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Instigator Blog

Lean Analytics, startups, angel investing, product management and more!

Last Build Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2016 11:30:41 +0000

Copyright: Copyright, Ben Yoskovitz. 2007.

Data should be the Common Language in an Organization

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 11:30:41 +0000

If I was to ask you what you do, I’m sure you could provide an answer. Most people lead with a title–“I’m an engineer working on software systems,” or, “I’m a senior marketing manager that drives marketing initiatives for our products.” Fair enough. That’s a reasonable answer. A much harder question is “Why?” Why do […](image)

The Startup Rollercoaster is Real

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 13:02:14 +0000

You know what’s hard?   Starting a company. You know what’s fun?   Starting a company. There’s something about the insane challenge that makes starting a company so incredible. Having said that, I really don’t enjoy being told I’m wrong, or that my plan/idea/approach won’t work. (I don’t know many people who like that!) And when people […](image)

Introducing Highline BETA – a Startup Co-Creation Company

Mon, 11 Jul 2016 11:55:58 +0000

Today, I’m launching a new company: Highline BETA. I’m co-founding Highline BETA with Marcus Daniels. I’ve known Marcus a long time and we’ve stayed in touch throughout the years. We’ve now found the right time and opportunity to work together. Highline BETA is something different. We’re a startup co-creation company. What does that mean? It […](image)

The Product Manager’s Portfolio

Thu, 09 Jun 2016 14:46:47 +0000

It’s not always easy for a product manager to explain her precise role in building product. Every company defines product managers differently, and a product manager’s output is sometimes difficult to see or quantify. Product managers tend to use success metrics as a baseline for their experience (e.g. “We increased conversion by 300%!”) but of […](image)

Product Strategy for Designers

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 17:34:50 +0000

On Thursday, June 9th I’m teaching a 1-day course on product strategy for designers. It costs $299 for a ticket (or you can get group tickets for your team). If you’re a designer or you know any designers, please check it out. I’m teaching the course for two reasons: Mary Treseler (our editor on Lean […](image)

Context Matters When Building a Great Product

Mon, 16 May 2016 17:40:55 +0000

What are your users doing right before they use your product? What about right after? These are important questions that can help you build a better product. It’s not enough to understand the pain or problem your product solves; you also have to understand the circumstances in which it helps. What time of day is […](image)

Optimize for Happiness

Mon, 25 Apr 2016 15:22:41 +0000

Last Friday, April 22nd was the 30th anniversary of my brother’s death. He died at 8 years old. I wrote about it a few years ago as a way of celebrating his life and remembering him. Time heals. But it still fucking hurts. Not surprisingly, it’s around this time of year that I really reflect […](image)

Assembling the Avengers (Or How Startups Evolve Their Team Structures to Scale)

Mon, 28 Mar 2016 13:00:16 +0000

Who doesn’t like the Avengers, right? The first movie was awesome. The second one was…still fun. And the Avengers are heroes. They saved the world. As startups scale they go through a few phases of team building. Where companies end up varies, I’ve been a part of a few different structures and spoken with many […](image)

The Manager’s Job in a Scaling Startup

Mon, 21 Mar 2016 13:40:02 +0000

As a startup matures people’s roles change. In product, you might start out working on every little detail, triaging bugs, helping design UIs, deciding on how every feature should work and more. In engineering, you’re coding and building stuff every day. Over time if you move into a “management role” you get away from the […](image)

Responsibility, Accountability and Levelling Up

Tue, 15 Mar 2016 12:52:25 +0000

In hierarchical organizations, levelling up is fairly clear–it means moving up the ladder from one position to the next. Those interested in doing so have a clearer path (although it’s not easy) to more responsibility. Hierarchies with lots of levels have all sorts of issues, but they do make levelling up more obvious. Startups are […](image)