Creating a product is about two things: making, and marketing.
You cannot spend all your time developing a thing. You have to put it out there: talk with people, gather their feedback, follow up…
Makers are leaders. It is our duty to keep our users in the loop. Transparency and accountability are two mandatory elements to align the interests of a business and its customers. Transparency enables trust, and thus enables healthy relationships. Accountability support transparency in creating strong bonds with people by sharing your progress.
More generally, accountability is the obligation for you to inform your stakeholders of actions and decisions, to justify them, and to suffer punishment in the case of eventual misconduct.
Not only does it creates trust, but it also creates involvement. A product needs lively users actively participating in its growth. Accountability makes you relatable, it creates empathy which more easily translates into involvement.
For makers, accountability is a core value popularized by Pieter Levels. Building a startup in public is a concept that made accountability not only a nice-to-have but a mandatory element of success.
I would even dare to say that accountability has become a lifestyle. Sharing our metrics, our roadmaps, even our personal feelings, has become the new norm. So how do we stay accountable?
An accountable life
It’s important for your mental health to consider two sides to accountability.
A soft accountability toward your loved ones: friends, family, lovers. They might not understand what it is you are doing exactly, but don’t estrange yourself from them.
Practice it regularly. Tell them how you feel. What you want to accomplish. Why it matters.
The life of a maker can be quite selfish sometimes. You have to prioritize your product. You have to prioritize your users. There is no survival without it. Soft accountability helps with easing this daily process.
Hard accountability, on the other hand, is directed towards your users and co-makers. It is non-negotiable and must be taken seriously from day -10.
Ideally, you want to keep everyone updated on both you as a maker and your product.
Next part: Tools to stay accountable