I came upon a way of managing product where the founder maintains product direction, even at quite a detailed level, without disempowering. It turns out it’s all about cadence of feedback and expectations. Here’s how to do it:
Once you have a PM or two, you likely have multiple areas of the product you pay attention to. For each area of the product, set up a weekly meeting with you, the PM, the lead engineer and the lead designer. Don’t make these too frequent – twice a week at most early on in a product lifecycle. Probably no less than every 2 weeks for a more mature product. In these meetings, you have free reign to give very detailed feedback. You can get quite detailed. But then when the meeting’s over, it’s over. No drive-bys, no random comments. Wait for the next one. The only exception, of course, is if the team proactively comes to you asking for guidance. I’d suggest settings up twice weekly “office hours” as an open forum for these types of questions.