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.

The Art of Product on social media


  • 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.

  • 63: Running Successful Early Access Programs

    November 15th, 2018  |  34 mins 26 secs

    Ben and Derrick were hoping to share a great conversation they had with author, designer, and consultant Paul Jarvis. But, without warning, all was lost when Paul’s audio for the episode could not be saved. The plan is to have Paul back on the show in a few weeks.

    Everything else is going pretty well for Derrick, who provides an update on Level. He met his goal and launched the Level Early Access Program two weeks ago. When it comes to testing Tuple, Ben plans to prioritize people early on who have good bandwidth and help guide them to be successful when using the tool.

  • 62: Avoiding Negativity

    November 8th, 2018  |  38 mins 5 secs

    Derrick had a productive week with Level. His deadline of late October to have alpha users try it was looming. So, he has been a bit stressed out. But thanks to relaxation techniques that work for him, Derrick was able to talk himself off the edge!

    Ben understands the needs for coping techniques. When little things in his personal life aren’t under control, it’s much harder for him to be productive at work. Every thing’s interconnected.

  • 61: Unconventional Growth Tactics with Julian Shapiro

    November 1st, 2018  |  1 hr 12 mins

    Ben is working on marketing plans for Tuple and it’s associated Pair Programming Guide. So, what does someone he admires think of his growth and content marketing plans?
    In this episode, Ben’s special guest is Julian Shapiro, who shares lesser known growth tactics he has used in his content marketing to be successful.

  • 60: Celebrating the Small Wins

    October 25th, 2018  |  26 mins 33 secs

    The feeling of accomplishment you get from doing hard things has become Derrick’s way of living recently. Building a startup like Level is hard, but he feels good when he makes small wins. It’s rewarding when he makes progress.
    Ben is on a roll right now with Tuple. He’s making progress and getting stuff done. His Pairing Programming Guide is turning people into Tuple subscribers.

  • 59: Pros and Cons of Working Alone on a Product

    October 18th, 2018  |  41 mins 58 secs

    Adam Wathan, a software developer, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur joins Ben and Derrick on this episode. Adam is also the creator of Nitpick CI, author of Refactoring to Collections, and host of the Full Stack Radio podcast.
    Usually isolated and working alone, Adam enjoys the opportunity to chat with others about what everyone is working on. It’s like a mastermind session that’s fun and rewarding!

  • 58: Evolving Roles as a Startup Founder

    October 11th, 2018  |  56 mins 38 secs

    Ben and Derrick are joined by Brian Casel, podcaster, cofounder of Big Snow Tiny Conf, and known as “Mr. Process.” The three are fans of podcasts and conferences because they offer time to build relationships with people and talk deeply about things.

    In this episode, they share their updates and thoughts on involving others in their day-to-day processes. It brings everyone together to learn from each other, as well as build a community and consensus.

  • 57: Finding the Right Marketing/Product Balance

    October 4th, 2018  |  52 mins 44 secs

    Ben recently returned from an entrepreneur retreat that featured sessions and activities focused on various topics, from projects people were working on to troubles with cofounders. Attendees were able to be honest, open, and transparent with each other. Ben had the opportunity to demo Tuple during the retreat. Feedback was that there are too many people working on its development, so he should focus on marketing.

    Derrick emphasized the importance of keeping in mind the cost of getting someone caught up to speed on a project. He has thought about hiring a contractor to help with the development of Level, but decided that his single brain was enough.

  • 56: Finding Your One Thing

    September 20th, 2018  |  26 mins 12 secs

    Ben is back from retreat #2 for Tuple. It may not have been as good as the first retreat, but was still above baseline productivity. The team worked on refactoring the app. Then, he went to CocoaHeads, which is for MacOS X and iOS developers to discuss Apple's Cocoa and CocoaTouch.
    Derrick will be speaking about Level at the local Elixir meetup. He is excited to dive deeper into using Elixir and reading books about it. Then, he plans to share what he learns and encourage others to not be intimidated by more powerful concepts in Elixir.

  • 55: The Entrepreneurial Rollercoaster

    September 13th, 2018  |  24 mins 36 secs

    Derrick is in Washington for ElixirConf. Like Elixir, he is becoming more comfortable with stability, as opposed to constant churn and new stuff all the time. He knows you have to show restraint to try and not solve every problem. While at the conference, Derrick wants to make connections with people and hopes Level will one day be a good use case example for the Elixir community.

    Ben is discovering that startups are not easy. There are a lot of ups and downs. While other people were enjoying Labor Day, Ben was actually being a boss and getting work done. He may not have worked on the highest priority, but on a task that was satisfying to work on.

  • 54: Continuous Learning

    August 30th, 2018  |  31 mins 42 secs

    Ben has been focusing on MacOS development and writing code. There’s so much he doesn’t know. But that’s ok. He strives to regularly learn things - just keep making progress for it to feel less intimidating.
    Derrick has the same mindset. It’s ok to not know everything. Start with the basics, and keep going. You’ll figure things out eventually.

  • 53: Launching with Justin Jackson

    August 23rd, 2018  |  41 mins 2 secs

    Today’s guest, Justin Jackson, just launched a podcast platform called, Justin describes the time he spent working with co-founder Jon Buda to get it ready to go live. Launching involves a lot of energy and emotion with ups and downs.

    Whether working on your own or with someone else, Justin encourages you to take time away to work on something to focus on it and make significant progress.

  • 52: Tuple Native App and Level Inbox Workflows

    August 16th, 2018  |  25 mins 40 secs

    Ben is back from a productive retreat with his Tuple co-founders. It was deep concentration work that didn’t feel like a chore, but a feeling of joy. They experienced a milestone - scrapped the electron-based version of their app to work on a native functional prototype. There’s a ton more to do, but it basically works. The pieces are coming together.

    Derrick understands the foundation required to pretty much get anything done with a new product. He is considering a future retreat, but wondering if the benefits are worth it to go off somewhere as a solo founder. The most critical item on his radar and one of the biggest unknowns he continues to battle is how the mechanics of Level’s Inbox will work.

  • 51: Recast - The Origin of Level from Startups for the Rest of Us

    August 9th, 2018  |  35 mins 27 secs

    Ben is out of town on a retreat with his Tuple co-founders, and Derrick is deep into building Level. So, this episode features Derrick as a recent guest on the Startups for the Rest of Us podcast. Rob Walling interviews Derrick about Level - what inspired the idea and how he went about trying to validate it.

  • 50: Doing the Hard Things First

    July 26th, 2018  |  32 mins 10 secs

    Derrick continues to reinvent himself with his new product, Level, and sporting a, “I work for myself beard.” He took a vacation to canoe and camp instead of code. It’s always a refreshing experience for him to get away from work from time to time. Now, Derrick is back to writing code and organizing tasks in Levelland.

    Ben also went on vacation, but before doing so, he realized no sales for Tuple had come in that week. So, he made an effort to call prospective clients and was able to sell six annual licenses. Now, like Derrick, he is working on things that are hard to achieve. But if they can make them happen, then they will be really good.