Build Icebergs For Sticky Products [2-9-2021]

Build Icebergs For Sticky Products [2-9-2021]

@Dustin McCaffree

I Used 65 New Products in 2 Weeks

I tweeted 2 weeks ago that I would be anybody’s first real, paying customer.

The point was to support creators and help motivate them to continue! I decided to also give feedback for each product I could.

Along the way, I also took notes on what products I would keep and why. The following is the first and most interesting observation from that process.

I Became An Explorer

By trying 65 products that quickly (and paying for as many of them as possible), it genuinely felt like I was learning how to hike or explore more efficiently. I would see a landing page, sign up, use the free version, sign up for paid, use the paid version... And take notes along the way.

There were consistently 2 things that made me want to keep paying for or using a product:

  1. Was the value proposition very clear?
  2. Was the product simple on the surface?

This is why I call sticky products that follow these two things (clear value prop & simple core features) — ICEBERGS.

Examples Of Icebergs

Out of all 65 products I tried, here are the best examples of Iceberg Products that I could find. All of these I have paid for or will pay for as soon as it's available:

1. Alfread

Clear value prop
Simple core features

The value proposition is super clear right on the landing page — instead of just saving articles for later, let us help you get around to actually reading them.

As soon as I signed up (invite only w/ TestFlight right now but worth it), I had content and value. It just uses Instapaper or Pocket like usual for me to collect articles. But then it reminds me to read, lets me set streaks, allows me to "read later" or "archive." Then, if I haven't read them after a month, it'll auto-archive them. Boom 💥

Me after using Alfread for a week
Me after using Alfread for a week

Once I really dove in past the simple core features, I noticed more advanced analytics and tagging of the types of content I was reading. It had been logging all this behind the scenes, just ready for me when I was ready to dive in.

Consensus: A clear iceberg product that delivers pure value, deep features and integrations, but keeps it incredibly simple on the surface. Shoutout to @shkliarau, who is building a really beautiful iceberg. Tell me when I can pay you 🙏

2. Fitmeal

Clear value prop
Simple core features

Fitmeal has one of the shortest landing pages I've seen. It says right on the landing page "Fitmeal is a food diary via SMS. The simplest food tracking app yet." Now, reading that tells me exactly what I'll be doing. Texting a number to log what I eat every day.

Once I signed up, I got a text message telling me to "reply with the last food you ate to get started." I pinned Fitmeal as a conversation in Messages and texted it that I ate a bagel with cream cheese. It sends me back this:


I'm instantly onboarded. I get what the product does, and I see a little dashboard where my food is being logged. Simple, beautiful, and not even too powerful.

Don't get me wrong — this one I'll keep paying for if I were to get a little more than just tagging what food I eat. I'd like more nutrition info built in. That being said, this was a top 3 product experience out of 65, so even though your product is 10x more powerful... I won't be using it. But I'll use this.

Does that ring true to you? I didn't realize how much tight and simple mattered until I tried all these products.

Consensus: Another iceberg product that has nailed the core feature, tip of the iceberg. Adding a few more powerful features that I can dive into when I'm ready will make a winner.

3. ohmydeck!

Clear value prop
Simple core features

I was a skeptic when I saw this idea the first time. The pitch is "make awesome decks by focusing on content." That made sense to me. I've spent 100's of hours perfecting pitch decks in the past when fundraising. It's about 50-50 for me on time spent designing and tweaking layouts vs actually making the content good.

But the how of focusing on content is what matters here. You just write in markdown, and it magically fits itself into slides. Seriously. Here's one I made while just demoing at first:

I just think that is the coolest thing ever. My markdown was so simple for that first slide:

## I love ohmydeck!
Auto-renders websites from links  👉


It just automagically renders a beautiful browser view within the slide, lays out the title and description on the slide just based on what elements exist in my slide's markdown, etc. No work needed. That's it.

Consensus: ohmydeck! nails the core features. @anthonny_q says he's working on adding more themes for the slides, but the pure joy I felt when making my first presentation in markdown will keep me coming back forever.

TL;DR Takeaways

  1. Focus on solving a problem.
  2. Build ONE feature that could start solving the problem. Make it sticky, and nail the user experience for that single feature.
  3. Get feedback early on that one feature.
  4. Build more features that users can then dive into after having their minds blown from your 1st core feature.

What did you think?

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