Why $3.5M Revenue Is Not Enough: A Product Manager’s Perspective

In the world of business, revenue growth is often seen as the ultimate measure of success. Whether it’s a startup or an established company, generating revenue is essential for survival and growth. However, as Mark Stephan, a former Product Manager, discovered, revenue is not the only metric that defines success. In his experience, driving $3.5 million in revenue in just 12 months was impressive, but it wasn’t enough. In this blog post, we’ll explore why revenue growth alone is not sufficient and how product managers can achieve more significant success by focusing on other metrics and strategies.

The Limitations of Revenue

Revenue generation is undoubtedly important. It reflects a company’s ability to attract customers, sell products or services, and generate profit. However, revenue alone does not provide a complete picture of a company’s success. It doesn’t take into account the efforts and strategies implemented to achieve that revenue. Mark Stephan realized this when he raised the revenue of a hundred million dollar company by three and a half percent. While it may seem like a success on the surface, Mark believed it could have been much better.

The main reason for this limitation is that revenue growth focuses solely on the financial aspect of a business. It doesn’t consider the customer’s experience, the product’s market fit, or the long-term sustainability of the revenue stream. Ultimately, revenue is just a number that doesn’t capture the full potential of a product or company.

The Role of Product Management

Product managers play a crucial role in achieving true success beyond revenue growth. They are responsible for understanding the market, identifying customer needs, and developing products that address those needs effectively. However, to do this successfully, product managers need more than just the ability to drive revenue.

One key aspect of product management that goes beyond revenue is user research. Mark Stephan believes that if he had the freedom to conduct user research and gather insights from users, he could have achieved significantly higher revenue growth. User research helps product managers understand the pain points, preferences, and behaviors of their target audience. Armed with this knowledge, they can make informed decisions about product improvements, features, and marketing strategies that resonate with customers and drive revenue.

Another essential metric that product managers should focus on is customer satisfaction. Revenue growth doesn’t necessarily equate to satisfied customers. If customers are not happy with the product or if it doesn’t meet their needs, they are unlikely to become repeat customers or recommend the product to others. By prioritizing customer satisfaction, product managers can cultivate a loyal customer base, increase customer retention, and fuel organic growth through positive word-of-mouth.

Success Beyond Revenue

So, what does success look like beyond revenue growth? For product managers, it means achieving a balance between financial success and customer satisfaction. It requires a deep understanding of the product, the market, and the customers. Success can be measured by metrics such as customer retention, customer lifetime value, and net promoter score.

Furthermore, success extends beyond the financial performance of a single product. Product managers should also focus on the overall success of the company. This includes fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and continuous improvement. By aligning product strategies with the company’s goals and values, product managers can contribute to the long-term success and growth of the organization.


While revenue growth is important, it is not the sole indicator of success for product managers. Mark Stephan’s experience highlights the limitations of revenue as a success metric and emphasizes the need for a more holistic approach. By prioritizing user research, customer satisfaction, and the overall success of the company, product managers can achieve greater success beyond revenue. Ultimately, it is the combination of financial success, customer satisfaction, and company growth that defines true success in the world of product management.

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