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My framework for creating longer term roadmaps
As product managers (and product owners), one of our core responsibilities is to create, manage and own the product roadmap. Not only what we are planning to achieve in the next few sprints but also to be able to show what is a mid and long term vision for the product (or part of product) that we are responsible for. We don’t do this because our managers ask us to do so. We do it because the product is often in the centre of the business impacting many stakeholders. For example, the marketing team needs to prepare marketing campaigns to support new feature launches, customer support needs to plan for more support tickets when a big feature and redesign is planned and many others.
In this post, I’ll give you a framework that helps you create a longer term roadmap so that the dependencies mentioned above are addressed as well as the product managers aren’t forced to make unreasonable commitments.Read more
5 easy ways to find a startup idea
Getting the right startup idea that would be worth pursuing is, obviously, one of the most important steps in starting your business. I’m not a very creative person and coming up with ideas wasn’t always easy for me. And I was definitely not alone who was struggling with finding the right idea. If you are like me, I have a solution for you. Here are the 5 different ways that work for me when a need to come up with new ideas.
I’ve met two kinds of startup founders. The first type are the ones with a very vivid imagination, visionaries who are sometimes too impractical and therefore need to have someone who are very practical and business oriented by their side.
The latter guys are not very creative though and as I mentioned, I’d consider myself not creative as well. They enjoy implementing and executing already existing ideas into life rather than generating new ones.
Both types can experience difficulties with finding the right idea. Being too creative is also not very good sometimes, as you could come up with an extremely crazy solution for crazy guys like you who are so exceptional that the market they form will be tiny. Or you would even not be able to stick with one idea and keep changing it to make make it perfect.
Here are the 5 ways that help me find the right startup idea when I need it.Read more
Improve your startup pitch, avoid these usual mistakes
A startup pitch is usually your five minutes of glory that can help you attract the investors. Pitching your startup to them is often the only time you get when you are a first time founder and the investors don’t know you. They, on the other hand, hear a lot of pitches and you are “only” one of the many founders they have seen. It’s not a good starting position. But if you avoid making the mistakes that most less experienced entrepreneurs make, you increase your chances with the investors significantly.Read more
7 tips to help you win Startup Weekend
I should probably say “7 tips to help you maximize your chance to win Startup Weekend”, because if more teams follow my advice, there will only be a one winner anyway. And quite frankly, it still doesn’t guarantee anything because there are judges that decide and pick the winners. I’ve mentored a lot of teams on Startup Weekends over the past few years and I noticed that the top 3 teams have always had something in common. They succeeded in validation, business and product – what are the categories for judging criteria. Here are my 7 steps that help you succeed and maximize your chance to win Startup Weekend .
Two most important factors for my productivity
There are thousands of books and blog posts looking for a magic pill of productivity. They offer you an endless number of time management hacks in order to help you be productive. Instead, however, they often add a lot of small tasks to your to-do list that you can easily complete to feel productive, but they won’t bring you anywhere closer to your goal. As Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson talk about it in their book It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy At Work, making your brain focus on many more different things doesn’t help you produce more value.Read more
The right approach to validate your idea during Startup Weekend
No problem – no startup. Every successful startup solves a problem. Without a problem, there is no solution and therefore no business. If you want to succeed on Startup Weekend, you’ll have to quickly validate that your idea solves a real problem in order to have enough time to build the right prototype and prepare the business case. 95% of teams that I mentored during four or five Startup Weekends used the wrong approach to validating the problem and their ideas. Therefore, they had to double (or even triple) their effort if they wanted to fix it and still get a chance to succeed. I am going to quickly explain you what is the mistake and how to avoid it to validate whether your idea solves a real problem.
What to do if Airbnb host cancels your accommodation last minute?
Panic, stress and sweating hands. That’s how you could possibly feel when you have booked an expensive flight to the other side of the globe and your AirBnb host cancels your reservation a few days before the trip. Even though I love AirBnb for both business and personal trips, these things sometimes happen. It happened to me some time ago. I was looking forward to my business trip to New York, everything was planned well and the accommodation confirmed through AirBnb.
I was queueing for the immigration office in New York at the airport when I received a text from my host that the room wasn’t available anymore. Quite a #*&#%! feeling. However, it took less than an hour to get a new room and AirBnb also included some travel credit for my future trip as a sorry for the situation. No expensive airport hotel or looking for a cheap hostel on Manhattan didn’t happen. Many people keep asking what happens if the host cancels and many of the people that have been canceled on by the host didn’t do anything. And it’s so easy. Read further to learn how can you do it.
The Only Important Rule In 2016
I don’t like the New Year’s resolutions. In most cases, they are just wishes that never come true. I prefer having things organized and making realistic plans. For the past 6 years, I’ve been looking back at the year just ended, summarizing in and roadmapping – Is it even a word? It should be… – the new one. I did the same this year. However, the outcome was a bit different. I haven’t created any roadmap for 2016, just one rule to live by. And make sure that every decision that I’m going to make will follow it.
Don’t do startups that everyone likes
Let’s admit it. When you tell someone about your idea, you want them to like it. You are wired to crave for being liked all the time, whatever you do. And I’ve been the same, for now. I decided to change it, because I realized how toxic those words – “I LIKE IT!” – are. It happened quite recently.
Igor and I have been working on Mentegram for two years. It’s been an amazing journey with an amazing team and people we met. I’m still very passionate about it, because I see how we are going to help many people improve their mental health conditions and therefore their lives. I really like this mission that Mentegram has. Being able to improve health of millions is very inspiring and motivating. And that leads to a problem that we haven’t expected.
How I Delivered My First University Lecture
A long time ago, there was one very wise man who said that the best way to learn is to teach – “docendo discimus“. His name was Seneca and he lived in ancient Rome two thousand years ago. Have you ever realized how right he was? I have. And because of that, I’ve always been happy to help others. I can hardly say no when I’m invited to mentor startups at Startup Weekend or when someone just emails me and asks for an advice. I neither could say no to a friend of mine who runs a non-profit organization. Especially when he asked me to do two lectures about startups at the biggest university in my home country, Comenius University in Bratislava. It was a big challenge as well as an opportunity and I’m very thankful for that. Keep reading to learn what my lectures were about.