Tales of a PO: Week 2 – Dating

Day 6 of the Product Owner role. Click here for backstory.

The major process we follow while developing products at Ignite is lean. It’s an interesting process that has quite a bit of similarities to other frameworks, such as Pragmatic, with one huge factor of a difference, it’s very very slimmed down. That’s a big ‘duh’ just based on the name.

The lean process  hinges on 1 major factor, getting out of the office. This means interview, interview, interview. You need to understand the problem the market is having, how it’s being solved currently, and where does your idea fit. Taking this approach will hopefully lead you to talk to a ton of the right people who will help you mold, pivot and shape your business model into the rip roaring product you hoped it would be.

I’ve taken this seriously with the seeds I managed, and now I get to do it myself.

Key lesson #1 – Networking is a lot like dating.

Remember the really rad times of being single? The days where you would go out with friends, enjoy a bunch of laughs, and have amazing conversations. They were awesome right? Yeah, they were. They were even better when one of our friend’s would build up enough courage to get a lady’s phone number. Big smiles, high-5’s, and confidence for everyone! Point’s on the board for the home team and mark off the checkbox next to “have a good night.”

This is essentially business networking. This is the same thing as going to a Meetup group, conference, or LinkedIn (networking version of online dating) and getting the contact/business card you were hoping for. You have the card!!!! Now what?

Now do you remember the really crappy days of dating? The moment that number gets in your hands, it’s a minute of excitement and then about 20 hours of, “ohhhhhhh nooooooo.” You now have to talk to this person.  Many of us become a mangled mess of self-consciousness while we analyze our next moves.  You build up enough courage to call…and leave a message.

Now you play the waiting game. You’ll go through the phases of, “It’s been a few days and I haven’t heard back. I should follow-up with an email.” Then you’ll hit, “They could be on vacation and they just forgot their out of office.” Maybe you’ll call from a different number …say from the local PizzaHut. You can see where this is going.

If this is your only lead you’ll smother them.

The successful few won’t put all their eggs in one basket. They’ll be like three little Fonzies, and what’s Fonzie like? Cool. They’ll keep finding leads and make sure they spread their attention out until somebody shows more attention back.  Then you can spend more time with that person.

So the lesson is, don’t worry about it. Go on with your life and treat your leads just as they are. A person. Not an early adopter, or a contact.

Yeasayer – Ambling Alp


Leaders Pour Concrete

I talk way too much about Daft Punk. I can hear myself talk about them and I cringe. I think to myself, “Really, Anthony. Again?”

Well here it comes.


What is a Daft Punk? It’s a fun/serious electronic musical duo that have songs that can be listened to over and over and over again. They have relatively been unknown in the U.S. until this past May when their latest album was released. Except they were only unknown by name. Nearly the whole world over the past 20 years has heard parts of their tracks or were listening to tunes that were influenced by them in some way.

How could that be?

Because they’re leaders.  Silent robotic leaders.

Their new LP, Random Access Memories, is a great example of how they set their own rules. It’s funky, not too fast, very different from most things they’ve done, but you can tell it’s them.

The funny thing is I don’t know what they actually did on it. Every song is a collaboration of other artists, producers and electric magicians. The album brings back the days of funk and splices in the sound of the current era.

I was put off when I really started to think about it. Can they claim credit for a great album when every instrument, vocals, and production are provided from others? How can their name be behind it?

Because they’re leaders.

They knew the sound they wanted. Their spirit drove them to find the people to collaborate with, and take their industry in a new direction. They poured the foundation and found the best people to build the dream. They partnered with the biggest names that specialized in the music they were looking for, such as Nile Rodgers of Chic, Panda Bear, and Pharrell Williams.

This isn’t any different when launching a business. The founders job is to pour concrete, find the right builders, communicate the dream. The hard part is letting the dream become bigger than the team….even bigger than the silent robotic leader.

George Barnett – Get Lucky


Tales of a PO: Week 1 – Gut Check

Today is Day 1 of my new role, Product Owner.

For the past year I’ve been cofounding an intrapreneurial innovation and R&D lab, Ignite, for the world’s largest staffing firm. It’s been awesome!! and really really hard. Breathtaking really…in the sense of being gut checked, running a race, and seeing the most amazing sunset in your life all at the same time.

During the past 12 months I’ve been able to dabble as the hiring manager, maintenance man, admin assistant, developer, project manager, facilitator, real estate guy, office manager, event planner, marketing assistant, seed manager, and advisor. I’ve loved every role because it’s put me in the position I feel most comfortable, the guy behind the guy. 

Today I started a new role that I’ve only been able to experience from behind a chalk line as the Seed Manager. I’ve been dubbed a Product Owner, PO, for the Fall/Winter Semester round of seeds. This means I now need to follow my own process I’ve spent the last year developing. I no longer can sit in meetings and wonder why the PO is developing so much, or question why they conducted zero interviews that week. 

