User happiness is of fundamental importance. So, how do we achieve this?
Building products that people want
First, someone internally will suggest an idea. Sometimes this will come from James and Tim, but it has just as frequently come from anyone else on the team.
If it requires a new team to build it – which it usually will – we'll start by hiring an ex-founder who is technical. We'll onboard them into the existing team that has the most overlap. This helps get them used to working with our codebase, and with the culture we look for from each team.
That person builds the MVP, and the only goal is to figure out if anyone will use it. With some products, the MVP may have more scope if we feel especially confident. Once the new product is in a non-embarrassing state (that won't harm our brand), we add pricing to it and position it on our website. This drives much more demand. At this stage, the goal is to get the product to product-market fit in PostHog's platform, which means working with customers until we have 5 delighted, paying customers.
Once all this is done – which we'd expect to take a few months – we can start to innovate. This usually means some kind of platform play, such as extending the product to enhance everything else we're working on, or shipping another new product that would work well with it.
Engineers talk to users and provide support
You should be as close as possible to your users, feeling whatever they feel, so you have as much signal as possible to make the product great.
For established products with a lot of usage questions (how do I create an insight that does X for example), Customer Success helps with support.
For example, before a new product is even made, we'll add it to our public roadmap. Once it ships, we'll use our own tools to get customer interviews, feedback, and data, and we'll always aim to "close the loop" with users - coming back with a) a pull request, b) a GitHub issue they can follow in the open, or c) at least saying why we can't do a feature they've asked for.
In one fell swoop, this means the product improves, users are impressed and recommend us to others, and we show users that we listen, encouraging them to keep going through this loop with us, faster and faster.