The 1% Trap: Product Managers, Stop Building Features Just for Your Power Users!

The 1% Trap: Product Managers, Stop Building Features Just for Your Power Users!

It’s a sad state of affairs when you dig into app metrics.

A quarter of all mobile apps are only used once – and 85% of us use 5 apps regularly.

Think about your own day, how many apps do you use and how many have you tried once and then never opened again?

Although these are Mobile App statistics, other consumer products or freemium/free-trial B2B SaaS products aren’t that much better.

As Product Managers, we often over-prioritize for Power Users. Power Users are those users who love our product and use it more than the organic pattern of usage.

users in each category


If you are a PM for a Grocery product, the organic pattern for shopping groceries for most people is once a week or every two weeks.

Your power users would be shopping more than that. This applies to B2B products, as well.

It’s usually the fanatics of your product who’d jump at every opportunity to connect and give you feedback. They’ll read your release notes and try every little workflow improvement that’s been shipped!


Why do PMs fall into the 1% Trap?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of over-prioritizing for the top 1% because as Product people, we are passionate about our product and love to solve challenging problems.

This is especially true in B2B products where PM’s often resort to solving the most complex workflows, just because they keep hearing about those issues from the Power Users.

Why does the 1% Trap matter?

The truth is, most of your users will never use your most complex workflows. You’ve lost them at hello.

Moe Ali CEO founder Product Faculty


By continuing to solve problems for the 1%, you are abandoning the 99% that will never even get that far.

Even if you work on a B2B Product that has a large ARR contract ($100K ~ $1M+ / year), the distribution of usage between users in 1 account looks similar to the distribution above.

It’s as if you made a stocking decision in your grocery store based on 1% of your customers.

What should you do about it?

When you get customer feedback about something in your product, ask the following questions:

  • how many other users are experiencing this?
  • Is this a 1% feature?
  • Are the other features up the funnel that can unlock more growth for your product?
  • Are there other areas that you can tackle that can get more users to become Power Users?

Tackling Activation can usually lead to some of the highest gains in Product adoption.

Your marketing teams will tell you how hard it is to get anyone to even notice your product.

After noticing it, they’ve taken the leap to give it a shot, and you should do whatever it takes to make sure that your activation process is exceptional. Your goal is to get your users to experience the usefulness of your product (the “aha moment”) as quickly as possible.

I’m not suggesting you should ignore your Power Users; after all, they are your biggest fans. Just don’t over-prioritize them at the cost of the 99%.

About the author


Moe Ali is the CEO and founder of Product Faculty, an Advanced Product Management class for Product Managers looking to gain confidence in their craft and accelerate their careers.

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