The next 3ish months I’ll be keeping tabs of my learnings here and what it’s like to walk on my path.

 It’s going to be breathtaking.

Washed Out – Falling Back




It’s pretty cool that growing up you’re allowed to have a cheat sheet.  You’re just called prepared instead of sent to the principal’s office.

Just something to think about.

Here is a fun cheat sheet in case you want to be prepared for the future:

Time Travel Cheat Sheet

Bright Eye – I Believe in Symmetry


Quick Hack/Tip: Socket Wrench

Real quick tip that I just figured out and you may already know. Either way, I’m sharing.


While working on my car I sometimes come across certain bolts and nuts that I need to unbolt blindly. Typically, I can figure out a solution for getting off the certain pain in the rear. I usually find, though,  that if it getting it off is hard, then getting it back on is even harder.

If  the space is not visible or  too small to easily screw something on with your hand because the nut constantly gets twisted, turned around, or dropped, use a socket without the driver attached to guide the nut on the post. I know, obvious. Just put the nut inside the socket. Super easy. But that’s not the tip.

Here’s the tip:

I find that many of the threaded posts in  my car are very short. This means that if I put the nut inside the socket, the nut will never reach the tip of the post because it’s sitting at the very bottom of the socket. The socket is too deep. My solution is to shove a punch of paper inside the socket to pad the bottom of it to make the nut sit right at the top of the socket. Then, you screw the nut on using the socket. Easy peasy.

How do you get the paper out? You stick a screw driver through the back hole of the socket and it comes right out the front.

Hillsong United – Avalanche


You’ve Got 20% Power

I no longer bring my laptop charger home with me and I’ve started to leave my computer unplugged longer throughout the day. Why? Because it gives me a only a set amount of power to get stuff down so I better be efficient and I’ve found that I need to get quicker at doing things. You stop wasting time with YouTube when you can see it visually eating your day away.

Unless it’s a music video. There is time for that:

Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/66822140 w=500&h=281]

Swimming or as I Call It, Not Drowning

What gets your brain moving? For me it’s a combination of all the above: reading, writing, researching, running. I bet you already knew that list was coming because you sir/mam are a smarty pants who reads subject lines (the subject was changed at the last minute…so you probably didn’t know this list was coming…if you did…kudos)

I separate research and reading because I’m talking about reading for fun vs. thumbing through Flipboard following-up on what the topic of the day is. The one I’ve lately been neglecting (due to a back injury that I’ll be playing up for a couple more days) is the running. I can tell too. It doesn’t matter how much I read, write, or research I always feel unfulfilled. I always feel like there is something else to read, but when I run…that’s when my brain just lets everything out.

There is something about focusing on a physical hurt or exhausting moment that gives your brain a chance to let go and wander. Maybe its the adrenaline and endorphins. I don’t care either way. It works. It feels great. Not all physical activities do this for me though.

I don’t get the same feeling from swimming. This is probably because I’m not very fast, and what I do is really not swimming at all. I call it not drowning. I didn’t drown for 4 laps this morning and I didn’t get anything accomplished in the ole’ noggin. I did however get a chance to use my goggles, which makes my 10 year old self extremely happy.

I’ve left out writing because it’s a special one for me. Writing is really hard for me because my mind wanders so much that my point is almost lost in the middle of it. My boss actually made a point the other day to say that Twitter is probably a better forum for me…yeah that’s right…I picked up what you were putting down. Honestly though it helps me really cut the crap out of what I’m thinking (if I take the time rewrite it), and it helps me understand where I’m coming from and the story I’m trying to tell. It’s time consuming though and that’s why I went from a post everyday back in March/April to one every so often.

I used to write when I was really struggling in life in late teens/early twenties and it helped tremendously figure things out. It’s embarrassing to go back and read, but I actually transcribed them and hid them somewhere in this blog if you can find them. Until then…here is a pic from those days 🙂 It’s better if you look at this picture and then read it…if you find them.

Fun in Orlando


New Music Today…actually found when I researched “Not Drowning”

Not Drowning, Waving – Sweat

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDww4XAs4wY&w=420&h=315]


