The Art of Product

Ben and Derrick chat weekly about building software companies.

About the show

The Art of Product is a podcast chronicling the journeys of two entrepreneurs building software companies. Hosted by Ben Orenstein and Derrick Reimer.

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Episodes

  • 79: Moving out of Alpha

    March 18th, 2019  |  28 mins 11 secs

    Ben shares that Tuple is now out of alpha and into beta, which is an arbitrary marker of stability and feature ability. The move is working as planned by serving as a way for customers to choose to opt in or out, depending on if they want it now or wait until it’s launched.

    Derrick choose to steer away from such labels with Level, but understands they might have been beneficial to clearly denote the product’s progress.

  • 78: Ultraworking with Sebastian Marshall

    March 14th, 2019  |  47 mins 1 sec

    We all freak out about things from time to time. Ben becomes neurotic about feedback, but fellow Tuple team members have different triggers that put them into a tailspin. Fortunately, Ben has found ways to better handle stress.

    In this episode, Ben and Derrick are joined by Sebastian Marshall, co-founder of Ultraworking. In previous episodes, Ben has mentioned Ultraworking and how he has benefitted from it.

  • 77: Reset Your Perspective

    March 7th, 2019  |  1 hr 25 secs

    Ben’s been checking in with Tuple users to find out how things are going. Things aren’t working perfectly with the product. Before this feedback, he was feeling pretty good about things. It’s not the feedback’s fault, but Ben focusing too much on it.

    Derrick can empathize with Ben because of his experience with Level. It takes just one negative outcome to have an irrational impact on your mental state. Reset your perspective!

  • 76: The Scotch Budget

    February 28th, 2019  |  28 mins 55 secs

    Derrick’s been on a startup roller coaster. It’s been one of those weeks for him. So, he’s grateful for Scotch! He just factors it into Level’s budget.

    Along the same lines, Tuple bought lunch today for its staff. It feels free, but Ben doesn’t think you can write off such expenses, even if you talk about business between bites.

  • 75: Lots to Be Grateful For

    February 21st, 2019  |  35 mins 35 secs

    Ben is thankful for Tuple’s success so far. It is helping companies improve efficiency and countries improve the quality of their residents’ lives.
    Derrick also expresses gratitude for companies being interested in his product, Level. He is setting up a specific team in Level and addressing concerns to convert them.

  • 74: The Only Way To Learn

    February 7th, 2019  |  35 mins 19 secs

    Do you lack energy or motivation at work? Ben tried a new service called, Work Gym from Ultraworking. He found it worthwhile and got a lot of work done on Tuple that he had been putting off for quite awhile. Tuple is about to reach a major milestone - recent PR deployments mean no more global list of online users.

    Derrick has also been addressing how to set up companies, teams, and individual users interested in trying Level. So, he hasn’t intentionally built any billing model into the backend of Level, yet.

  • 73: Helping Early Access Customers Get Value Quickly

    January 31st, 2019  |  40 mins 22 secs

    Ben has been experiencing a mix of emotions. Thanks to Tuple, his calendar is packed, and he’s getting more emails, people, and trials. It feels nuts, but it feels like things are working with the new product. It’s a crazy spot to be in, but it feels good. Every day, Tuple gains a little steam.

    Derrick feels the same way. He has started doing onboarding calls for Level. Now that he has done the Level demo a few times, his anxiety has subsided. Overall, people seem impressed with the product and interested in trying it.

  • 72: How to Know If a Product Is Ready

    January 24th, 2019  |  45 mins 56 secs

    Derrick set Jan. 21 as the date to start onboarding some pre-order people for Level. He is trying to keep things in perspective when it comes to both positive and negative feedback. So, he is preparing answers to address questions and concerns about the product’s features and functions, or lack of.

    Ben’s thirsty for more feedback, customers, and interaction. Fortunately, overall feedback for Tuple has been strongly positively. However, any negativity can be brutal. It’s a mental game. So, he tries to not fear feedback or let it derail progress. Instead, he focuses on celebrating successes.

  • 71: Beyond Alpha

    January 17th, 2019  |  42 mins 55 secs

    Ben has been busy. The alpha launch date for Tuple was Jan. 7. He was nervous about it, but so far, it’s going well. One participant said, “I’m sort of surprised you’re calling this an ‘alpha,’ because everything seems to work!” Ben was glad to hear it, but admits that’s not totally true. He’s still far from where he wants to be with Tuple, but is definitely on the right track.

