Event

Startup Product Talks: Two Steps to Making Your MVP a Success with Poornima Vijayashanker

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Too often companies spend a lot of time fixated on perfecting their prototype.  After putting in a lot of effort to build it, they launch, but are left wondering why users aren’t using their product!  In this talk I’ll cover the two most critical steps companies overlook, which can save them from wasted efforts and lead them to a successful launch.

Poornima shared her presentation!

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Join us to learn the two most critical steps companies overlook, which can save them from wasted efforts and lead them to a successful launch.

See on www.meetup.com

Listen to Poornima on the Global Product Management Talk:

Listen to internet radio with ProdMgmtTalk on BlogTalkRadio

http://bit.ly/Vn5UtB

#ProdMgmtTalk with Tristan Kromer, Lean Startup Coach

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StartUP Product‘s insight:

Tristan Kromer, Lean Startup Coach, Discusses How To Turn Your Product Team Into A Lean Startup Product Team

 

Listen! http://bit.ly/XRF3qS

Background resources: http://bit.ly/17eexuC
Mark your calendar with the correct time: http://bit.ly/10cs4wi
Follow for reminders: http://bit.ly/nbw9Yr
Curated Content: http://bit.ly/TV4Dsp
Participate! http://bit.ly/eC3D09

See on www.meetup.com

Growth Hacking: The first 1000 customers w/James Kennedy (at Marketo, San Mateo)

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Image 

Startup Product Talks, San Mateo Wednesday, April 17, 2013 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM

RSVP: http://www.meetup.com/StartupProductTalks/events/109359322/

Featured Speaker: James Kennedy, Founder and “growth hacker” at Piehole.tv

It might be easy to scale from 1000 to 5000 customers after you’ve at least established a user base – but how do you get your first 1000 customers – beyond family and friends – who will actually provide valuable feedback, use your product and maybe even pay…

James will share his story as well as the specific steps and unique methods that enabled him and his partner to grow from a small town on the west coast of Europe to a business that now has thousands of customers spread over 9 timezones.

About James Kennedy 

James is Founder and “growth hacker” at Piehole.tv  James has founded a number of bootstrapped, profitable businesses specializing in creating online marketplaces.

He left his native Ireland four years ago and has since been living the life of an ‘international vagabond’ across three continents (Latin America, South Africa and Europe), all while building his business.

He has developed a wealth of experience in the online marketing and customer development space. James has a computer science degree from the University of Dublin.

Twitter: @jameskennedy 
www.jameskennedy.ie 
www.piehole.tv

CallerCRM http://bit.ly/XC7pGF 

Listen to James and Priscilla on the Global Product Management Talk podcast: http://bit.ly/YD8Rrg 

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Thanks to Marketo, our San Mateo location host and food sponsor!

Marketo is hiring! http://marketo.jobs/

Check out open positions http://marketo.jobs/careers.php 

#ProductSF How to Build Great Products: Insights (with images, tweets) · prodmgmttalk

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April 12, 2013 conference in San Francisco presented by Greylock Partners and Samsung Organized by Ty Ahmad-Taylor and Josh Elman. Read the event via crowdsourced collection of content via chronological tweets.

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Included in the chronological collection of tweets, pics and content are write-ups following the event:

See on storify.com

APIs: Opening up Business and Providing Avenues for Growth (with images, tweets) · prodmgmttalk

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See on Scoop.itProdmgmt

April 4, 2013 Silicon Valley Product Management Association (SVPMA) Santa Clara, CA Panel Discussion. (includes additional content provided by speakers)

Global Product Management Talk‘s insight:

What is the API business model?

Its the same as the web biz model –

advertising, selling product, recomendations, satisfaction….

there is NO API biz model (and no santa claus).

If you understand your core biz model – you should wrap your APIs around it = key KPIs

– look for leading indicators, adoption, market share, reach

– Align APIs with that.

