Business for Bootstrappers

Customer Feedback, Fast and Slow

I recently ran a user feedback survey that exposed a flaw in my thinking — and resulted in a completely unexpected product change. The survey’s intended goal was to aid in developing a deeper understanding of the various use cases customers have for Geocodio and features that might help them more efficiently complete those activities. I also put in a general feedback field for open ended thoughts on the service,

Six Investing Books I Wish I’d Read Sooner

About two years ago, I switched industries from political consulting to financial services. I had a somewhat notable lack of experience in finance — I’d never even bought a stock before — and so I embarked on a quest to learn as much as possible about the stock market. The result has been about two years of non-stop reading, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. If I were doing it all

How to Find the Problem

If there’s anything product people love, it’s problems — solving problems, finding problems, uncovering problems. We just love problems. And there are lots of great frameworks for researching customer experiences to help uncover problems. Yet, no framework can ever tell you what the problem is. So when you’re staring at a sea of Post-Its and knee deep in a spreadsheet, how do you determine where the problem is and what you should focus

The Bright Side of Being Wrong

There are three major things I’ve learned since I started doing product work four years ago: Understand the fundamental value you’re delivering to the user Focus on user problems rather than starting with ideas And the third is something I’ve only just come to understand in the last few months: 3. Assume you’re wrong. Of everything I’ve learned, this is probably the most counterintuitive, difficult, and even painful to implement.

The Power of Thinking Inside the Box

Think back to the last time you had a new idea. It was exciting and energizing, right? You were probably so excited that you jumped to a whiteboard to sketch the idea or shot off an email about it to a close friend. The possibilities! But now let’s picture that idea differently. Imagine it lives in this little box. But your idea doesn’t live in this box alone. Instead, ideas

Why I Love Product

Several months ago, I was drafting an internal job description for a new position on our Product team. Among the many qualities I thought this person should have, I listed Passionate about product. It seemed like an obvious thing to include. Of course someone who wanted to work in product would love product and immediately know what it meant to be passionate about product. But my manager at the time, who

Product vs Packaging

Great packaging is what pulls people in, but a superior core product is what will make them stay. In the physical world, it’s pretty clear what is packaging and what is the actual product. Take soap: the packaging is the plastic, and the core product is the soap itself. The packaging may influence your decision to buy the product — it may market the product to you — but ultimately

Parenthood: It’s a Feature, Not a Bug

You can’t be a parent and an entrepreneur — right? In the tech community, there’s a stereotype — unfairly magnified by the media — that the ideal entrepreneur is young, unattached, and capable of working 20-hour days for months or years on end without letting anything get in the way of their product. It’s true that creating and running a company requires unrelenting devotion and long, difficult hours of work,

I’m Not a Real Entrepreneur

Okay, I’m going to come out and just say it. I’m not a real entrepreneur. (It’s true.) Sure, I have a successful side project that’s a SaaS. And I’ve started a few revenue-generating projects before this too — hey, something that generates revenue is a business, right? I like to think I’m an entrepreneurially-minded person who has ideas and makes them happen. But I’m not a Real Entrepreneur, and here’s why:

Working at an Agency Doesn’t Have to Suck

A thread on Reddit last week titled “Does web development at an agency always have to suck?” ignited a lot of conversation about the difficulties of agency life for many developers and designers. The poster cited how their agency seems to have a complete disregard for process, management, or good development practices. Their project manager just forwards email from the client, doesn’t properly scope out projects, and has a complete lack