Stephanie Geerlings, Builder, Hacker, Entrepreneur, Product Manager, and Prime Minister At Cloud City Development Discusses Scaling Startup Teams And Companies On The Global Product Management Talk Podcast
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Stephanie Geerlings, Builder, Hacker, Entrepreneur, Product Manager, and Prime Minister At Cloud City Development Discusses Scaling Startup Teams And Companies
At companies that need to scale people there are a few components to take into account; 1. Prove that you are as useful an organization to them as they are to you. 2. Do meaningful work and start an initiative that people want to be a part of. 3. Appreciate people, yourself, and the huge power that your company can grow to be.
Stephanie Geerlings, Builder, Hacker, Entrepreneur, Product Manager, and Prime Minister for Cloud City Development, has grown companies from $3k-3M+ and teams from 3-50. She’s built software, hardware, large steel machine sculptures, and has done 3-D, print, and web design and branding for Fortune 500s. Stephanie’s values are core to how she works. She’s overly honest, cares about intention, and believes in people. “Our work is to solve problems. Problems get solved—by thinking it through and applying best practices in a flexible way. Not all clients’ requirements are the same. We design and engineer the solution.”
Stephanie Geerlings joins host, Cindy F. Solomon, on Monday, August 12, 2013
About Stephanie Geerlings
Stephanie Geerlings, Builder, Hacker, Entrepreneur, Product Manager, and Prime Minister for Cloud City Development, has worked in technology & design for 10 years and believes that good engineering and design should be done with artistic and scientific methods. She strives to be whole-minded, collaborative, and flexible. She knows how to respect multiple viewpoints, communicate with various stakeholders, and execute on both exciting and mundane tasks. Stephanie has grown companies from $3k-3M+ and teams from 3-50. She’s built software, hardware, large steel machine sculptures, and has done 3-D, print, and web design and branding for Fortune 500s. Because of her background on various quickly moving projects she used to claim that the startup life was the easiest she’s ever experienced. Stephanie’s values are core to how she works. She’s overly honest, cares about intention, and believes in people. “Our work is to solve problems. Problems get solved—by thinking it through and applying best practices in a flexible way. Not all clients requirements are the same. We design and engineer the solution.”
About Cloud City
Cloud City Development is a full-service digital product consultancy. We follow modern software development best practices while crafting a solution for your specific needs. Our designers and fullstack Rails developers each have 5-13 years of experience building great software for the web. We are at your service for product development, team augmentation, scaling, MVPs, and CTO consulting.
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The Global Product Management Talk is a discussion of vital issues affecting professionals passionate about products, business process, product management, startups, marketing, innovation and excellence. A top 10 business podcast on the BlogTalkRadio network hosted by Cindy F. Solomon, CPM, CPMM for passionate product professionals and business owners who want to teach, learn & network about what it takes to produce successful products in an open digital environment inviting live participation. The transcript of Tweets and podcast are available following the event for on-demand consumption on the web, iTunes, Google Play and mobile devices. Get reminders and listen live by following http://www.blogtalkradio.com/prodmgmttalk
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Stephanie is speaking at the Startup Product Summit SF2, part of Product Weekend San Francisco. Register today to get best price for Startup Product Summit SF2 October 11, 2013 http://bit.ly/11fNVcU
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User Research, Rapid Prototyping, Emotion Recognition in an Agile world Rapid Prototyping and agile research are important, but how does one go about doing both?
Derek Carter, CTO, YouEye Discusses User Research, Rapid Prototyping, Emotion Recognition In An Agile World
Entrepreneurs recognize that whether you’re building a minimum viable product, new feature iteration or redesigning marketing pages, its important to test and test often. With valuable feedback, product managers can redefine the product’s priorities and roadmap, and bring those insights to the teams building the product. For everyone in the midst of bringing amazing products to market, how should you prioritize user research and user testing as you try to accomplish your end goal? Rapid Prototyping and agile research are important, but how does one go about doing both?
Participants are welcome to listen live at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/prodmgmttalk, call in to talk on the show (323) 927-2957 and to participate on Twitter by following @ProdMgmtTalk and tweeting using the hashtag #ProdMgmttalk
NOTE: DAY & TIME
Monday, June 3, 2013 at the simultaneous times of 10:00 AM Pacific Time, 11:00 AM MST Denver, 12:00 Noon CST Chicago, and 1:00 PM EST Boston.
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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’.
- 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:
- Automation. Allow deploy more frequently especially internally. ”On any commit, deploy internally.” Avoid accumulating technical debt.
- Visibility. Record progress and share on a wiki.
- Speed. Minimize 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?
- Be aware of trade-offs. There is no silver bullet; always trade-offs and prioritization.
- Trade-offs evolve over time. Priorities change. Be aware of assumptions and revisit them from time to time.
- 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.