See on storify.com

#ProductCampSV @ProductCampSV 6th Annual Product Camp Silicon Valley 3/23/2013 (with images, tweets) · prodmgmttalk

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See on Scoop.itProdmgmt

Sixth Annual Product Camp Silicon Valley March 23, 2013 – curated by @CindyFSolomon @ProdMgmtTalk
Storify sponsored by @AIPMM (to add your content email cindy@prodmgmttalk.com)

Global Product Management Talk‘s insight:

Product camps are a worldwide phenomenon, started by @RichMironov Did you know there’s a huge product management in the SF Bay Area, and worldwide? Crowdsourced from the 6th Annual Product Camp Silicon Valley; pictures of the pre-dinner and event, job postings, tweets, links to presentations, and podcast of Rich on the Global Product Management Talk. Add your content and read what you missed!

See on storify.com

Key Takeaways from the Marketing and Getting Traction Panel at Startup Product Summit SF

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By Michelle Sun

Here are the notes for the Marketing and Getting Traction Section at Startup Product Summit SF. Omissions and errors are mine (please let me know if you find any, thank you!), credit for the wisdom is entirely the speakers’.

Eric Kim
Eric Kim

“Your Product is your Marketing, and You are Your Product” – Eric Kim, Co-Founder & CEO, Twylah

Essential foundations of a personal brand:

    • Thought leadership by expressing yourself around themes you want to be recognized for.
    • Story-telling: Personal brand comes from not just conveying facts but weaving a story.
    • Content-marketing: Convey something of value to your audience. Your content should be educating, inspiring or calling to action.  Identify a segment of audience and project content that’s valuable to that segment.
  • How to cultivate personal brand:
    • Engagement.  Have a conversation around the topics you are interested in.
    • Community.  Allow and encourage interaction and discussion amongst your audience.
    • Custserv: Show the love by being responsive to customer / audience feedback.  Quoted Buffer as a good example of incorporating customer happiness as a core of the product.
  • How to leverage the brand to help or make a business
    • Ask: call to action.
    • Upsell: selling premium content or related services.
    • Downsell: lower barrier by decreasing the length of commitment.
  • Building a brand is about developing relationship. By consistently laying the foundations, it enables the individual to deliver authority, credibility and familiarity
  • How to get content to right people when first starting out.
    • Content/audience fit.  Publish content and people have something to respond to
    • #hashtag on Twitter is a great way to reach out to audience, outside of the followers count
    • Brainstorm by asking questions. What are the three things that define you, that you’re passionate about, that you can create or curate
  • Trustworthiness springs from familiarity and human touch.  An individual’s brand identity is something that builds up and follows him over the course of his life and career.

__________________________________________________________

Mariya Yao
Mariya Yao

“Make Your Numbers Go Up: How to Optimize for Conversion & Retention on Mobile” – Mariya Yao, Founder & Product Strategist, Xanadu Mobile

  • When thinking about optimizing metrics in a product, there is a dichotomy of:
    • Local maxima: am I building the product right?  What should we A/B test?  What platform? How to improve retention?
    • Global maxima: am I building the right product?  Am I in right market?
  • Two strategies in evaluating a global maxima:
    • Benchmarking.  Top down approach that starts with the overall industry landscape.
      • How do mobile users spend their time? What are the fastest growing app categories? What apps have most loyal users? Why do certain apps retain well and how do I use that into my app? What are the most profitable apps segment? Where in the world are smartphones adopted the fastest?
      • What are the trends/opportunities?
      • Where are the danger zones? Why have companies failed there?
      • What can people do on mobile they weren’t able to do before?
      • Why are people loyal to these apps?
    • Behavior. Bottom up approach.
      • Apps are either creating or replacing behavior: A case study on Foursquare and Instagram.
      • Foursquare was creating a new behavior (check-in) that has no prior parallel, which explains the pivot from check-in in 2009 to explore in 2012. When creating a behavior, focus on delivering value or providing strong incentives such as saved money, time or exclusive/perks.
      • In pre-Instagram era, 76% of people were using their phones to take photos. Mariya examined a detailed flow of taking a photo and sharing on facebook, and contrasted it with how Instagram made the process significantly shorter and easier.
  • Are you solving a problem or a nuisance?  A common pitfall in startups is that they are building a company that is solving a nuisance instead of a problem.  When solving a nuisance, in order for such product to succeed, the product needs to be better than the existing solution by magnitudes (eg, everyone complains about Craigslist but in the end tolerates it). A good way to distinguish between problem and nuisance is: Have they [the users] paid for a solution before, or spent a lot of time finding a solution or making a solution themselves]?

