Thanks for reading my blog. I hope my writing is helpful to you. I’m passionate about self improvement, leadership, and building great products, which is what I usually write about.
I believe in making things better than I found them and want to share what I have learned from some of the best product minds in Silicon Valley and beyond.
I love helping and learning from others, comparing notes and trading book recommendations (I read ~25 books a year), so please feel free to contact me on Twitter @Evanish or at evanish dot j at gmail dot com to share feedback, a book, or to say hi.
Currently, I’m the founder of Lighthouse…
Lighthouse helps managers be great leaders. In today’s labor market, you cannot afford to lose your best people, but bad managers are one of the biggest reasons people leave companies. If you’ve ever sat frustrated at your desk feeling like no one is listening to you or had a team that didn’t respond to you, you’ve felt this pain.
I’ve created a framework based on what I’ve learned from studying and interviewing great leaders. It has helped me retain and develop great talent on my teams and now that process is a product to help you as well. You can sign up to learn more at GetLighthouse.com and learn about management and leadership on our blog at GetLighthouse.com/Blog, or take one of our courses at Lessons.GetLighthouse.com.
… and I’m doing Product Consulting to help Product-minded Founders & First PMs
For over a decade, I’ve been a B2B SaaS founder focused on product, and an early stage product manager, always focused on the quest for product-market fit and launching new software products.
I know how hard it is to get your first 10 customers, and the steep learning curve and major pitfalls that come with being a first PM. That’s why I’m offering a limited number of slots to help coach product minded founders and first PMs to help with:
Product Cycles: If your team has timelines that always slip, have more bugs or last minute changes than hoped, and doesn’t meet customer needs & sales expectations.
Product Process: If you’re a founder lacking time to coach and develop your first/junior PM who is struggling, or you don’t have enough time or lacking some skills yourself for the product responsibilities you have as a busy founder.
Product Problems: Or you face any of a variety of product challenges: Churn, low product engagement/NPS, product/market fit questions, getting early-adopters, or siloed departments in conflict with the product team.
Any of these can sink your company at the worst, or at the least waste costly engineering cycles, all while damaging morale.
Why take the long way, learning by trial and error, when I can help you jump right to a solid answer?
It’s exactly what Mario Minnaert, Product Owner at Higher Learning Technologies, did when I helped him:
“Over the past two and a half years, Jason has mentored me on customer development, communication, stakeholder management and countless other aspects of being a customer-driven product leader. Because of his mentorship, I’ve become our platform lead, the senior manager of customer experience, and was recently voted as MVP by the team at our startup in Iowa.
It’s clear that Jason has a learner’s mindset and is an expert on leadership, but above all, I’m constantly blown away by his ability to quickly understand my problems and his strong desire to help me learn and grow as a PM and person. I’ve saved months and years of future mistakes from talking to Jason and listening to his advice.
I would highly recommend Jason as an executive, product lead, manager, or coach at any company and if I ever had the opportunity to work under him, it would be a no-brainer.”
I’ve been there and done that, whether bootstrapping my startups, or helping venture backed startups:
- Scale from hundreds to thousands of customers in a competitive market
- Validate an opportunity that becomes a million dollar + per year business line
- Overcome the challenges that come with going from “we have a great idea” to “we have a cohort of early adopters or design partners that love what we’re doing”
- Get to the root cause of crippling churn, communicate to customers in crisis, fix low product team morale, and transform how the company listens to and interacts with customers
If you’re nodding along to some of these challenges, and want to change, then sign up for a free call here, because I’ll do my best to help you whether you’re a fit for coaching or not.
In the press:
I’ve been fortunate to have some really cool press coverage and interviews. You can see some here:
Jason Evanish shares his process for understanding customers
– ProductPeople.TV Interview (Part II) with Kyle Fox and Justin Jackson March 27, 2013
Jason Evanish moves to San Francisco
– ProductPeople.TV Interview (Part I) with Kyle Fox and Justin Jackson March 20, 2013
How to Interview Customers
– Mixergy Interview with Andrew Warner August 16, 2012
Catching up with Young Mass Innovators
– WGBH Boston’s Innovation Hub with Kara Miller March 25, 2012
Boston’s Young Entrepreneurs
– WGBH Boston’s Innovation Hub with Kara Miller December 3, 2011
For Facebook and Zuckerberg, location matters
– NPR Market Radio by Curt Nickisch November 7, 2011
Facebook Founder Gives a Shout-Out to Boston
– NPR on WBUR Boston by Curt Nickisch, November 1, 2011
A Need-to-Know Guy: How one young Bostonian became a networking king
– Fast Company Magazine by Curt Nickisch, November 2011 Issue
Unlimited Vacation, but can you take it?
– The Wall Street Journal by Sue Shellenbarger, July, 20, 2011
Person of Interest: Jason Evanish
– Boston Magazine by Curt Nickisch, July 2011 Issue
Great work you’re doing here and at Greenhorn. Speaking with my colleagues this morning about a way we can work together. Trying to find your number so I can talk with you via phone… I know, old fashioned… I’m at NCIIA Headquarters: 413-587-2172.
