Yesterday, our tech and products team greenlighted our going to market with a new product for the syndication of legal blog posts from the LexBlog news and commentary platform.
If this were a story from a business school textbook or a large company, I might share how we studied the market, looked at production costs, analyzed pricing and surveyed potential customers.
But I don’t believe that takes place in small entrepreneurial companies. I know it doesn’t take place at LexBlog.
This product came about from a dinner conversation at a conference with someone I had never met before.
After social conversation, he shared a challenge he was having. He wasn’t sure that he and his organization were taking the right approach. When he asked my opinion we got into a discussion of what if it did this or that? A half hour later he said let’s continue the conversation.
I had worked with organizations like theirs. We had done similar projects where the goals for the organization were similar. I had been stewing about a product that could do what we discussed. The product was something that I considered for a long time as an offshoot of the LexBlog news platform. I had a feel for how to price it.
So there was “something there” in my mind.
I get back to Seattle and, as usual, I’m all ginned up about this new product that we ought to be able to deliver in two or three months. Easy for me to say in that I don’t have to build something (leveraging our existing technology and platform) in a way that it will scale, prepare educational documents, price it right, support it, and be able to deliver it time and again.
Rightfully so, LexBlog tech and products wanted to clearly understand the goals, what’s the definition of success for us and our customer, what features would it need to include, what other customers might demand and more.
Products also went out and met with this potential first customer and their team. Wise move to nurture relationships among folks who were going to work on and deploy a first of its kind solution. We picked up some required features we would have missed from team members of the potential customer who were not in earlier discussions.
Then we had some “interesting” meetings in Seattle about how to do the development, how it would affect our product roadmap, and when we (I) could have this product to sell.
No matter how frustrated I may get at times, I have great teammates on the products, tech and operations side. They worked on this (and me) for months in order to come up with a deliverable and the timing for it.
Yesterday that green light came and it was pretty darn exciting. I was on the phone to two organizations telling them – one, I’m sorry that I couldn’t deliver as fast as I first thought and two, that we’re ready to move forward.
We’re not totally out of the woods yet. I know from experience with my team that this product will perform well and have tremendous customer support.
We just need to go through the project cycle to document processes, identify potential tech issues, work through education and support materials, and I am sure eighteen other things that I would glance over.
But from a dinner in January to a product we’re moving to market in November, that’s how a legal tech product gets developed at LexBlog.