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Guillaume Decugis
Guillaume Decugis

“Reach Escape Velocity through Lean Content Marketing” – Guillaume Decugis, Co-Founder & CEO, Scoop.it

  • ”Content marketing is practice of creating content relevant to your brand to gain greater visibility in search results and in social channels” – JD Lasica, Social Meida Biz
  • 4 strategies that lean content has worked for Scoop.it
    • Leverage SlideShare’s natural distribution to share your vision: Despite having a relatively small followers count, Scoop.it’s content on SlideShare has gathered significant views.
    • Guest post to get distribution for your idea. Identify blogs in your niche and segment which are interesting.
    • Answer Quora questions that related to your field.  Answering on Quora is like blogging for a known, existing and savvy audience, who already have questions.
    • Content curation.  Starting point, leverage what you already do (read), express your expertise & develop it, helps you identify original topics for content creation.  If you don’t know what content to create, start with curation.

__________________________________________________________

Leo Wilder
Leo Wilder

“Monetization: How Buffer went from Idea to Revenue in 7 weeks & 50K users in 8 months” 

  • Leo shared three key stories/lessons from building Buffer so far.
    • Validate first, code later.  The story of Joel, cofounder of Buffer, validated his idea of Buffer before writing a line of backend code, by putting up a landing page and testing clicks on sign up and pricing.
    • Working with percentages.  When doing business development and getting press, Leo suggests anchoring expectations with percentages (out of 10 emails, expect ~20-40% response rate), to avoid frustration and improve resilience in mindset.  He talked about the mindset helped him write 350 guest posts in the first 9 months of running Buffer, and getting press every 3 weeks.
    • Experiment with pricing.  He encourages the audience to test frequently pricing plans and points what works for the product, while always be great to existing users.

    buffer

__________________________________________________________

Jameson Detweiler

Jameson Detweiler

“Launching and Getting Users” – Jameson Detweiler, Co-Founder & CEO, LaunchRock

  • Jameson told his journey of first 42 days of running LaunchRock, from StartupWeekend to launching on Day 5, getting on TechCrunch on Day 7 and campaign at SXSW on Day 42.
  • How to effectively launch and get users:
    • Be sexy [ beautifully designed product ], flirtatious [ LaunchRock’s traction is in part thanks to the wait between users’ signing up and the product is ready ], exotic [ build something new and unique ].
    • Be targeted and specific in the value proposition; that makes it easy for people to talk about your brand.
    • Be nice to press: do the related research, and make it easy for the press to write about you.
    • Launch and listen to customer feedback.
    • Be authentic when telling your story.

__________________________________________________________

Notes on other panels:

About The Author

Michelle Sun is a product enthusiast and python developer.  She worked at Bump Technologies as a Product Data Analyst and graduated from the inaugural class of Hackbright Academy. Prior to Hackbright, she founded a mobile loyalty startup. She began her career as an investment research analyst. When she is not busy coding away these days, she enjoys blogging, practicing vinyasa yoga and reading about behavioral psychology. Follow her on Twitter at @michellelsun and her blog.

Key Takeaways from the Roadmapping and Execution Panel at Startup Product Summit SF

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By Michelle Sun

Here are the notes for the Roadmapping and Execution Lightning Talks and Panel at Startup Product Summit SF.  Omissions and errors are mine (please let me know if you find any, thank you!), credit for the wisdom is entirely the speakers’.

“Building a Great Product Through Communication” – Joe Stump, Co-Founder, Sprint.ly

  • Product manager’s role is to capture, communicate and distill product ideas, and mediate between business stakeholders and makers.
  • When building a product, pick two out of the three: quickly, correctly, cheaply.  Joe later mentioned on Twitter that he would pick quickly and correctly, as paying for quality is no brainer.
  • “Want to increase innovation? Lower the cost of failure” – Joi Ito
  • Empower every developer to commit things to the product through non-blocking development (NBD).
  • Advocate the move to 100% asynchronous communication because current approach is broken (needs human input to track reality) and remote teams are becoming more common.