First and foremost, thank you for the excellent and inspiring work you do at Greenhorn. I am a new entrepreneur working on a very exciting startup ecommerce company. I was introduced to Greenhorn and have learned alot from its articles and overall content. I was hoping to talk to you about the company and share with you my ideas and my obstacles. I hope that I will hear from you and will inspire you with my new idea.
Last Thusday I breifly met you at Mead Hall. You may recall I am the “designer/hustler” at NeighbFav.com
Today I was reading Fast Company and saw the featured article about what you are doing in the Boston community. Props on what you are doing and making the tech community more accessible. Hope to see you around in Boston soon.
Good luck with your project. There’s obviously some real monster startups with a head start on you, but that never stopped Google in their early days.
Remember that nothing matters more than team; with the right team you can accomplish anything, while an imperfect team can be crippling. I feel very fortunate to have a great team to work with at Greenhorn Connect and hope you are able to build a great one too.
Just finished watching your course on Mixergy.
Giant kudos. You delivered a ton of value. I really appreciate your enthusiasm.
My wife and I are considering a new direction after 5 years online, and I was designing a rough process in my head like you outlined for interviewing potential customers. You confirmed that the basics of what I was thinking are right on, but more importantly: you gave me all sorts of insights. Surely saved me a ton of time and improved the process before I even got off the ground.
You’re also a great spokesman for the vision of KISS metrics.
Keep rockin it.
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I’ve been reading your article about living in San Francisco, and I noticed the part about the rental prices.
I’m moving in to San Francisco with my wife next September, and I’ve checking the rental prices on some websites (Ex. zillow.com) and I found some good looking apartments for as much as 1,000$ per month, which is very different from the numbers you mentioned.
It would be very helpful if you tell me if there’s some sort of trick or some hidden costs that makes prices this low on the mentioned sites?
I don’t know what part of town you may have been looking in, so that’s tough to answer. All I can tell you is that I used the sites I listed in my post and I focused on places in the northern half of the city, which are the most expensive but also the most urban environments: http://jasonevanish.com/2012/05/20/sf-startup-survival-guide-how-to-find-an-apartment-in-san-francisco/
Good luck on the move!
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I’m moving to SF this summer. Thank you, Thank u for the tips.
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Hi there Jason,
I’m living in San Francisco starting in September of 2014. I’m looking forward to the experience and I believe these tips come in handy.
Jason, Thank you for your tips on SF. As a recent grad, I hadn’t thought about LL references, etc. Your review was extremely helpful. Thanks for taking the time to write. I’ll be moving to SF in October.
I loved your tips on SF. I have lived here since ’76 and I did indeed have a few laughs. You did mention layering, as in : bringing a jacket, always. But it is best to think that it will be 10 degrees warmer with every mountain range you go over eastward. Also, when moving here from Chicago I was always out of step when clothes shopping. Our seasons do not line up with the fashion industry. If you want a new swimsuit you won’t find it in the stores when it is hot. Winter coats will be long gone before you need one. So buy it when you see it and save it for a month or two. Otherwise you are right on. I hope you are enjoying your new found wings.
I am moving to San Francisco in a couple of weeks and I had no idea where to start with the whole moving process so my friend sent me a link to your blog and reading your articles has given me a plan of attack. I hope to find something soon, even if it a couch to crash on so I can go hunting for apartments.
Thanks for the awesome tips, I feel less hopeless than I did an hour ago!
I’ve been reading your post https://jasonevanish.com/2012/01/18/how-to-structure-and-get-the-most-out-of-customer-development-interviews/ and wanted to ask you something (not sure why comments are disabled).
I was reading: “As you commit yourself to getting outside the building to talk to your customers and truly quest for Product-Market Fit” and then I wonder, how do you speak to them exactly?
I’ve been trying to cold call who I think might be my customers but they are very hard to reach or almost impossible. A lot of cold calling and almost no results.
So I was wondering if you have any information about how to get to the point to ask the questions in the first place :)
After that I saw the questions to ask “What is your name and role at your company?
How do you fit into your company’s department structure? Overall in the company?
What is your budget like? Who has to approve your purchases?
How do you discover new products for work? Do you need any approval to try them?
Have you tried anything new recently?
What is a typical day like on your job?
How much time do you spend doing [task X]? (Task X being anything they mentioned in their typical day that stood out)”
But I’m not sure how many people will be willing to take such a long time answering these questions if I have hard time saying “hello” to them?
Cheers and thanks
Comments are disabled because spammers ruin the party for everyone :(
Here’s where you can find some better ideas than cold calling: https://jasonevanish.com/2013/08/11/95-ways-to-find-your-first-customers-for-customer-development-or-your-first-sale/
Hope that helps.