Alao Tope Atop
2 min readDec 31, 2017

Why you should stop being productive in 2018

As we get closer to 2018, a lot of people, especially startup founders and entrepreneurs of all kinds have on their list things like: increase productivity, hire more staffs, and increase revenue e.t.c. What they mean by increasing productivity most times means creating more products.

For many years now, I have been an advocate of creating products that are exciting, products that people will love using. One proxy to this is that I love creating products that have lots of functionalities and also create WOW experience for the end users.

This means I measure level of productivity by the number of products shipped per day. If I ship less products a day, I consider that day not productive.

One incidence happen recently when I visited my cofounder, who is the CTO of offkrent , after working remotely for over a year. My goal is to make sure we are more productive during my stay. So I decided to measure our level of productivity by comparing the number of products we ship during this period to what we have in the past.

And then the moment of truth. With my old definition of productivity, I realized that we are shipping less products per day during this period. So I decided to increase our productivity level by trying to make him work faster on projects.

What we later realized was that this period was better as compared to the time we were working remotely. Because most times, he would have developed and shipped products that might not later be used. But with my presence, we can debate if a product is worth shipping before even trying to design it.

Now he spends less time writing codes, because we spend a lot of time on thinking about new features and drawing plan before writing any code. This is what I call being EFFECTIVE.

If you check the meaning of productivity in any dictionary, you will get something in the line of ‘productivity is having the quality or power of producing esp. in abundance’. But what you need is not to produce more but to produce less products that really matter.

For startups, it is more tempting to confuse productivity with effectiveness. You can be shipping lots of products that are not relevant to your customers. This is why concepts like the the lean startup and others that advice entrepreneurs to put their products in the hands of the end users, as early as possible, before doing any work are very efficient. This is to make sure you don’t waste a lot of precious time designing products that you are going to later delete or once that your users don’t care about.

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Alao Tope Atop

CEO @AMW Nigeria. Providing financial services for average Nigerian