I'm beginning to understand what founders mean when they say that building a product is a rollercoaster ride. One day you're on top of the world. The next day you're doing a usability test.

We’re closing in on 100 usability tests now since Rocketr started making them a priority at the beginning of December. I’ve said publicly that these are the most humbling part of my day. It’s still true.

So while we are especially grateful for the warm receptions Rocketr got at SproutUp and DemoCamp – and the people who’ve been kind enough to voice their enthusiasm for Rocketr to date – we are spending increased amounts of time staring at bug lists, an ambitious roadmap, scarce resources, and a statistically-irrelevant data set. We’ve even come to an informal understanding on the team;

The more positive the signal, the more we need to reinforce the negative side of the equation.

And it’s working. We’re largely oblivious to anything except what users are demonstrating to us by way of their actions in the software. Inclusive of this approach to work, we’ve also added to our data competencies of late and are drawing some early conclusions about how people are using the system in aggregate (which we intend to blog about in detail).

While not an active user of their service, I enjoyed Dennis Crowley’s articulation of this part of the journey. He (quite rightly) reminds us that, “The hard part is building the machine that builds the product.”

I couldn’t agree more.

At Rocketr, we’ve extended the Jet Cooper design philosophy to help us build a machine that builds a product. The machine spins on 4 cylinders:

  1. Communicate through Design
  2. Ship. Ship. Ship. Ship. Ship.
  3. Listen to the Customer.
  4. Data is Truth.

As you might imagine, data ends up feeding our design decisions and we begin the process anew.

If I could leave those of you reading with one piece of advice, it would be to talk to your users everyday. It has become this strange addiction in my life. I know going into every conversation, that I won’t like most of what I hear… but I’m terrified of a world where all we do is re-tweet the occasional props we are lucky enough to get. One feeds the other and we’ve committed to focusing on the cause, not the effects.

And on that note, I’ve decide to make the Rocketr Feedback notebook (and it’s 127 constructive criticisms) public. Feel free to follow our progress.

  • Verne Ho

    If I could leave those of you reading with one piece of advice, it would be to talk to your users everyday. It has become this strange addiction in my life. I know going into every conversation, that I won’t like most of what I hear… but I’m terrified of a world where all we do is re-tweet the occasional props we are lucky enough to get. One feeds the other and we’ve committed to focusing on the cause, not the effects.