Product Development

How Mattermark is Creating Market Intelligence for the Startup Community

By Poornima Vijayashanker We know that funding is critical for the life of a startup, and founders can opt to bootstrap or raise capital from VCs. Many do both as we saw in episode 8 when I interviewed Melody McCloskey. Then in episode 9, I spoke to Shruti Gandhi, the founding and managing partner at Array VC, a fund that invests in early stage startups. Shruti shared with us the different ways investors can help a company grow, plus tips for dealing ... Read more

A Work in Progress

By Poornima Vijayashanker I took the picture above while I was touring the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona last month. The famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi took over the project in 1883, and transformed it into his own architectural and engineering style. Gaudi continued to work on the church until his death, but to this day the church is incomplete. Many factors have contributed to the delay of its completion such as the Spanish Civil War in the 1950s and finding sources of ... Read more

The Art vs Science of User Experience Design

By Poornima Vijayashanker You might have used products that just get the job done. (Think Excel.) They compete with similar products on features, cost, and other mechanics. The problem is, these products become commodities and can lose their users to competition in a heartbeat. Meanwhile, there are standout products that are heralded as works of art. They inspire people and change lives, and consumers stick with these brands for a long time thanks to a glue called love. Most of us want to ... Read more

How to Find Your Other Half: Secrets for a Good Co-Founder Partnership

By Poornima Vijayashanker We all have ideas for features, products, and companies. But we cannot bring them to life alone. Partners and teams help us get out of our echo chambers, see possibilities we’ve never imagined, and put one foot in front of the other when the going gets rough. The best teams are composed of individuals with complementary skill sets, and as we learned back in Episode 4, empathy for one another. But you might be wondering: How does a team form over ... Read more

How to Compel People to Give You Valuable Feedback

By Poornima Vijayashanker Last week I asked my subscribers to provide feedback, and I’ve spent the past few days reading through all the submissions. I appreciate how candid people were: “The last time there was a survey I responded with a discussion topic and it was written about. I was very impressed as well as grateful to have my question answered.” “I've been losing interest in furthering my career in technology, because it seems to lack spirit and heart and compassion in so many cases, but after ... Read more

How to Identify Efforts that Make a Big Impact When Building Software Products

By Poornima Vijayashanker If you’re a technical person, such as an engineer or designer, then your todo list is probably filled with product launches, bug fixes, interviewing candidates, attending meetings, answering emails, and fighting fires. The daily grind can leave you wondering if the work that you do is actually worthwhile and makes a big impact. While it’s easy for people to tell us to work smarter, not harder, the bulk of the work still falls on our shoulders, and it often feels like the ... Read more

How to Use Empathy to Build Software Products

By Poornima Vijayashanker There’s one skill that every wildly successful product manager, UX designer, businessperson, and leader has in common. It helps them unite teams and ship products that customers love time and time again. What could possibly unite all these technologists? It’s conscious and deliberate empathy. Most people believe empathy is just about being compassionate, like lending your friend a shoulder to cry on when they’re going through a breakup. Others dismiss it altogether as a distraction, because they believe it’s more important to be ... Read more

How to Build a Community of Evangelists for Your Software Product

By Poornima Vijayashanker We all want customers to crave the products we build. Next, we want them to spread the word, because WOM (word-of-mouth) marketing is THE strongest and most authentic for your product. WOM is a testimonial delivered from one customer to another. The customer spreading the word cares about helping the other person out and is willing to vouch for the product based on benefits they’ve personally experienced. These days, most customer-to-customer testimonials live on the internet through social media, forums, forwarded ... Read more

How to Make Smart Tradeoffs When Developing Software Products

By Poornima Vijayashanker As technologists we want to build software that is friendly, fast, beautiful, reliable, secure, and scalable. And we expect ourselves to deliver it on time and under budget, because our ultimate goal is to have lots of happy customers who can do what they want: cue Daft Punk’s Technologic! But time and energy are finite, and we simply cannot deliver it all at once. We need to choose our priorities, and this choice is one we should make consciously. Evaluating our ... Read more

How to Fund Product Development Without Investment

By Poornima Vijayashanker While you might think that get funding from investors is easy to come by, it’s not... But, many founders spend a fair amount of time wooing investors even before they have a prototype out the door. They think that an idea is enough to get them funding. This approach not only slows founders down, it stifles product development, and cripples your a business’ actual growth. But you’re probably thinking, “I need funding to develop my product!” I hear ya! The good news is ... Read more
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