3 Principles on Building Experimental Prototypes

A big part of putting together a new project is doing small, quick tests (e.g. iterations) around concepts that help you better grasp the overarching concepts and themes.

Said another way, building small, working prototypes can help you see more clearly the problem that you’re attacking and the possible solutions that could / might be deployed. And, if I’m to be honest, in many (most) cases it brings up more questions than answers.

But that’s kind of the point of the exercise, especially at the very early and concept stage: You have a hypothesis about X and you work quickly and efficiently to either prove it or disprove it and then rinse and repeat.

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Product Management at Early Stage

Putting together a new project is both easy and hard, at the exact same time, especially from an engineering perspective.

I know that there are 1,000 things that I need to be doing, many of them at the same time, to get things moving in the right direction and yet I am also confident that I have the experience to move things forward and that if anything falls through the so-called cracks that they will be picked up over time.

This is because early stage product development is more of an experience than a process, more of an art than it is a science, and maintaining a certain level of joy in the work is just as important as building something that people (i.e. customers) actually, eventually, want.

And if you don’t like what you’re working on then there’s no point in building it in the first place, full stop.

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More Than Just Engineering

I’m back in company-building mode, which means that my head naturally moves to more than just product and engineering. Putting the pieces together operationally is fun in all the right ways, even the more monotonous parts. This is mostly because I consider it an honor and a privilege to build something that people want.

In addition, I have this positive attitude because it means that we’ve landed on something that is resonating with folks. Not just myself and the team but also some of the financial backers that we’re beginning to have conversations and with, of course and most importantly, some of the early (future) users of the product.

Clearly we’ve hit a touch-point for both engineers and software development teams and the larger organizations that house them.

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Thoughts on a Developer-Centric News Feed

A few weeks ago the internet celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the so-called “News Feed,” which was universally popularized by Facebook.

For those who were late to the party, this technology and experience was hated when it first came out but eventually it forced its way into our daily user experience through cunning, iteration, mass adoption, and perhaps a little peer pressure to boot.

And, to be honest, it got people to stick around, engage, and it became a fairly copacetic relationship between the users and Facebook, as a business. And today, regardless of what you think about Facebook’s News Feed, we all can heartily agree that it’s here to stay. And, it has inspired many other companies to follow suit.

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On Developers and Social Networks

The first two startups that I put together were both in the social networking space, one related to a massively multiplayer online RPG and the second was essentially a niche version of Twitter.

Both projects were acquired (and that was nice) but these events were more significant in the fact that they opened my eyes to entrepreneurship and the distinct possibility of pursuing this avenue as a career for myself.

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