Product Development

How to Figure Out Your Customer Segment and Price Your Product

By Poornima Vijayashanker Our customers don’t always turn out to be the people we initially think will benefit from our product. Too often prospective customers either think they don’t need the product, don’t want to pay for it, or are just happy with a competitor’s solution and unwilling to switch! Dig a little deeper… It’s important to classify needs of prospective customers into the the following groups: Latent need: have a problem and know they have a problem. Active need: they are actively searching for a ... Read more

The Benefit of Listening to Your Customers Before You Launch

By Poornima Vijayashanker It's easy to get caught up in our idea and think it's either amazing or terrible. But honestly it doesn't matter what think. It all boils down to how our prospective customers perceive our idea, and that's why it's important to solicit feedback early on! The following video segment is the second, in a series, with Ben Congleton, CEO & Founder of Olark, and myself on the topic: How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products. In this video segment, Ben and I  share how we each solicited ... Read more

Can’t go all in on an idea? Start with a side project!

By Poornima Vijayashanker We often think that to build a product, we have to drop everything that we’re doing, and just focus on building! While some people might have an abundance of time and resources to  go all in, it’s often not possible for most of us. Financial and social commitments can compete with getting a product idea off the ground. The good news is that you don’t need to give up your day job, you can start with a side project! The following video ... Read more

7 Lessons After 7 Months in Silicon Valley

By Frances Advincula 2014 has been a crazy whirlwind. I left my job in Corporate America on the East Coast, moved across the country, joined an early stage startup, shipped product, moved from SF to Palo Alto (the movers know me by name), and now I’m starting grad school back up again part-time, whew! As I started packing for my trip home to visit my parents for the holidays, I couldn't help but stop and reflect at what my first 7 months in ... Read more

No One Likes a Creep

  By Poornima Vijayashanker Two weeks ago I talked about dealing with deadlines that are doomed, and I talked about how to create more realistic deadlines before committing to a project. A number of readers wrote in asking, “What if I’ve already got a project and I’m going to miss my deadline?” In exchanging emails with readers, I identified that the most popular reason people were going to miss a deadline was because of scope creep. Some of you might already be familiar with ... Read more

How a Non-Technical Founder Recruited Her Technical Co-Founder

Interview with Melody McCloskey, CEO and co-founder of StyleSeat  By Poornima Vijayashanker Today we sit down with Melody McCloskey to talk about how she started StyleSeat. Melody dropped out of her high school C++ programming class, but she knew how to manage developers, and she worked closely with one to create a product prototype. This prototype, paired with her research and vision, helped her recruit her technical co-founder, Dan Levine. Learn how her early product traction, market research, and passion for the idea ... Read more

From Learning to Code, to Building a Prototype, and then Getting it Funded

Interview with Alyssa Ravasio, CEO and Founder of Hipcamp By Poornima Vijayashanker Alyssa Ravasio loved the outdoors and was fed up with the outdated campsite reservation systems in California. She set out to fix the problem, and since she had a non-technical background, her first line of business was to learn how to code. She took classes at Dev Bootcamp, which enabled her to build a prototype while she was a scholarship student in my Lean Product Development Course. She launched the prototype ... Read more

Dealing With Deadlines That Are Doomed

By Poornima Vijayashanker As we get close to the end of the year, we get pulled in a number of directions, both personally and professionally. This can of course induce a case of I just don’t wanna. And we’ve probably committed ourselves to deadlines, only to discover that we probably won’t meet them. Instead of just coming right out and saying the obvious, “This deadline is unrealistic, and then providing reasons.” We put in longer and longer hours. In some cases we meet the ... Read more

Bootstrapping a Startup to a $100M Exit Outside Silicon Valley

 Interview with David Cummings, CEO and Co-founder of Pardot By Poornima Vijayashanker David Cummings started a business in college and used it as a test subject, as well as a funding source, for his next company, Pardot. He built an MVP in 45 days, but customers didn’t want it. Learn how David used this early feedback to pivot, hire a great first sales rep, and grow the company into a multimillion-dollar business that was acquired by ExactTarget, then Salesforce—all outside of Silicon Valley. Pardot ... Read more

Strategies for Successfully Self-Publishing Your First Book

By Poornima Vijayashanker It’s officially 2 months since I launched my first book,P How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products! The book took me nearly 6 months to write, edit, and print. Many folks have written in asking me what it was like to produce a book, and I most recently sat down with Sarah Barbour, an editor, to share my experience writing and self-publishing the book. I was pretty green to book publishing. But I was eager to get the book out the ... Read more
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