Eigenvectors as a framework for building great product

This is part of an ongoing series of writing to our team at Stagetime.

I heard this great idea that seemed to sum up how I think about decision making inside the product. It’s based on the idea of Eigenvectors.

Eigenvectors are a special set of vectors associated with a linear system of equations.In linear algebra, an eigenvector changes at most by a scalar factor when that linear transformation is applied to it.

Ya, I don’t understand that completely either. Honestly, I could be thinking of this all wrong, but it doesn’t matter because the idea still remains true. Making one decision then answers a ton of other decisions. In other words the answer to one question can solve the answer to many other questions at the same time. There is a cascading result to picking the right question or problem to work on.

In product this happens when we build things that seem to unlock other areas of the product more easily. For example, changing the layout to editor fixes all the other problems with editor. Or fixing aspect ratio on a profile seems to fixes cropping issues, responsive issues, UX issues, and layout issues.

This same framework can apply to general decision making, but I use this mostly for prioritizing product strategy. Yes, it unlocks efficiencies, but more importantly it unlocks the ability to get great product in front of users faster. Asking the right questions is great, but choosing great questions that utilize the principles of eigenvectors is even better.