A Superior Product is Not Built from Its Features



It’s built from it’s constraints.

I was flipping through one of my new favorite books, Killing Giants: 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry , when the following line jumped out at me:

A Superior Product is Built from Its Constraints, Not Its Features.

So true, and I see that lesson at play, in multiple ways, every day.

Constraints are the forcing function of innovation.  Constraints are the cornerstones of elegance and simplicity.  Constraints are what flip the competition on its head … a strength becomes a weakness … or … a weakness becomes a strength.

Yes, constraints are the true romping ground of brilliance … by design.

The question then becomes, what constraints are holding you back, and how will you use them to leap frog your way forward?

Photo by Tony the Misfit.


  1. Just like muscle is built from resistance, its the constraints of a product that force innovation and growth.

    Great point!

  2. @ Graham — I like your muscle metaphor.

    @ Chip — I hadn’t thought about that before, but now I see it. Virtues are a way to transcend.

    @ Shailesh — The art of elegance is contraints well-applied.

  3. Hi J.D.

    I hope you are well. What a great point, never thought about it before but makes perfect sense…..sometimes seeing those constraints can be challenging though!

  4. @ Kate — I’m doing well. I hope you are too.

    In my line of work, I end up surrounded by complexity. It’s easy for me to fall into the same trap, so I’ve learned to use constraints to simplify. As a project leader, I’ve also had to deal with constraints in terms of budget or time, which have been great ways to force innovation, focus, and clarity.

  5. Hi JD .. constraints can close us down, ingenuity can open doors and a narrowing economy can provide opportunities who think freely ..

    Happy July 4th .. cheers Hilary

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