.

Simay İşsever , Product Owner

When I think of a "product," the following comes to mind: anything that is tangible and at least observable, that fills a gap in the lives of users or offers them an advantage.

When I consider the scope as "a good product," I can say this: In my opinion, a good product is anything that supports the general well-being of individuals in ways that they are aware of or unaware of, while acting on a sustainable and inclusive basis; in addition to observing all of the concepts mentioned, from the awareness stage of the product to the promotion stage, and all of these can be met with a financial burden that will not deteriorate the general quality of life of individuals.

Berkay Vuran , Product Owner

DevOps is often seen as separate from product development, but its role is actually indispensable. By automating deployments, ensuring quality, and providing feedback, our DevOps team member says...

As a DevOps Engineer, the following questions come to mind first when I think of a software product:

  • Does the product architecture fully meet the current needs of the product, and is it designed to meet future needs?

  • Can we easily identify problems that occur through our systems and quickly inform the necessary places about them?

  • Are our systems really secure?

  • Are the processes in the software development cycle managed with automation?

  • How can we optimize our processes and architecture?

A software product is a dynamic asset that is constantly being developed, deployed, and managed from the perspective of a DevOps engineer. By adopting the principles of automation, speed, and security at every stage of these processes, the DevOps engineer contributes to the successful implementation of the product and overcoming the obstacles in its path.

Meriç Özkayagan, DevOps Engineer

Reading their posts reveals not only commonalities but also surprising discrepancies due to their differing roles within the product. Diving deeper, we'll encounter both familiar themes and unique insight:


  • User-centricity: All team members, regardless of role, emphasize the importance of user needs and satisfaction. They see the product as a way to solve problems, provide value, and create a positive user experience.

  • Problem-solving focus: Everyone agrees that a product should address a specific need or problem, even if it's not a revolutionary innovation.

  • Value creation: The common thread is that a product should create value, both for users and for the business.

  • Continuous improvement: The team understands that products need to adapt and evolve over time to stay relevant.


  • Perspective: Each role focuses on different aspects of the product. DevOps emphasizes system design, security, and automation. Product Owners see the product from a business and marketing perspective, highlighting target audience, purpose, and sustainability. Developers view the product as code and technology, focusing on functionalities and domain expertise. Frontend developers prioritize user interface and user experience. QA engineers see it as a set of inputs and outputs with a focus on value creation. The product designer emphasizes user needs, problem-solving, and value creation as well as the adaptability and long-term success of the product.

  • Level of abstraction: Some responses are more abstract (e.g., DevOps, Product Owners), while others are more technical (e.g., Backend Developers, Frontend Developers).

Despite their varied backgrounds and viewpoints, different stakeholders ultimately share a common purpose: to create a product that prioritizes user needs, solves problems effectively, delivers value, and fosters continuous improvement. While their perspectives and levels of abstraction may differ, they converge on these core objectives.

Examining the table below will further illustrate how these diverse viewpoints contribute to the product's rich tapestry of meaning, with each perspective adding its own unique sub-layer to the product's overall value proposition

DevOps EngineerSystem Design, Security, AutomationUser-centricity, problem-solving focus, value creationFocus on technical aspects like architecture, security, and automation
Product Owner (Simay İşsever )Business & MarketingUser-centricity, problem-solving focus, value creationFocus on target audience, purpose, and sustainability
Product Owner (Berkay Vuran )Business & User FocusUser-centricity, problem-solving focus, value creation, adaptationFocus on well-being, sustainability, inclusivity, and affordability
Backend DeveloperCode & TechnologyProblem-solving focus, value creationFocus on functionalities, domain expertise, and technology choices
Frontend DeveloperUser Interface & User ExperienceUser-centricity, value creationFocus on visual and functional aspects, user interaction, and accessibility
QA EngineerInput/Output & Value CreationUser-centricity, value creationFocus on providing outputs that add value and make life easier
Product DesignerUser Needs & Long-Term SuccessUser-centricity, problem-solving focus, value creation, adaptationFocus on user research, problem-solving through design, and product evolution

To further explore the interplay of similarities and differences within the subject matter, let's first examine the contrasting perspectives:

While all team members share a core understanding of the product as something user-centric, value-driven, and problem-solving, their focus differs based on their specific roles and technical expertise:

Developers: They dive deep into the product's core functionalities and technical foundations. Backend developers prioritize efficient algorithms and data structures that solve user problems with minimal resource demands. Frontend developers, on the other hand, obsess over crafting intuitive interfaces and interactions that guide users seamlessly through tasks. Both, however, share a common interest in implementing solutions that are maintainable, adaptable, and scalable to ensure the product's long-term success.

Product Owners: Their emphasis leans more towards the business and user-facing aspects. While Simay focuses on target audiences, purpose, and marketing, Berkay champions inclusivity, affordability, and the product's broader societal impact. Both, however, share a responsibility for identifying user needs, prioritizing features that deliver the most value, and ensuring the product remains relevant and adapts to changing needs and market landscapes.

QA Engineers: They act as the product's vigilant guardians, meticulously testing every feature and scenario to ensure a smooth and error-free experience. Their focus lies on finding and fixing bugs not just for their technical flaws, but for the impact they have on user interaction and value delivery. They value providing outputs that are not just functional, but truly make life easier for users.

Product Designers: Their perspective sits at the intersection of user needs and long-term product success. They delve into user research, conduct extensive testing, and translate insights into design solutions that solve problems effectively and enhance the overall user experience. Their focus extends beyond immediate functionality, emphasizing aesthetics, emotionality, and how the product evolves to remain relevant and desirable over time.

In conclusion, while everyone contributes to the same user-centric and value-driven product vision, their individual specializations and areas of expertise lead to unique lenses through which they view and craft the final product. This diversity of perspectives ultimately enriches the outcome, creating a product that is not just functional, but truly resonates with users and delivers lasting value.

Let's talk about similarities:

Though diverse voices sing in the product development choir, a harmonious melody of shared values echoes through their work. At its core, each team member, from engineer to designer, conductor to vocalist, is driven by a common passion: user-centricity. The product, their shared canvas, must be crafted with the user's experience as the guiding brushstroke, every feature a note played in service of their needs and satisfaction.

This focus on value creation unites the team. Developers, whether sculpting efficient algorithms in the backend or building smooth-flowing interfaces in the frontend, strive for solutions that not only work, but work beautifully. Product owners, both the business-minded Simay and the socially conscious Berkay, ensure the product resonates with its target audience, delivering not just utility but positive impact. QA engineers, the vigilant guardians of quality, safeguard the value chain, ensuring every pixel and interaction adds to the user's positive experience. And product designers, the architects of empathy, bridge the gap between user needs and tangible solutions, weaving aesthetics and functionality into a tapestry of delight.

Though their individual roles may differ, a shared dedication to user-centricity binds them together. Each team member adds their unique voice to the product's symphony, ensuring every interaction, every feature, every pixel resonates with the needs and desires of the audience. It is in this harmonious convergence of perspectives that truly great products are born, transcending mere functionality to offer users not just a tool, but a valuable and enriching experience.

Understanding your teammates' perspectives on product meaning is crucial when building something as a team. This shared understanding, in my opinion, allows you to create reliable, affordable, and practical products, much like Japanese automakers. The saying "build the team before building the product" rings true. While the allure of being an indie hacker and building everything solo is tempting, it can be difficult when faced with diverse customer needs. It's tough to catch up and solve their problems alone.

To conclude, I echo the sentiment of the ReWork book: "Make your product so good, so addictive, so can't-miss, that giving customers a small, free taste leaves them craving more and ready to buy."