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Archive for the ‘Product Development’ Category

Simplest d3 + meteor example I could make

In Product Development on June 6, 2013 at 4:04 am

Learning meteor & d3 together – I wanted a simple example to build on. Since I didn’t find one, I’m sharing this.  The minimal (for me) was that it took advantage of the reactive data synced between client & server to affect something I drew with d3.

steve/simple-d3-with-meteor · GitHub.

Thanks to the following sources for their help

Moving on from Food on the Table & What’s Next!

In Business, Lean Startup, Personal, Product Development on March 14, 2013 at 9:05 pm

It’s been a great 3 1/2 years at Food on the Table, however it’s time for me to move on.  As you’d expect with a team and investors of this caliber, everyone has been very supportive of my decision. While this next phase will be without me, I remain confident that the work at Food on the Table will lead to great results.

Working closely with Manuel Rosso and our team for the last 3 1/2 years has been a tremendous experience. Out of that I’ve become deeply passionate about my Lean Startup experience & knowledge as well as having radically evolved how I do product development.

Now, the fun part! I’m using this time to collect evidence for two alternatives:
  • I’ll take on one or two consulting projects (Austin or remote) while validating some startup ideas; or
  • I’ll sign on in a new leadership role with an Austin team that is creating new products in conditions of extreme uncertainty (i.e. typically an early stage startup, but possibly a team in a larger org).

Regardless of which alternative, I’m looking forward to new challenges in building products that will continue to evolve my product development approach and give me the right dose of hands-on technical work.

As always, you can reach me at by sending email to any address at stevesanderson.com, e.g. harvestthisemail@

How would you benchmark the productivity of a lean-startup product development team?

In Lean Startup, Product Development on February 9, 2012 at 3:59 am

How would you benchmark the productivity of a product-development team in lean-startup?


In my experience at Food on the Table, we’ve been much more productive than any of the other early-stage startups I’ve been involved with. I believe that one of the causes is our pervasive use of lean-startup & feel as if we’re on to something important here. So, how can I (dis)prove this?

Uh, really?

I recognize the some of the inherent issues in my question:

  • no accepted standard to compare productivity
  • small sample size
  • what’s the impact of environment & how can it be separated
  • what does lean-startup have to do with this at all
  • etc.

… despite these issues, I’m still asking the question.

Ok, you might…

So if you’ve got some ideas how you’d benchmark product development productivity, and maybe how’d you’d take that to the next step, how to compare, then leave a comment below.


Webcast: How to Build a Lean Startup, step-by-step

In Business, Product Development on April 29, 2009 at 2:28 pm

O’Reilly and Eric Ries are doing an interesting webcast – Webcast: How to Build a Lean Startup, step-by-step. Having recently waded into this end of the pool – I’m getting a lot out of the whole lean startup idea. No great surprise, since it extends what I’m familiar with, from within product development, to all the streams of work that makes up a startup

Oh CouchDB, Why Do I Love Thee So…?

In Product Development, Product Ideas on December 21, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Ok, so why are my friends and co-workers noticing my minor obsession about CouchDB? There’s a few reasons. First, I have a long-term unlove-affair with RDBMS. Why?

  • I started off working in the UNIX kernel (V6 anyone?) and there’s no stinking databases in there… just some filesystem stuff
  • After learning and using C, I jumped to Smalltalk and like a newborn duckling, I was imprinted by the Smalltalk view of the world – which forever set my idea about persistent data + behavior.
  • Along the way, I bumped into Thomas Malone’s work on Object Lens and OVAL – which further evolved my thinking about collaborative work, semi-structured data and toolkits to enable end-users to compose their own tools; incuding the notion that not every object needs behavior- sometimes it’s just data (e.g. the archetypical business card is just some useful semi-structure data).
  • And finally – the cognitive dissonance between the relational model and the common OO / prototype-based languages / domain models was constantly bothered me.

