[LRUG] Building a product - all the non-development stuff

Tekin Suleyman tekin at tekin.co.uk
Fri Dec 21 09:10:57 PST 2012

Wow, where to begin...

I've been working on my own product, crowd.fm, part time for the last couple of years and the main thing I've learnt is that building a business around a product is H.A.R.D.

Building a great product is only a tiny fraction of the work that it takes to make something a success. As developers, we just want to solve problems and write beautiful code, but to make a success of a product, you need to be spending several orders of magnitude more of your time: speaking to your potential customers; honing your sales copy; building up a following; content marketing; optimising your onboarding process… It's basically a combination of trying to understand what you can build that people will give a shit about, and then trying real hard to get them to actually give a shit once you've built. And even then, you might be doomed from the start because, although you may be solving a real problem that people have, your value proposition is never going to be compelling enough to convince people to hand over their hard earned cash.

Watch this video by Lincoln Murphy http://sixteenventures.com/free-trial-metrics
He's a very smart cookie when it comes to SaaS, and his ideas around Common Conversion Activities are golden.

Another powerful idea is that of the engines of growth. Eric Reis talks about them in The Lean Startup book, but there is a good summary here - http://larslofgren.com/marketingbasics/the-three-engines-of-growth-with-eric-ries
TL;DR: if you can't get new users from your existing users, you're gonna have a hard time growing a product.

I actually have the skeleton of a talk called "Bootstrapping a Startup, a Developers Story". It covers some of the common pitfalls and misconceptions that I've come across, both as a developer who's tried to bootstrap a startup, and as the organiser of Manchester's Bootstrap Business Club. I was hoping to submit it to BritRuby but that's out the window now. Not sure if it would be suitable for Ruby Manor. I will definitely submit it elsewhere though as I'm sure it's something a lot of developers are curious about.


On 11 Dec 2012, at 13:01, James Adam <james at lazyatom.com> wrote:

> Hello LRUG types,
> Like many of you I'm sure, in between doing client work we've been working on our own product called Harmonia (https://harmonia.io). One of our goals in doing this was to get better at all of the non-development aspects of building a product - finding new users, communicating with them, learning from how they use the app and so on. It's definitely been an interesting and challenging experience, exploring outside the comfortable world of stories and TDD.
> I'm sure some of you have already done all this, probably several times, but we were wondering if you had any tips or advice you could share? What has worked well for you? Did you try anything that turned out to be a waste of time?
> I'd really love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
> Cheers,
> - James
> _______________________________________________
> Chat mailing list
> Chat at lists.lrug.org
> http://lists.lrug.org/listinfo.cgi/chat-lrug.org

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