My Hope for a Full Phone Future

My hope is that my phone becomes my personal computer, my work computer, and my car stereo What? My phone? Yes!!! My phone and I think it may be possible to hack together. Driving in this morning I was thinking about NFC Stickers, Wireless Power, Airplay, Bluetooth, and how powerful phones are now-a-days. What would I use for a desktop computer? I would use my phone. I come home with my phone in my pocket. I set it down on a wireless power pad that has an NFC sticker on it. It will then begin to recharge, and the NFC sticker will trigger the phone to turn-on Airplay/Bluetooth that will connect to an external display, speakers, keyboard and mouse are now connected. The phone would also trigger a different the desktop to act similar to OS X and not iOS. How would this work when I drive? It would work almost the exact same way. I would set the phone in a compartment or holder that is enabled with wireless power and a NFC sticker. The only difference would be the external display is a small 7-10″ touchscreen that is mounted to the dash. The phones Airplay would mirror to the screen/speakers and the phone is triggered to switch to a vehicle version of iOS that makes the maps, phone, and music apps the most prominent apps. That’s it. You can see where this is going, and I think it’s a very realistic future. Android seem to be closer to accomplish what I hope happens to my phone, but with my experience of Android it’s going to be wonky and work only some of the time.  Let’s just say we were not impressed at all with our HTC Sensation. Is this even possible? Yeah, lets just look at the difference between my laptop and the most current iPhone.

MacBook Air – 1.8 GHz i5, 4GB 1600 MHz DDR3 vs Iphone 5 – Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9, 1 GB RAM

So so so close. Oh but wait, that sweet looking aluminum case on your iPhone 5 made it impossible for Apple to utilize the NFC technology and it was dropped…boo. What do you think? Music to let it sink in….

STRFKR – Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z8oYH_bhnA&w=560&h=315]

Well Priced Luxury? Check…

The subject of this post was the subject of my Craigslist posting that I initially started with to sell Professor Xavier the XG350, the 2004 Hyundai XG350L to be exact.

My roll at my job is highly involved in the lean method of creating a startup, which  is essentially the scientific method. You test out one little thing, see if it effects anything, and then move to the next piece. I did this about 5 times on my craigslist post. I got zero bites with the funny headline. It made me chuckle, but laughing doesn’t move metal boy!  I also had the price set at exactly what I wanted for it. After a day or two, I reposted and changed the title to read “2003 Hyundai” and I upped the price by $250. Yeah that’s right, I upped it. I then got 1 serious call and 2 somewhat warm calls. The serious buyer ended up falling through because her dad bought a car for her (based on how excited she was when she found out she was the 1st to call and the 3 follow-up calls, I think she was telling the truth).

Then I realized that I had the year wrong on my car. I corrected and added the model in the subject “2004 Hyundai XG350L”. No calls. Not a one. Not even spam. What the hay? I even raised the price again, for fun. Sill nothing.

I then added more and more information about the location and how to get a-hold of me. Nope.

Then I took the model name out of the title. I changed the price back to the 1st markup and removed some of the location info and kept it very general. Still nope.

Then I received a weird call and the only question the guy asked for was the price. I answered, he hung up. I thought it was rude, but why didn’t he know the price? So, I decided to look at the ad through the eyes of the buyer, but using my mobile phone. Then I noticed a big problem. There was no price. The main one in the title wasn’t coming up and I originally thought it was redundant to have it in the post and the title. Big mistake. I then added the price in the title.

Eight hours later I got the call from the eventual buyer. Did they use a mobile device to look it up? Nope, but I learned a lot about testing out different ways of displaying an ad and what it takes to sell something. I only reposted the add 3 times over 2 weeks and changed the ad a bit a total of 5 times throughout the process. The car was priced at dealer levels and about $800 over what KBB.com says a private sale would go for. In the end I got exactly the price I wanted (not what it was posted at).

So, big fat hi-5 to persistance and the scientific method 😀

Today is actually when it sold, money in hand and I’m a tiny bit sad, kinda, sorta, not at all. Prof. X has moved on to wider lanes to roll, but honestly I was ready to move on. It was a fancy little booger, but fancy isn’t how we roll.

We’ll miss you little Prof. X, but there is a new tiny twerp on it’s way…and I’m so excited! But I’m probably jinxing myself…so shhhhh.

2004 Hyundai XG350L

What song would absolutely tie this post together for the “Song of the Post”?

Something that is my favorite (new car), somewhat hippie (new car), and named after the past (old car).

Xavier Rudd – Messages

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xv-yQK4_A4&w=420&h=315]


Paft Dunk

Random Access Memories will be release next Tuesday, but you can listen to the full album on iTunes through the preview button:

Search on iTunes DAFT PUNK, then click on Album Random Access Memories and then if u want to listen the full album for free just click on text(link) ”Daft punk” in left top corner then you will get in Daft punk albums preview -> click on album Random Access Memories and there will be in left part somewhere in middle picture of the new album and in this picture there is a button PLAY NOW and you can listen for free full 1h14m34s of this new album… PS sorry for my terrible english

The music for today is up there…in that quote. See it. It’s right there. Do it! It’s one of the only hours of your life you won’t want back. I’m listening to it right now and I’m on track 3: Giorgio by Moroder…so far so great (well I’m a bit biased)

But I’ll share this to get you excited:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr12u1tk_rM&w=560&h=315]