This years U.S.A BoS (Business of Software) conference has sadly come to a close. Mark Littlewood along side his wife and the rest of his team held two fantastic conferences in Europe and the U.S.A this year.
In this blog article I will be reviewing the key take aways from day two of the conference. I previously wrote a blog article discussing the take aways from day one of the conference and that can be found here.
Day two started with some brilliant talks:
David Cancel – How to Build a Customer-Driven Product Team
David Cancel is a five-time entrepreneur, two-time CEO, angel investor, and currently the CEO at Drift, a startup that’s making it easier for businesses to talk to their customers.
Previously, he was at HubSpot as Chief Product Officer after they acquired his company, Performable.
David discussed the importance of listening to customers and how most companies today are not customer driven.This lead
David on to development methodologies and how agile and waterfall do not work in this scenario. He felt that these didn’t work due to the fact that customers should be a part of your feedback loop, and working in this manor you wouldn’t be able to take customers inquiries into account.
Steve Johnson – Purple Squirrels and Other Lies
Steve Johnson is a story-telling, product management expert, author and advisor. His approach is based on the belief that minimal process and simple templates result in a nimble product marketing and management team.
Firstly Steve explained what purple Squirrels were:
“Purple Squirrel (n) used by recruiters to describe a job candidate with precisely the right education, experience, and qualifications to fit a job’s multifaceted requirements. “Your perfect candidate is as rare as a purple squirrel”.”
Steve then went on to discuss the importance of why you should reconsider the areas of expertise needed to build a successful team. Adapting processes to the strengths of your team can be a better approach to scaling a startup or optimizing an existing business. He continued by letting us know the Six types of expertise are necessary for a well-rounded product team:
Ash Maurya – Beyond MVP – Scaling Lean
Ash has developed a systematic methodology for raising the odds of success built upon Lean Startup, Customer Development, and Bootstrapping techniques. He is also an active blogger and his posts and advice have been featured in Inc Magazine, Forbes, and Fortune.
Ash discussed how lean can scale beyond MVP and the funding team. Weaving concepts from business modeling, lean startup, and systems thinking (theory of constraints).
Ash also discussed the two most important mindshifts you have to make for you company in order to scale lean:
- Your BUSINESS MODEL is NOT your solution, your solution is the THE product.
- Document your plan A
- Identify the riskiest parts of your plan
- Systematically test your plan
- Scale in stages
- We think every product has to launch at scale… this is not true. it is premature optimization
- Identifying the riskiest parts is actually difficult
- Reporting on your learning is NOT ENOUGH.
Laura Roeder – Don’t Let Your Past Limit Your Future – The Transition from Training to Product Business
Laura has been teaching entrepreneurs how to harness the power of social media marketing and create their own fame at LKR Social Media and then MeetEdgar. Laura founded MeetEdgar, a social media automation tool designed to prevent updates from going to waste, while pregnant. Bootstrapped, profitable, growing rapidly.
Laura had mentioned that she always wanted her own software business, she just didn’t know how to code. She knew that what ever software she would create there would need to be prospects who are looking to actually purchase a solution to the problem and if her solution was better then what was currently out there. She is now the proud owner of MeetEdgar and has perviously spoken at the white house about the value of entrepreneurship.
Patrick Campbel – Why a SaaS Pricing Company Gives Its Software Away for Free
Patrick Campbell is the Co-founder and CEO of Profitwell and Price Intelligently. Price Intelligently offers SaaS pricing strategy for companies. He spoke about how ProfitWell is a free product that gives companies access to their subscription financial metrics. It was spun out of Price Intelligently, the Boston-based pricing company that collects customer data to help companies understand how to set the right price for the right product targeted at the right customer.
Rob Castaneda – Some of the Things Great Software Companies Do That You Don’t Have To
Rob Castaneda started Customware in 2001, which became ServiceRocket in 2013, to help some of the world’s best software companies help their customers make the best use of their software.
Rob discussed the mistakes he had made which almost killed his company as he grew it from a bedroom in Sydney, Australia, to an operation in four countries employing over 200 people. He never took funding for ServiceRocket but realised that building a board he was afraid of would be a key part in helping the business grow.
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