Product Manager

Pricing Experiments You Might Not Know, But Can Learn From

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At the August 14 Startup Product Talks SFBay meetup, Teresa Torres, VP Product at AfterCollege, discussed critical insights derived from cognitive reasoning and brain science research during her presentation on How To Make Better Product Decisions During the Q&A, there was a discussion around pricing issues.

Colin Whooten posted:

“Great conversation last night, thank you everyone! Here is an excellent article on pricing that I thought many would find interesting, it provides a high level summary of a lot of different surprising observations and links to where you can learn more.”

StartUP Product‘s insight:

By Peep Laja

Asking people what they’d pay for and how much rarely works;

1. people will tell you what they WANT to pay—which is obviously much less than what your product or service is actually WORTH.

2. what people say and what people do are very different things.

3. people really don’t know how much things are worth or what’s a fair price

4. People have trouble comparing different options 

Dan Ariely’s book Predictably IrrationalThe Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions and TedTalk: Are We In Control Of Our Own Decisions?

5. In our minds, physical magnitude is related to numerical magnitude.

6. Nothing is cheap or expensive by itself, but compared to something.


1. What’s the best way to sell a $2000 wristwatch? Right next to a $12,000 watch.

2. Start throwing out high numbers. Add some very expensive products to the selection (that you don’t even intend to sell).

3. If the final price of your service / product is a result of negotiations, start high.

4. If you’re competing on price, state how much others are charging before revealing your price.

Pricing Approaches

Pricing Perceptions

If you want to charge more than the market average, look at the competition: how they package their offering; what’s the user experience like, and change that.

If you look like a new category, people are more likely to pay up.

On the other hand, if you can profitably sell something much cheaper than the other guys, great. Use their pricing as the reference point and you’ll win.

Consider more than price

When customers consider “what something costs”, they’re actually measuring three main drivers:
1. money (cost),
2. time  (how long will it take to learn?)  and
3. mental energy(how much do I have to think about this?)

About The Author

Peep Laja is an entrepreneur and conversion optimization expert. He’s been doing digital marketing for 10+ years in Europe, Middle East, Central America and the US. He has extensive experience across verticals: in the past he’s run a software company in Europe, an SEO agency in Panama, real estate portal in Dubai and worked for an international non-profit. Today he runs a conversion optimization agency Markitekt.

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Live Broadcast: Stephanie Geerlings On Scaling Teams And Startups

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Stephanie Geerlings

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

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Platinum Sponsor: AIPMM
AIPMM Membership benefits include the national Product Management Educational Conference, regional conferences, the Career Center, peer Forums, tools, templates, publications and eligibility to enroll in the Certification Programs. The Agile Certified Product Manager® (ACPM), Certified Product Manager® (CPM), Certified Product Marketing Manager® (CPMM), Certified Brand Manager® (CBM), and Certified Innovation Leader (CIL) programs allow individual members to demonstrate their level of expertise and provide corporate members an assurance that their product professionals are operating at peak performance.
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
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How To Make Better Product Decisions

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The remarkable thing about your mental life is that you are rarely ever stumped.”  – Daniel Kahneman It’s Thursday morning. You settle into your office chair, you crack open your laptop, you take a…

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Great posting from Product Talk by Teresa Torres!

Teresa discussed this in person over great beer and refreshments on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 Startup Product Talks meetup at Atlassian

[View the story “#StartupProduct: How To Make Better Product Decisions” on Storify]

Teresa is also speaking on Friday, October 11, 2013 Startup Product Summit SF2! Register today for best price!

Startup Product Summit SF2 is one event during Product Weekend San Francisco, starting with trainings on Thursday, Summit on Friday followed by AfterParty, then Product Camp San Francisco on Saturday all at historic Broadway Studios! Follow blog to stay updated at

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Lean startups should “pivot” on product and strategy, but not on passion – Chris Hoogewerff

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Some entrepreneurs and builders are driven by the prosp […]

StartUP Product‘s insight:

We’ve learned a lot about creating great products from the Lean movement, not surprisingly in the ‘measure’ and ‘learn’ steps of the ‘Build, measure, learn’ cycle.  In this thoughtful article, Chris Hoogewerff proposes a 4th step.  He argues convincingly that it’s vital to maintain passion even after major pivots, and when we pivot to something that departs too much from that “thing” that compelled us to create our startup, we may be in trouble.  To paraphrase, the litmus test could come in the form of a ‘Visualize’ step where we ask ourselves, ‘Do I love this new product and will I be fanatical about serving the people that will use it?’

Join us October 11, 2013 for Startup Product Summit SF2 to connect with lots of others that are passionate about product.  Register:

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Coffee, Pastries and Product Talk

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One of the best meetups that I regularly attend is the Product Manager Breakfast that is organized by the wonderful people at UserVoice. Product Manager Breakfast is a relaxed conversation between Product Manager peers. The goal of the meetup is to provide a safe place where PMs can vent, trade tips, and discuss the challenges and opportunities of the role.

This month, the topic was “PM Vs. Salesbro”. This was a highly demanded topic that kept coming up at previous breakfasts. Sales teams are often asking PMs for things in order to close deals. How do you know when to pay attention? What if they are a current customer? What if the customer is guaranteeing you a lot of money?

We talked for a full hour, each PM sharing personal experience and horror stories from the past. We all came to an agreement that product management and sales are both aimed at increasing revenue and achieving the company’s mission. PMs need to get involved with the prospect/customer conversation to validate if a new feature request is a universal need. You can’t be afraid to say no. Savvy product managers realize that their job is to try to please the greatest number of on-strategy customers and prospects as possible given the available resources. If sales fail, then product management is failing.

