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Talking about Scaling Personalities at How to Build Great Products: Insights | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Talking about Scaling Personalities at How to Build Great Products: Insights

Even if I hadn’t been invited to How to Build Great Products: Insights I would have probably attended. There was a number of products & brands that I think are doing things better than everyone else. There was Kickstarter, Foursquare, Chartbeat, Buzzfeed and Huffingtonpost among many others. It was really exciting to be able to talk and share some of my experiences inside the group. Plus I got to hear and learn from all of them.

Ty Ahmad–Taylor and Kevin Kearney did a great job of planning and organizing the event. While the event was only one day the prior evening there was a dinner to get to know some of the speakers. I had a lot of great conversations though the one that stood out for me personally was Charles Adler of Kickstarter. I can’t think of a better product that is using design & technology to make a successful movement.

During the event I was on a Q & A panel with Kevin & Cindy Alvarez with Ty asking the questions. To be honest I had no idea what was going to be asked. Usually I think better on the fly when I’m in front of a computer but I think I was able to hold my own up there. The second part of the day didn’t go exactly as planned. I was part of an ignite style presentation where I had to go through 20 slides in five minutes. Because each slide was automatically forwarded my original pdf was converted to a ppt. I didn’t know that was going to happen and the ppt inadvertently bitmapped most of the slides. So instead of seeing my illustration in orange there was a lot of gray pixels. Not to make excuses but it did throw me off. I ended up basically reading each of the slides with little interjection. Next time I do a similar presentation I’ll practice with the intention that anything can happen and how to power through it. Either way it was a great learning experience.

As for the substance of my talk which I’ve embedded below, it was a combination of tech, design, process and my experience at Daylife. It was sort of strange talking about something that I’m no longer working on but figured it was a great opportunity to take a fresh look at what I had been a part of. I’m always mindful that there are a lot of companies that would like to have the success that Daylife has had so I never divulge anything that isn’t already already in the public realm. Looking back it was fun to see how things evolved as a platform and system and what products spun out of there. That experience has really helped me over at Behavior when we work on apps for the iPad and system designs.

The overall experience of going through the pre planning of writing my talk, meeting a ton of new people that I’ve respected from afar and hearing what they had to say was unique experience for me. There was a lot of takeaways but the one thing that stood out for my implicitly is to keep moving. Everyone was observing, measuring, iterating and working towards something even better than what they had started with. When things didn’t work out they just kept moving forward anyways.

Scaling Personalities (Adaption, White Labels And the Digital Ecosystem)

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