Developing Products that Echo


I’ll be in Dallas this week for ECHO Conference and I hope to see you there! The topic of my talk is titledĀ Building Products That Matter.

Here’s the description:

After building products (web and software applications) over the last 15 years for Fortune 50 companies, non-profits, and both Angel/VC and bootstrapped startups, John has seen what it takes to build products that matter and succeed. He also knows firsthand what it’s like to build products that succeed yet don’t matter at all.

This session will practically explore the pieces that are fundamentally required to enable an organization to leave a lasting legacy. On the flip-side, this session will also lean in hard on the dangerous practices that hamstring an organization of any size, ensuring that they will ultimately be forgotten.

I’ll be honest, preparing for this talk has been painfully slow. What I thought was going to be an easy discussion about something that I’m passionate about has become something much more difficult to swallow.

I’m not nervous; more of it’s wanting to be fair in the presentation that’s natively going to be lopsided anyways.

Working for large companies you get to see tons of projects, initiatives, programs, and products that no one cares about today and certainly not tomorrow. Building my own companies I’ve experienced the challenge of making sure that I start off by building products that seriously matter and making sure that it stays that way.

The temptation and sometimes necessity in bringing in or creating things that don’t matter is a constant pressure that any business owner or organizational leader understands. What might seem like a small thing ultimately becomes part of the cultural DNA of the organization, forever impacting for the good or the bad.

But I believe there exists a number of core essentials to any product and business that will reflect a bit of the eternal and that will set the company on the path to long-term success, not just financially but in terms of global impact. We gloss over these things or give them a decent head-nod at times but very few build their entire business around them explicitly.

I know this because I haven’t always done it myself. But after discovering them I’d never build another business any other way. The secret is that these elements, by nature, echo. I think building companies that echo is essential.

I’m in the middle of finalizing the presentation and I hope to have it here when I’m done.

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