Heaving a Hail Mary: Football Lessons for Launching a Product

Josh Z by Good Product Manager

It might not be the most obvious analogy, but football can teach startup founders and technology entrepreneurs quite a bit about launching a product.

launching a product

Like an NFL team with a sputtering offense and a porous defense, many startup and expansion-stage technology companies struggle with the process of launching a product. Inevitably, writes Jeff Lash on his blog How to Be a Good Product Manager, that results in ineffective and costly go-to-market failures that leave those companies with no choice but to heave a Hail Mary.

The problem with that strategy, Lash explains, is that Hail Mary attempts fail about 95 percent of the time. They are last-ditch efforts fueled by desperation more than anything else. So, instead of hurling a Hail Mary, Lash says companies in the process of launching a product should be drawing up a strategy that looks much more like a successful kickoff return, “planning which direction the ball carrier will go based on a number of potential scenarios.” By doing that, the business can strategically plan how it will move down the field as a collective group, “blocking the opposition and giving the ball carrier room to run.”