Personas: Companies Have Imaginary Friends Too

As a product designer, my goal is to create optimal experiences for a wide range of users. The BetterWorks product team works closely with managers, engineers, advisors and customers to assess new features and innovative solutions for driving operational excellence on our goal-setting platform.

But how do I learn enough information about our primary customers to create an interface that delivers the most user friendly experience? The short answer: personas. Personas are an incredibly powerful and relatively new concept. Companies like HubSpot provide tools for creating buyer personas and databases to help administer sales and marketing campaigns. We use personas to inform product design and development decisions.

It’s easy to over design and include too many bells and whistles. Personas help answer important questions, discover pain points, identify challenges, filter priorities, and ensure we are building features that lead to an optimal user experience. Personas are constructed to help the team focus and gain alignment so that design solutions meet specific customer needs. For example, are we creating a design that works just as well on a mobile devic…

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Customer Success Baked In

Helping other people be successful is very rewarding for me. Professionally, it’s really important to me that customers get value from the solutions I help bring to market. And I don’t just mean businesses getting results—which of course is important—but I mean individuals. I want to make sure as many people as possible are benefiting from any solution that I stand behind.

Being in business awhile, I know that building a great product doesn’t guarantee market success. Yet building a great customer experience can. Consider these facts:

A recent Huffington Post headline declares “Customer Service: The New Proactive Marketing.” The article cites statistics from the White House Office of Consumer Affairs that underscore just how important proactive customer service is as part of a revenue-increasing plan:

78 percent of consumers have ended a transaction due to bad service.
Loyal customers are worth up to ten times as much as their first purchase.
The probability of selling to a new customer is 5-20 percent while selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent.



The Future of Enterprise Goal Setting: Introducing BetterWorks

After being heads down for the past year, I'm excited to share that today we're moving the BetterWorks enterprise goals platform out of stealth mode and making it widely available. We’ve created a powerful and innovative goal-setting platform based on Goal Science™ thinking that helps enterprises drive operational excellence and provides powerful insights about how work gets done.

Joining us in driving the future of goal management is an extraordinary team of highly respected board members, including John Doerr and Bing Gordon from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB); former Co-Founder of Palantir and Founding Partner of Formation 8  Joe Lonsdale; Googler Emeritus Shona Brown; and former CEO of EchoSign and VP at Adobe,  Jason Lemkin.


Goals, Giants and Guac: My First Week at BetterWorks

As a native Southerner, I never imagined myself living on the West coast, let alone working in sales in the fast-paced technology world of Silicon Valley. But I did leave the comforts of “home” to join LinkedIn—first as an Executive Recruiting Associate before quickly moving into a Sales Development role.

The sales experience was both fun and hugely valuable because my job was all about connecting customers with tools and resources that would strengthen their brands and raise awareness for their causes. I was part of an awesome sales development team with well-defined and understood processes. So when the opportunity to move from a large, established company to BetterWorks came along, it seemed daunting at first.

Now that I’m here, I’m certain this is exactly the right place for me. I’m excited about the BetterWorks platform, the company’s vision and the incredible talent behind it all. I’m helping build the Sales Development team, bringing people and processes into place that help scale our business. I’m loving the daily opportunity to “nerd out” about the psychology behind Goal Science and how goal setting can make individuals more effective at work.

So how …

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Developer Note – Python ‘Evidence Net’

In our first developer note post, we discussed how automated security can help enterprise platforms enhance protections and safeguard apps. Now, we describe an architecture to make inter-app events more capable and robust.

Putting Django Signals to Work

When we set out to build an event/notification architecture for our app, we wanted to accomplish:

Separation of concerns — Our primary app should only produce signals and not be concerned with what happens to those signals in other apps
Traceability — Developers should be able to figure out cause and effect relationships between the core app and the signals produced
Scalability — As the business logic of our app and number of models increases, the infrastructure should provide a platform for a large number of signals and conditional logic.

Our first solution incorporated conventional wisdom and advice from multiple sources, including, and kept business logic in places where developers could immediately see what happens next. We sent signals in our model methods so that notific…

What are your goals

Reduce the Ramp - Setting Goals for My First 30 Days as a Product Manager

When I joined BetterWorks several months ago as a product manager, I knew there would be little time to adjust to the new working environment. Everyone was heads down and I wanted to add value on day one. So here’s how I aggressively worked to reduce the ramp.

Much of the advice around successfully onboarding at any company centers around a series of tasks broken down into 30, 60, and 90 days. But I know a product manager job rarely entails just completing a task list. Responsible for getting high-quality products built, product managers need to lend a hand to make sure the right things get done. Sometimes we need to help teams get their house in order. Sometimes we are asked to be designers or marketers. Other times, we are primarily data analysts. And often, we need to do all of the above.

So to reduce the ramp for my new position, I used a framework from an unusual source — Donald Rumsfeld. He is credited with saying:

“There are known knowns…there are known unknowns…but there are also unknown unknowns.”

This was a great framework to help me be more flexible a…

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