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Distribute

Establishing a start-up product vision in preparation for user research & fundraising

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Challenge

Transform ideas into a strategic product vision

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Services

Discovery Sprint, User Research

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Outcome

Clarity on the opportunity in the market, unique value proposition and next steps for user research and fundraising

Distribute Platform - Wireframe

Client Background

The Distribute founder was an industry expert at B2B sales tools and saw an opportunity for disruption.

Andrew Mewborn, a seasoned sales professional, had used multiple tools to better manage, follow-up, and communicate with prospects. He saw how badly B2B sales professionals needed a centralized way to create and distribute content. Current solutions result in lots of wasted time creating and recreating one-off pieces of content. Existing platforms also lack a way to build a personal brand and don't have the ability to combine multiple types of content in a simple creation flow.

thoughtbot was selected as the product strategy, design, and development partner for identifying the most impactful first version and overall product direction - tailored for customer impact and business differentiation. In particular, Andrew wanted support in validating the opportunity and putting together the full story so he could continue user research and prepare for fundraising.

Quote from Andrew Mewborn, Founder of Distribute

100% would recommend thoughtbot to peers. They truly care about you building something that people love versus just trying to get the work done and move on to the next client.

Andrew Mewborn
Founder of Distribute

Challenge

Guidance on product priority and value proposition.

As an industry expert, Andrew had deep experience using a variety of sales tools in his day-to-day workflows. He had a tremendous amount of insight into what was working and the shortcomings. This expertise was a catalyst in identifying the user need the Distribute platform could solve.

The challenge he faced was prioritizing Distribute's feature set and then translating them into the right, high-quality product. The product needed to deliver high user impact but also be backed by a sound product architecture that could efficiently stand up a strong first version and also have the runway to scale in the future. Given there are a number of tools in the market, he felt engaging thoughtbot’s product expertise would be a great first step in figuring out how to stand out.

Guidance on the v1 Distribute product was the primary ask, but being able to deliver product best practices and mentorship on where to go next was another benefit we brought to the table. The goal of our engagement was to uncover the strongest product vision, while equipping Andrew with the roadmap to further validate his vision with target users. This would go a long way in building the strongest story for him to bring to investor conversations.

Distribute Discovery Sprint Working Session

Solution

A Discovery Sprint allowed us to dive in and form our action plan.

We kicked off our two week Discovery Sprint by working through product design sprint activities to inform our roadmap planning and prototype efforts. The first week was focused on getting up to speed on all his ideas, industry knowledge, and target user understandings which helped us collectively brainstorm solutions. Working together we outlined a problem statement, target user personas, and our key differentiators. It became clear that ease of use would be crucial for our product, so as we outlined potential solutions we kept in mind the need for the Distribute platform to be easily adopted by new users and provide long term value where competitors fell short.

With our foundational understanding of the problem to be solved and the target audience, we begin to lay out the priority of the critical path features: the profile page, video capture tool, and content creation, and management controls. This critical path became our storyboard for the clickable prototype which we brought to life in Figma. As we got to work building out our prototype, we kept track of our goals for each flow which informed our Research plan.

Quote from Andrew Mewborn, Founder of Distribute

The best part of my experience was how put together the thoughtbot process was. During the 2-week sprint we didn't just design a product. We put together a list of assumptions to create a hypothesis, then went through to validate the hypothesis.

Andrew Mewborn
Founder of Distribute

Outcomes

Ready for user research and fundraising conversations.

After translating our ideas into a product vision and corresponding prototype, the next step we suggested was for Andrew to test the prototype with industry experts and target users. We organized all assumptions we had about target users, flagged product risks to be considered, and documented the overall learning goals to be kept in mind while completing research. All of our ideas and instructions were packaged up in a Test Plan and Script for Andrew so he could hit the ground running.

From a product architecture perspective, as we prioritized and groomed the feature set, we summarized our technology recommendation including tech stack and third parties to be considered. Bringing all these pieces together in the final presentation equipped Andrew with the tools to continue user research but also a solid talk track and "ask" when approaching investors.

Products and clients are not one size fits all. thoughtbot has a sound process for product validation, strategy, design, and development but we understand our clients and their products come to us in different stages. When you work with thoughtbot, especially as a first time product founder, we spend a lot of time in the sales process understanding what work you have done, what support you need, and what resources will help you reach your goals. Then we adapt our proven processes to your unique business situation to deliver the outcomes you need. We are proud of the work we were able to accomplish with Andrew and the Distribute team.