“Raw Agile: Eating Your Own Dog Food” – Nick Muldoon, Agile Program Manager, Twitter

  • Twitter does dog-fooding by allowing developers deploy to internal server. Dog-fooding allows:
    • gathering real data from real (though internal) users.
    • increases incentive to produce quality shipped code.
    • better feedback.  He found that feedback in dog-fooding environment is generally more constructive.
    • keeps momentum through a positive reinforcing loop of continuous deployment and feedback. The team gets 50-100 feedback from internal users each day.
  • How to decipher and sift through the volume of feedback.  Look at only the “love” feedback, then all the “hate”, then discard the middle, categorize and show to the whole team.
  • Other important aspects in dog-fooding:
    1. Automation. Allow deploy more frequently especially internally.  ”On any commit, deploy internally.” Avoid accumulating technical debt.
    2. Visibility. Record progress and share on a wiki.
    3. SpeedMinimize cycle time (from to do to in progress, to done).

Best Practices for Architecting Your App to Ship Fast and Scale Rapidly” – Solomon Hykes, Founder & CEO, dotCloud

  • 3 things to aim for in architecting your app: speed (continuous deployment), scale, future-proofing (be prepared for things moving very fast, avoid bottleneck and need to refactor when adding every new feature).
  • What are the patterns/strategies in getting to these three goals?
    1. Be aware of trade-offs. There is no silver bullet; always trade-offs and prioritization.
    2. Trade-offs evolve over time.  Priorities change. Be aware of assumptions and revisit them from time to time.
    3. Trade-offs differ from team to team.  Be aware of bias in different teams. Always keep ownership of key decisions.
  • Put yourself in a position where you are embarrassed, and things are going to happen faster.

“Rocket Powered Bicycles: Avoiding Over and Under Engineering your Product” – Chris Burnor, Co-Founder & CTO, GroupTie & Curator, StartupDigest

  • A product connects business priorities with user experience.
  • Proposes that instead of Minimum Viable Product (MVP), think about Product: Viable Minimum (PVM).  Focus on viability.
  • A scientific method to approaching product roadmapping.
    • Idea: think about business priorities, user experience.  Do not let technical decisions drive your product.  Let product drive your technical decisions.
    • Test: Viability of the solution is whether it solves the problem it’s setting out to solve.  Determine what level of viability is suitable in different stages: GroupTie’s first viable minimum was a keynote presentation that was sent to potential customers.
      Scale of tests will vary.  Lack of big tests means the lack of breakout growth/ideas, lack of small tests means the team is doing too much.
    • Conclusion:  Debriefing phase is vital, share test results with the team and learn what it means to the idea. Testing without debriefing is like “talking without listening” in a conversation.
  • An unusual example of a PVM is Apple.  Product first: cares about user experience and business priorities.  Viability second: it just works.  Minimalism third: wait till a technology is ripe before adding to the product (no LTE for a long time, no RFID).

Notes on other panels:

About The Author

Michelle Sun is a product enthusiast and python developer.  She worked at Bump Technologies as a Product Data Analyst and graduated from the inaugural class of Hackbright Academy. Prior to Hackbright, she founded a mobile loyalty startup. She began her career as an investment research analyst. When she is not busy coding away these days, she enjoys blogging, practicing vinyasa yoga and reading about behavioral psychology. Follow her on Twitter at @michellelsun and her blog.

Key Takeaways from the Design Thinking and Rapid Prototyping Panel at Startup Product Summit SF

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By Michelle Sun

I had the privilege to attend the first Startup Product Summit in SF on Feb 7, 2013. It was a great lineup of speakers and a full room of buzzing energy and great conversation.  Without further adieu, I’d like to share some key learnings of each panel.

Please let me know if I omitted or made any errors in the references. Credit for the good stuff is entirely the speakers’ (link to twitter handles are included on each name).

