Live Broadcast: Stephanie Geerlings On Scaling Teams And Startups

Posted on Updated on

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


Background resources:
Follow for reminders:
Curated Content:
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.


What is #ProdMgmtTalk?
Join Global Product Management Talk!
Never participated in a twitter chat? FAQs
Learn How to participate in Socratic Twitter Talk via Global Prod Mgmt Talk

Learn about Tweeting Best Practices and Twitter Talk FAQs
Want to reach target audience of Product Professionals? Sponsor Global Product Management Talk!

Our format: we post questions Q1, Q2, Q3 Please answer using A1, A2, A3

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

Q1 What other projects are you working on?
Q2 What is your dream job?
Q3 Who are your favorite leaders?
Q4 How do you inspire people?
Q5 Who inspires you?


About Global Product Management Talk

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

Global Product Management Talk:
Converse with us on twitter Follow @ProdMgmtTalk Hashtag #ProdMgmtTalk
Follow Us on BlogTalkRadio
Listen on iTunes
Android App
Twitter @ProdMgmtTalk

Global map of product camps:

Brought to you this week by:

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
subscribe to mailing list:

Thanks to our broadcast sponsor: @Sprintly
This episode of the Global Product Management Talk brought to you by Don’t ask how it’s going; watch how it’s going with You can find them on the web at sprint dot ly. is project management software that brings in the entire corporation to the software development process by showing managers and non-engineers a top-level view of what the programmers are doing.
———————————— – Boosting People and Product Performance. Subscribe to their newsletter, read popular brainrants, learn about their consulting and mentoring approach to forward your product management career and methods.

Sponsumo solves the headaches of managing conferences and other events, and allows you to focus on relationships and sales. Sign up for a trial account at

Music courtesy of @BlameSally available at

Broadcast recorded live at Studio132 by BZLewis
Specifications are subject to change, without notice. While due caution has been exercised in the production of this document, possible errors and omissions are unintentional.

Why Founders Fail: The Product CEO Paradox | TechCrunch

Posted on Updated on

This happens all the time. A founder develops a breakthrough idea and starts a company to build it.

StartUP Product‘s insight:

By Ben Horowitz

Co-founder and partner ofAndreessen Horowitz

Quoting Ben’s points:

3 Main Reasons Founders fail to run the companies they created:

  1. founder doesn’t really want to be CEO
  2. board sees CEO making mistakes, panics and replaces them prematurely
  3. Many founders run smack into the Product CEO Paradox
Product CEO Paradox
Problem: CEO was only world-class at the product, so they effectively transformed themself from an excellent, product-oriented CEO into a crappy, general-purpose CEO
Prevention: great product-oriented founder/CEOs stay involved in the product throughout their careers

Product-oriented CEO’s essential involvement consists of at least the following activities:

  • Keep and drive the product vision
  • Maintain the quality standard
  • Be the integrator
  • Make people consider the data they don’t have
How do you back off gracefully in general without backing off at all in some areas?
  • formally structure your product involvement, i.e. transition from your intimately involved motion to a process that enables you to make your contribution without disempowering your team
  • Write it; don’t say it.
  • Formalize and attend product reviews
  • Don’t communicate direction outside of your formal mechanisms

See on

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

Posted on Updated on


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.

See on

The critical metrics for each stage of your SaaS business (Guest post by Lars Lofgren of KISSmetrics)

Posted on Updated on

My friend Lars is a product marketer at KISSmetrics and loves helping SaaS businesses understand how their business is growing. He writes regularly for the KISSmetrics blog and his personal market…


StartUP Product‘s insight:


– Before Product/Market Fit

Metric #1: Qualitative Feedback

Metric #2: Measuring Product/Market Fit


– Beginning to Scale

Metric #1: Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

Metric #2: Churn


– Expansion

Metric #1: Lifetime Value (LTV)

Metric #2: Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)


There’s little reason to track a random engagement metric if you don’t know what your MRR or churn is.

See on

Summary of Startup Genome Report Extra: Premature Scaling – Compass

Posted on Updated on

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Dominant cause of failure: premature scaling.

Startups progress along 5 core interdependent dimensions: Customers, Product, Team, Business Model and Financials.

The art of high growth entrepreneurship is to master the chaos of getting each of these 5 dimensions to move in time and concert with one another. Most startup failures can be explained by one or more of these dimensions falling out of tune with the others. If a startup shows signs of premature scaling on any of the five dimensions we refer to it as inconsistent.

Consistent Startups scale properly 

  • grow about 20 times faster than startups that scale prematurely
  • team size 38% bigger at the initial scale stage than prematurely scaled startups
  • take 76% longer to scale to their team size than startups that scale prematurely.
  • In discovery phase, 80% of consistent startups focus on discovering a problem space

Inconsistent startups

  • monetize 0.5 to 3 times as many of their customers early on
  • show signs of premature scaling
  • 74% of high growth internet startups fail due to premature scaling
  • don’t pass 100K customers
  • 93% of startups that scale prematurely never break the $100k revenue per month threshold.
  • valued twice as much as consistent startup and raise about three times as much money Before scaling
  • team size 3 times bigger
  • 2.3 times more likely to spend more than one standard deviation above the average on customer acquisition.
  • write 3.4 times more lines of code in the discovery phase and 2.25 times more code in efficiency stage.
  • outsource 4-5 times as much of their product development than consistent startups.
  • In discovery phase 60% of inconsistent startups focus on validating a product
  • In validation phase, 2.2 times more likely to be focused on streamlining the product and making their customer acquisition process more efficient

The following attributes have no influence on whether a company is more likely to scale prematurely:

  • market size,
  • product release cycles,
  • education levels,
  • gender,
  • time that cofounders knew each other,
  • entrepreneurial experience,
  • age,
  • number of products,
  • type of tools to track metrics and location.

See on

5 things that Eric Ries never meant

Posted on Updated on

5 things which Eric Ries never meant in his book The Lean Startup 1. Build a quick and dirty minimum quality product to test with your users: The Lean Startup book gives a simple rule, “Remove any …

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Great points by Vivek Vijayan:

Eric Ries never intended his book The Lean Startup to encourage misinterpretation such as:

1. dilute quality

2. skip planning

3. MVP equals sub-optimal product

4. successful experiments automatically scale

5. success is guaranteed with enough pivoting

See on

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

Posted on Updated on

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,

  • 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.