Balanced Team is Coming to Grand Rapids in 2015

Update February 2015: Tickets for the event are now on sale! Early bird tickets are available through mid-February; standard tickets will be available after that. Please visit the Balanced Team 2015 Grand Rapids website for more information. We’re excited you’ll be joining us. See you soon!

Many teams and organizations struggle with the question, “How can creative teams work together to produce valuable, validated outcomes in an environment of extreme uncertainty?” This is a tough question — and surely has no single answer — but it’s one that the Balanced Team group has been addressing head-on since 2009 through meetups, mailing lists, and conference presentations.

Balanced Team events have been held in New York, Boulder, Austin, and San Francisco in the last few years, and now it’s coming back to Grand Rapids. Brittany Hunter, Gail Swanson, Rick Harlow, Lane Halley, and I are excited to announce a Grand Rapids Balanced Team Summit on June 13 and 14, 2015!

We’ll be gathering around 100 multidisciplinary software practitioners with traditional design, business, and engineering backgrounds for two days of talks, fishbowls, and workshops. We’ll again be tackling the above question. Read more on Balanced Team is Coming to Grand Rapids in 2015…

Minimum Viable Product or Mediocre Value Prop?

Scott Anthony highlights the importance of building a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) compelling enough to steer clear of becoming a mediocre value proposition:

Sometimes, though, a Minimal Viable Product turns into a Mediocre Value Proposition. A company might introduce a product in the marketplace. A few customers find it interesting (you can always find a few customers). Results fall short of expectations, but the company says, “Well, it’s just a minimal viable product for learning.” The company makes a few tweaks, scales up spending . . . and falls flat on its face.

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Customer Development Mindset Reduces Waste and Risk

With a background of 7 years in agile development, I considered myself shrewd at decomposing software features and planning incremental releases. As I continue my customer development journey with duellr I continue to realize how much more aggressive I can be with the attitude of releasing less.

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Learning through Lean Marketing

Note: This post is a follow-up to a previous post on Evaluating Banner Ads Using CPI.

Earlier this Spring we ran a short campaign for duellr (an app designed to help designers and their clients make better logo decisions) with the said goal of assessing our product’s positioning and market-fit. We did this by directing targeted ads at a landing page and collecting emails from users interested in alpha accounts. The two metrics we were measuring were the click-through rate on our ads and the conversion rate of our landing page. Initially we tested ads in two major channels: and Google Adwords (with a $5.00/day budget). We also complemented our paid ads with some mentions of duellr on blogs (Spin, Rapid Growth) and Twitter.

I forecasted that we would be able to collect 39 emails from our Logopond ad (with an estimated CTR of .07% and landing page conversion rate of 3%). The actual CTR for our ad was .01% but our conversion rate was 11.5%. We collected 24 emails for the $250 ad, making our cost per acquisition $10.42. Our Google AdWords campaign faired worse. The $42 we invested resulted in only two email acquisitions. Click on the image below to view the Analytics report:

Read more on Learning through Lean Marketing…