    Derrick has been hard at work, too. He continues to develop Level and knows that there will be ups and downs with customers, functionality, etc. But, he continues to move forward and strives to help others solve problems associated with team communication.

  • 70: Refactoring UI: Concept to Launch

    January 10th, 2019  |  1 hr 15 mins

    If you listen regularly to the Art of Product podcast, then you’re probably familiar with the ongoing joke: How long does it take before we mention Steve Schoger and Adam Wathan? Well, today is your lucky day because not only do Derrick and Ben mention them, but Adam is once again their special guest.

    Adam is a software developer, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur. Also, he is the creator of Nitpick CI, host of the Full Stack Radio podcast, and author of Refactoring UI and Refactoring to Collections. He describes the process of successfully making, promoting, and selling courses on the Internet. Plus, Steve makes a special appearance to share his side of the story!

  • 69: Sound, Actionable Advice with Jason Cohen

    December 27th, 2018  |  1 hr 10 mins

    Derrick is away, so Ben welcomes Jason Cohen, CTO of WP Engine and four-time entrepreneur. Jason knows a thing or two about startups and mentoring them to achieve profitability and growth.

    Jason is a straight talker and tells it like it is to get to solutions sooner. He encourages bootstrap founders to find an advisor who aligns with their goals. You need to know how to take advice and use advice that is right for you and your business. Even if you get great advice, think for yourself!

  • 68: Creating Differentiating Features

    December 20th, 2018  |  30 mins 45 secs

    Derrick continues to make progress and work toward his self-imposed deadline for Level. He was able to implement and ship batched notifications for the product, which replaces the instantaneous push notifications you would get from a chat tool. It’ll probably be one of the key features to sell as part of the “Level” way. But he’s wondering how to leverage interesting features in marketing.

    Ben has been thinking about the same thing with Tuple. He wants to make some features of his product be a seperate, discrete entity that deserves its own spotlight. Capitalize on features!

  • 67: Refining Level Notifications and Tuple Alpha Users

    December 13th, 2018  |  36 mins 23 secs

    Derrick had an interesting week with Level. He focused on important features that will be a part of the product, including notifications dependent on team members’ jobs. Some may want more asynchronous and unobtrusive notifications than others. Level distinguishes configurable notifications based on different roles on a team. Notification policies seem simple on the surface, but are actually very complicated.

    Ben announced that November was Tuple’s best month ever for marketing! But now, he is approaching the alpha for Tuple and will focus his attention on product management. Ben wants to figure out what works and what doesn’t. After all, when you can see the wrong thing, the right thing becomes so much easier.

  • 66: TinySeed Updates with Rob Walling

    December 6th, 2018  |  45 mins 21 secs

    Ben and Derrick are joined by Rob Walling to share updates - their favorite part of most podcasts!

    It’s been a good week in Tuple marketing land. Thanks to Ben’s tweet announcing the release date for its alpha, his launch list goal was reached. He was surprised by how willing people were to help out when he asked them to do it.

    Rob is working on TinySeed, a startup accelerator for bootstrappers.

    Derrick provided a pre-order update on Level and plans to do direct outreach to those who ordered it to determine their level of interest for validation.

  • 65: Effectively Managing Launch Day

    November 29th, 2018  |  32 mins 6 secs

    Ben launched Habits for Hackers, a workshop that cultivates habits that lead to an impressive and fulfilling dev career. He incorporates books written by others and makes that content applicable to participants. He’s going to figure out the rest of the details for the course while flying by the seat of his pants. For now, Ben’s just bathing in the dopamine of watching numbers happen!

    Derrick has been doing some launching, too. He announced that the end of January will be the beginning of the Level launch and Level can now be pre-ordered (generated about $2,000 so far). Derrick admits that he’s always derailed pretty heavily on launch days. He doesn’t even think about trying to get much productive stuff done.

  • 64: Habits for Hackers

    November 21st, 2018  |  21 mins 51 secs

    Derrick shipped Level’s Daily Digest feature, which includes a summary of unread/read posts, sampling of posts/replies, and call to action. Also, thanks to Derrick killing it on Twitter, Art of Product’s social media presence is now legit!

    Branding and awareness of Ben’s Tuple pair programming tool has garnered interest from well-known companies. So, it’s time to set a deadline for Tuple’s alpha.