Startup: Product Development

Another awesome session at FI as Beatrice and Conrad gave us the scoop about product development at a startup.

Beatriz is an artist and an entrepreneur. She has created illustrations for the New York Times, worked on animated series for MTV, Disney and Cartoon Network, exhibited her paintings in New York City galleries, made comics, illustrated several children’s books, worked as a photographer, set designer, sculptor, live action director and even made puppets from scratch in Prague.

Conrad Egusa is the Founder & CEO of Publicize, which is a startup aiming to change the way companies approach PR. He has been featured in publications including The Financial Times, Bloomberg, and TechCrunch. Conrad is a guest contributor for TechCrunch, VentureBeat and TheNextWeb. He is also a Global Mentor at 500 Startups, The Founder Institute, ANDI (Asociación Nacional de Empresarios de Colombia), and the Spanish accelerator Zarpamos.


Here are the main takeaways from Beatrice’s presentation:

In the early stages of a startup, your team should consists of the following people

  • Product Manager – YOU!
  • Tech Co-Founder
  • Back-end Developer – Primary
  • Front-end Developer – Secondary
  • Designer – Only needed for mockups and UI graphics in the beginning
  • QA Specialist

Additional information:

  • Go with quick, cost-effective approaches – time to market is important
  • Full time people testing is important – QA Specialists
  • Best to have your team close to you or in-house


  1. Wireframes and mockups
  2. Development (Scrum)
  3. Testing
    1. Two environments (Development vs Production)
    2. Scheduled deployment
    3. QA Specialists
    4. User feedback
  4. Track Metrics – don’t do this in the beginning but do it at some point when you have a lot of users
  5. Design – Do this at the end after you have the users
    1. Use design to reflect who you are
    2. Reflect what matters to you
    3. Reflect your personality



Conrad educated us on the common mistakes made when developing a product:

  1. Miscommunication between you and your tech founders or members
    1. Break down your main goals into smaller goals/chunks called sprints
    2. Ex. Week 1 Sprints –  Develop feature 1, Develop feature 2, etc
  2. Focusing on too many needs or features
    1. Focus on the core value prop (the meat)
  3. Focusing on too large of a market
  4. Not seeking negative feedback
    1. Make sure you seek out negative feedback
  5. Not being able to concisely explain the value proposition
  6. Focusing on scale prior to finding product market fit (market fit is very important)
  7. Not focusing on the project scope
  8. Hiring too many business folks vs design / development

Final note: Push things out and test, iterate, get feedback, iterate again. Follow the lean startup method: Build – Measure – Learn

Thank you Beatrice and Conrad!





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