Turning Mediocre Products into Awesome Products” – Jonathan Smiley, Partner & Design Lead, ZURB

  • Ideation and iteration can ”turn mediocre products into awesome products”.
  • Discussed a full spectrum of research from market-driven (focus group, survey) to user-driven (remote teaching, usability teaching)
  • Importance of sketching, a lot, aim for speed and volume, then critique
  • Advice to the audience: ”do 10 more sketches ( more ideation is always better ), build 1 more prototype, get 1 more round of feedback, ask 5 more customers”

“Being a UX Team of One” – Vince Baskerville, Product, Lithium & Co-Founder, TripLingo

1. Internal politics is a common challenge as a UX team/professional.  Learn to manage expectation of different internal stakeholders and keep everyone in the loop.

2. Don’t listen to what customers are saying.  Users’ claims are often unreliable.  See what they are doing.  Understand the underlying issue.

“Validate Your MVP on Paper” – Poornima Vijayashanker, Founder & CEO, BizeeBee & Femgineer

– 2 Reasons MVP Fail
1. Fail to figure out how to provide a simple value proposition that differentiates your product from your competition
2. Fail to figure out who their early adopter are.

– Early adopters are people who aren’t using the competitor’s product. Don’t want to take time to switch over.

– Steps on usability testing

  1. Explain the problem. What you are testing. How they are helping. Get them excited about the idea.
  2. Set expectations. Make them comfortable.
  3. Communicate intention (what exactly are you testing and specific feedback you are looking for).
  4. Thank them for their time. Follow up regularly.

Poornima’s slides are available here.

“Everyone’s Customers Are Wrong” – Evan Hamilton, Head of Community, UserVoice

  • Data doesn’t tell the whole story.  Analytics are bandaids because we can’t watch our customers.
  • People don’t tell the whole story.  Identify who the users are, where the feedback are from.  Are they: paying/freeloaders? Using product in the intended way? Using main features? Early adopters / ‘tech fanatics’ (who are not likely to stay on a product for the long haul)?
  • Combine data and customer stories.  Customer feedback / feature suggestion usually leads from a deeper issue.  Find out what the actual problem is by understanding the underlying need.
  • Don’t lose track of your creative mind by getting lost in data rat-hole.  Don’t chase 1% when you can get 15%.  Not just A/B, but try something crazy.  Try big bold things along with incremental fine-tunes.

“Designing for Everyone: The Craft of Picking or Killing a Concept” –Miki Setlur, Product Designer, Evernote

  • Everyone use product in many different ways.  A useful strategy is to segment users into business, partners (e.g., app stores for Evernote’s case) and users.
  • Figure out what each segment cares the most about: Business / Partners – acquisition, retention, engagement, revenue.  Users – being faster, better, happier.
  • Case study on how Evenote’s design process stroke balance between business goals (monetizing) while being sensitive to user experience and goals (finding things faster).

Other relevant points 

How to access willingness to pay during pre-product interviews.  Get the first dollar within the trial period.  Provide clear value proposition from the get-go.

How to get good feedback.  Be specific in what feedback are you looking for.  Instead of asking in general ‘what do you think of the prototype’, ask whether they are confused on what stage, what was confusing.

Tips on prototyping. Put more emphasis on story telling than illustrating.
For remote testing, use keynote as prototyping tool, screencast the keynote.

On the tension between product vs. business goals in roadmapping a product.  Early stage products make sense to focus on product.  Once reached product market fit, it makes sense to lead with business goals such as, acquiring, converting, retention customers.
Also mentioned was a tool called Impact Mapping.

Read on:

About The Author

Michelle Sun is a product enthusiast and python developer.  She worked at Bump Technologies as a Product Data Analyst and graduated from the inaugural class of Hackbright Academy. Prior to Hackbright, she founded a mobile loyalty startup. She began her career as an investment research analyst. When she is not busy coding away these days, she enjoys blogging, practicing vinyasa yoga and reading about behavioral psychology. Follow her on Twitter at @michellelsun and her blog.