Our Levers product prioritization framework

The following is adapted from the chapter on product prioritization (Chapter 3: Assumptions & Hypotheses) that I wrote in Levers: The Framework for Building Repeatability Into Your Business

There may be more books and blog posts on product planning than there are grains of sand on the beaches of Hawaii. And even though I absolutely love Hawaii, I’d prefer to spend my time there surfing the waves rather than digging around in the sand. Similarly, you should spend your time executing your business rather than fiddling around with your product process or sweating about creating a perfect product roadmap.


Image from https://www.productplan.com/what-is-a-product-roadmap/

It is 2017. We have Agile. We have Lean Startup. We have a million (give or take) product management blog posts about how to properly do A/B testing and experimentation. We have incredible off the shelf testing software like Mixpanel, Optimizely, and (nameyourfavoritehere). Heck, we’ve killed the MVP and replaced it with the RAT (one of my fave product posts of the last year).

And yet every single investor deck, board deck, and company all hands deck has it. And it’s a train-wreck. You know what I’m talking about. The 12-month product roadmap.

I’m just telling it like it is…

Photo from Flickr by Dean Hochman

We’re excited to announce that we’re deepening our commitment to the rapidly emerging startup ecosystem in Kansas City with the launch of Techstars Kansas City. Applications will open in January 2017. We will select 10 startups and the program will begin in July 2017.

Lesa Mitchell will be the Managing Director and the program will run with a horizontal focus in a manner similar to our other accelerators in Boulder, Boston, Seattle, Austin, New York City, London and Berlin. …

Why now is actually a good time to be a music startup

Photo by @pbernosky on Flickr

Yesterday we announced our latest Techstars offering for startups, Techstars Music. Music has been a notoriously challenging category for startups, but I’m beyond stoked. Here’s why:

  1. Music drives culture. For many people, musical taste defines style and is a bedrock of personal identity. Boomers, Gen X, Millennials…the generations may be wildly different but the importance of music to youth culture, creativity, and consumer behavior has been as consistent as a John Bonham beat, or a Grandmaster Flash beat. Take your pick.
  2. Music is massive. What would Apple be…

What should we expect from a bot ecosystem?

Image via Giphy: http://giphy.com/gifs/someone-robot-typing-RPZu7v6zA2WOI

Thoughts on bots.
Hot hot hot.
Bots have thoughts on lots and lots.
No dots. Just bots.
Hot / not? Great Scott!

If you talk like Dr Seuss to a bot, can it learn to respond in rhyme? We shall see. Yippee!

The internet is abuzz this week on the bot ecosystem that Facebook is seeking to create around Messenger, and of course Slack has been investing here for some time as well. Personally I found the bot announcements at Facebook’s F8 way less profound than Zuckerberg’s approach to a 10-year roadmap, his images of airplanes that can fly at…

Cover of TIME, 25 July 1994. From http://content.time.com/time/magazine/0,9263,7601940725,00.html

1994. Friends and ER debut. Kurt Cobain departs. Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. The OJ chase. Forrest Gump.

Oh, and the consumer internet as we know it is born. Netscape, Yahoo!, and Amazon all appear. And a complete restructuring of power in the areas of Communications, Content, and Commerce begins.

If the last twenty-two years were crazy, the next twenty-two are going to be wild. But first, let’s review…

Communication becomes instantaneous and free

Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe, Monica, and Joey first appeared in our living rooms on September 22, 1994. But when Central Perk appeared on air in that pilot episode of Friends, there…

Amazon Echo

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the power of voice. Not voice as in self-expression (though important!), and not voice as in voice calls or — worse! — voicemail, but rather voice as the next major UI layer for software in the living room and beyond.

As voice recognition and, more importantly, AI-driven understanding of the meaning behind voice-based commands and queries all develop to maturity, we’re seeing a dizzying array of voice-driven use cases start to take shape. Don’t get me wrong, I think voice is a feature not a product, but I think it’s a convenient enough feature that…

Cody Simms

Partner at Techstars

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