My name is Alan and I build upon Consumer Behavior, Jobs To Be Done and Lean to develop techniques for customer development, research and product design.
I work with product teams and entrepreneurs to incorporate these techniques into their organizations and build successful products.
I wrote my first program when I was 12 and started my first business shortly thereafter. For most of my life, I've been a product designer and engineer (hacker).
After receiving my MFA, I moved to NYC and immediately started my first business.
Over the last 10 years, I've developed a proven record of making products successful and helping others make their products better.
What I enjoy most is taking a hands on approach to conceptualizing, operationalizing product strategy and leading both engineering and marketing efforts.
I also have experience managing products at every stage.
Over the last several years, I have focused on how to apply cognitive psychology and customer development techniques to product design.
Successful product design begins with knowing how to interview and understand the situations and forces which drive a customer to or away from products.
For anyone designing a product, nothing is more dangerous than letting abstractions and assumptions creep into your process.
A product designer's job is to take in the mountain of information and distill it into the few things that really need to be done.
I write mostly about interviewing customers and the techniques I've created to facilitate team discussion when building and improving products. Sometimes, I'll write about interesting engineering solutions that I implement.
Currently, I write on Medium.
I also started and edit the Jobs To Me Done Medium Collection.
For my older writing, see my Blogger account.
The above image is from the article 5 Tips For Writing A Job Story
...Job Stories are great because they make you think about motivation and context and de-emphasizes adding any particular implementation. Often, because people are so focused on the who and how, they totally miss the why. When you start to understand the why, your mind is then open to think of creative and original ways to solve the problem...
...Personas and User Stories made sense when customers and product teams were far from each other. Thats no longer the case...
...Personas have destructive effects on an organization. As each each team member reads a persona, they will subconsciously fill it with their own assumptions which differ from everyone else...
...There is, however, something else going on when we start with questions like the ones above… besides asking easy, non threatening questions, our goal is to help our customers, not only remember, but to get them used to the feeling of remembering...
...Without knowing how to observe customer behavior, talk with customers, analyze situations and then distill a Job To Be Done, a team will trip into gaps — squandering customer development efforts. When this happens, the product team is at great risk of wasting money and opportunity — often without knowing it...
...The promotion of the iPhone, along with the marketing that came before it, focus on situational segments and not customer or market segments. A situational segment is a collection of tangent jobs that someone wants to get done...
... but your data says that your customers just don’t express an interest. Instead, your data (customers) tell you to improve existing features. When you talked with your customers, let’s think about the responses you got and the responses you didn’t get....
Not long ago, I was interviewed by the team at JTBD radio. It was a lot of fun.
After listening to this 45 min interview, you'll have a better idea of how I think and how I like to work.
(p.s. it really starts kicking off about about 10-15 min)
Starting Q2 2014, I'll once again be accepting offers for consulting and full time work.
I'm also happy to talk with anyone who is interested in discussing:
Email me at email@example.com