Yes – I know they’ve been effective and have benefit in lots of scenarios, however…

Secondly, for a piece of ‘middleware’, CouchDB has great elegance and great congruence with the bevy of potential uses, i.e. it appears to afford us the possibility to think about our problem/solution domains and our softwares internal models in in very similar fashions – with some very interesting beneficial side-effects (e.g. eventual consistency, availability)

And finally, there’s some rumblings of a new application model all together – reminiscent of the agents buzz from over a decade ago, i.e. Chris Anderson’s Sharable apps – where a CouchDB instance is sufficiently capable to become an application platform and that via the synchronization model, multiple instances of an application could run in a distributed & isolated manner and then synchronize and migrate as needed to different environments, i.e. run locally on laptops and sync and migrate up to centralized servers and then back down as needed. Instead of a rigid & pre-defined deployment structure, it’s more of an organic ‘shape’ adjusting as needed. If this is a new degree of freedom, the potential is huge.

So, while I’m looking for the right opportunity to try some of these ideas out – I’ll continue this minor obsession and see where it leads.

Rails, Ruby and other Open Source Components – Better During the Downturn?

In Product Development on October 8, 2008 at 12:16 pm

With the economic downturn, financial pressures increases on technologuy budgets (whether commercial, large / small enterprise, startup or non-profit).Increased productivity + open source + prevalence in the ‘cloud’ (regardless of your definition of ‘cloud’) bodes well for the Rails + Ruby eco-system.I’m biased, as are the rest of us at FiveRuns – but we’re not the only ones saying this. 


In Product Development on July 28, 2007 at 5:24 am

So I’ve made the plunge and bought an iPhone. Half the joy is in using such a beautifully designed product – every aspect of the experience shows so much thought. I can only add my kudos, and continue to be frustrated at how low the standards are for so many products.


In Product Development on June 26, 2007 at 3:09 pm

So in the physical world, there’s tremendous constraints placed on a system by existing infrastructure. It defines and limits what can be done without significant extra resources expended – which means cost, complexity, risk, etc.

In a recent issue of Wired, there’s an article about how a new city in China is being designed with what amounts to a well thought out infrastructure optimized towards energy use

It’s an interesting contrast between that approach and the agile software approach of evolving the infrastructure (and the approach to infrastructure that’s true for most cities as well). Of course, the infrastructure in software is much more malleable than the physical infrastructure of a city – yet there are still great costs and challenges with evolving software infrastructure.

Why haven’t we figured out how to make this easier?

MacFuse – Sweet

In Product Development on June 18, 2007 at 11:12 am

Ok – so maybe it’s a sign of just how much a shiny-gadget-geek I am, but I love what’s possible with MacFuse (and MacFusion). For example, I have an existing website (at omnis.com) that doesn’t have a ssh account, so the only way to deploy / work on what’s there is via FTP. So when I need to work on it, I have to use FTP to push & pull code & data, but I don’t do it that often – so I’d have to right FTP client to do bulk transfer was a pain, etc. So now, turn on ftpfs via MacFuse and woila (as my 4 yr old says) – there’s the shooting match. Now, it’s an easy matter to bring it all back down locally, put in SVN (as it should have been years ago) and re-deploy to my new account at dreamhost.

No new functionality, just a greater ease of use – esp. since my muscle memory knows how to use either shell or finder interfaces to work with files.

Inspiration on patterns and paradigms beyond OO

In Product Development, Product Ideas on October 6, 2005 at 10:54 pm

A great audio program on experiential computing (IT Conversations: Ramesh Jain – Experimental Computing) and Ramesh’s related blog (Ramesh Jain’s Blog » Blog Archive » Events and paradigms) gives me some inspiration to on two important points:

  • Patterns in Oggidigaw – using the notion of events with their attributes of who, what, where (spatial), when (temporal) and how (causal) – as a type of data model for representing patterns.
  • What’s beyond objects: the notion of object-orientation has some strong limitations, one of which is the representation of time. There’s some useful thoughts here about what paradigm is beyond OO – is it event based (which by virtue of the what attribute may embrace and extend OO).