I think it’s dangerous for companies to become obsessed with consistency. I think there’s a time and a place for consistency, and I’m not talking about consistency of execution, I’m talking about consistency of content. Of course, consistency of execution is important, being a consistent person, doing what you say you’re going to do. All that stuff [00:00:30] is of upmost important. But when I talk about consistency in this podcast, I’m talking about consistency from a product and perhaps even a content perspective.
I think one mistake that junior product managers make is they can be obsessed with consistency, and, in fact, in a lot of new product managers will come in and say, “I’m going [00:01:00] to make this new thing, and it’s going to be consistent with that thing.” And my primary job here once I started is to create consistency across our product or across our app, and there’s nothing wrong inherently with consistency. But I think when that becomes the highest form of inspiration, problems can occur, right? When people stop [00:01:30] thinking about new ways to do things, when they stop asking questions like what does the user really want here, sometimes that can create situations where a new aspects of an app are in some ways highly inconsistent with past things. And maybe it’s the older parts of the app that need to be made consistent with the new parts, or maybe it depends on your market [00:02:00] and your user group and who your customers are and why they bought your product. But maybe it’s okay that there’s inconsistency. Maybe as you build out the first version of your product, there are parts of what you’re doing that are inconsistent with past parts. And that’s okay. It’s the first coat of paint, and when you go to put a second coat of paint on, maybe you can create consistency if that’s the right thing to do.
But [00:02:30] I think there is sometimes within organizations this faith in what existed before they were around, and I think that’s not only true of companies or products, I think it’s true culturally. I think about a lot of religions where … [00:03:00] So I’m not a religious person. But I’ve definitely seen … But I grew up in a religious culture, and there’s this tendency to not question the things that we’re around before someone was born, right? So you can think about things like, I don’t know, the birth of Jesus, right? If someone came around today saying the types of things that Jesus said or any other religious prophet or figure, most people would [00:03:30] discount them, right? But because these things, Jesus and others, existed before someone was born, it has a certain amount of weight.
And I definitely see this in startups where a cohort of people will come into an organization, and they accept it almost faith value or at face value what was done prior to their arrival. But everything done since their arrival is subject to [00:04:00] a huge amount of scrutiny and there’s this desire to create consistency with what’s always been there. And I think a danger for companies is that a whole bunch of people get hired or enough people get hired that bring up consistency concerns at every meeting that you create this organization that it’s like this consistency creating machine that everything that’s done is pulled into this [00:04:30]
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