It’s important to clearly define the product roadmap and mission of the company and to make them known throughout the organization. Share the process of bringing a product to life with your customer/product. Make sure your sales team knows when a new feature would be bumping another potential revenue generating feature.

The opportunity to interact with other PMs in person is priceless. They understand your day to day life and can even provide solutions to challenges that you are blocked on. With that face-to-face sharing in mind, I hope to see you all at the Startup Product Summit SF2!


Editor’s Note:  Evan Hamilton, Head of Community at UserVoice and an organizer of the Product Manager Breakfast meetup, spoke at February’s Startup Product Summit.  His talk, Everyone’s Customers are Wrong & Their Data is Lying, was a big hit.  Check it out for a taste of the kind of awesome talks we’ll have at Summit SF2!

This is a guest post by Brittany Martin, a product marketing manager and recent transplant to the Bay Area from Pittsburgh, PA.  Prior to joining us in California, Brittany was a curator of StartupDigest, Pittsburgh.  She just began a new gig at ReadyForce, and is thrilled to be on their team and on ours.  Follow her @BrittJMartin and read her new blog, San Francisco via Pittsburgh.

Be Prepared To Be Wrong

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As startup founders, product managers, designers, it’s often easy for us to come up with all the answers. Should we add this feature? Will users take this action? Will changing this copy increase c…

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Teresa Torres shares 4 brief, but powerful explanations about how and why we so easily convince ourselves we’re right, when often we really aren’t. The keys to overcoming things like confirmation bias are awareness and honesty.

“It’s way too easy to look back and decide that what happened is exactly what you expected to happen. It’s much harder to be honest with yourself and realize that what you are building may not be working.  But the faster we become aware something might not be working, the faster we can correct course and try again.”

Perspectives like the one Teresa shares in this post are one reason we’re excited to have her as a speaker at Startup Product Summit SF2, Oct. 11, 2013.  Sign up now for advance registration pricing that is $200 off the full price!

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Product Strategy Means Saying No | Inside Intercom

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StartUP Product‘s insight:

When selecting features, identifying bad ideas and killing them isn’t the hard part.  Identifying good or even great ideas and still saying ‘no’ because they’re not the right fit for the product is.

Check out this amusing and practical article, with 12 arguments you’ll find you have to defend against as a product manager.  My personal favorite:  But it’ll only take a few minutes.

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Startup Professionals Musings: 5 Rules of Relevance Every Startup Needs to Adopt

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by Marty Zwilling

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Great companies recognize that there are now multiple interdependent stakeholders, including customers, business partners, and social groups, who need to be part of your equation since they can drive or limit your success, in addition to management and stockholders.

…strengths of the management team or a sustainable competitive advantage…may not be sufficient to make your startup the great success embodied in your vision.

…renewed focus on other less tangible attributes which can set your startup apart.

…multiple other relevant priorities, and the other intangibles required for a great execution.
Great From The Start: How Conscious Corporations Attract Success ,” by John B. Montgomery, does a great job of laying out specifics.
Five rules of relevancy by Mark Zawacki
  1. be relevant and stay relevant
  2. find a voice relevant to the ecosystem
  3. gain balanced traction
  4. form partnerships and alliances within the ecosystem
  5. maintain a relevant laser focus
…your startup needs to be a “conscious” entity, constantly aware of the complex eco-system around it, and the factors driving change and evolution.
This requires conscious leaders who are passionately committed to personal and professional growth, as well as the greater good of society. These leaders then cultivate the consciousness of their team members.

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Alicia Dixon, Mobile Product Manager

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Alicia says, “Participating in as an audience member of the Global Product Management Talk over the last several years has been beneficial in helping me develop as a Product Manager.

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Alicia Dixon, Mobile Product Manager will join host, Cindy F. Solomon, on Monday, June 24, 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.



Participants are welcome to listen live at, call in to talk on the show (323) 927-2957 and to participate on Twitter by following @ProdMgmtTalk and tweeting using the hashtag #ProdMgmttalk


Questions for Discussion:
PreQ: Please introduce yourself, where you are tweeting from & your involvement with #prodmgmt #prodmgmttalk

Q1 How did you become a Product Manager?

Q2 What advice do you have for someone who is not currently working in Product Management but wants to get into a Product Manager role?

Q3 What is the best thing about Product Management?  What is the worst?

Q4 Are there any particular books that you would suggest new and aspiring PM’s read?

Q5 What tips do you have for new Product Managers to help them do their jobs effectively?

Q6 What was your biggest mistake as a Product Manager?

Q7 What are your thoughts on the Product Management certifications?

Q8 What fun things have you been working on lately?

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Rethinking startup a ‘pivotal’ experience

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It requires emotional detachment yet total passion. It might involve killing a business in order to save it. It’s by turns agonizing, rewarding, humbling and empowering.


StartUP Product‘s insight:
  1. pivoting means doing something differently, often under time constraints as cash and investor patience dwindle.
  2. A pivot could involve changing a product to reach the same target market, going after a different market with the same product or preserving a small piece of existing technology to form an entirely different business.
  3. data will tell you what’s not working, but it doesn’t tell you what to do instead
  4. Some startups go through multiple transformations. Sometimes the proper course of action is to shut down a startup instead of attempting another pivot
“If you’ve invested in a business, it’s hard to kill it. That’s the hardest part of what we do. You’d rather pivot and take advantage of some of your sunk costs, but every once in a while, you realize this is a business that’s not good for us.”

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