How to interview a product manager

Giff Constable product management, startups

This is part 3 of a talk given to the CTO School in New York, covering how to interview for a product manager (Parts 1 and 2). While I continually iterate my approach in the hunt to spot talent and minimize disappointments, this is my latest structure. I think of interviewing product managers as having 3 parts: 1. deciding what …

Early Stage Lean: Running Weekly Decision Meetings

Giff Constable lean, product management, startups

At Neo (recently acquired by Pivotal), we tried to put lean startup ideas into practice. Several years ago, Time Inc was our first client where we got to dream up and rigorously test new ideas over a period of several weeks. During that initial project, I realized that we needed a weekly ritual that helped us keep our feet to the …

A fair vesting system for a bootstrapped side project

Giff Constable startups

A friend and I are bootstrapping a side software project (called Jotto), and we wanted a way to equitably share ownership of the project. We knew that we were not always going to be investing the same amounts of time and effort, and wanted to take that into account to prevent any negative feelings. The standard startup vesting approach does …

Custdev: Starting with First Principles

Giff Constable customer development, lean, startups

On Friday morning, I popped over to Frank Rimalovski and Lindsay Gray’s always-impressive startup class at NYU‘s Entrepreneurial Institute to talk about vetting new ideas. Afterwards, one team asked the classic question, “if I shouldn’t ask speculative questions, and yet my product isn’t ready to test, how can I do customer development?” In their case, they had an interesting scientific breakthrough …

Landing Page Tests Aren’t Useful for Validation

Giff Constable lean, startups

A few years ago, I wrote about the Truth Curve, and refined those thoughts later in Talking to Humans. Essentially it states that the believability of information you receive from market tests increases as the fidelity of your product test increases. You should not wait until you have a live, instrumented product in the market, but nor should you take …

Upside and Downside

Giff Constable startups

Heidi Roizen has yet another great post this week: “How to Build a Unicorn from Scratch – and Walk Away With Nothing.” Every budding entrepreneur should read it. Her post isn’t just about valuations and terms. It is also about thinking through downside. In frothy times, especially when equity starts to feel more valuable than cash (a condition not yet reached …

Workbook for learning financial modeling and excel techniques

Giff Constable lean, startups

I’ve written about financial modeling for startups on here a few times, and included a few sample models. More recently, I led an after-work class internal at Neo for those interested in improving their skills. For those into lean, doing a thoughtful financial model from scratch is one of the best ways to spot hidden but critical assumptions, risks and …

The challenge of a hedging model

Giff Constable startups

A couple days ago, I wrote about entrepreneurship and some level of partial hedging. Actually solving that challenge is, of course, enormously difficult. So much so, that I think it might only really be doable when companies are just starting out, and the equity is worthless. I can see it working in a startup studio that creates its own companies …