After 9 great months working with many startups, I’m joining one.
Over the past nine months I’ve been working as an independent product consultant, collaborating with companies in a variety of capacities — product design, product & company strategy, process & org design and a little bit of coaching along the way.
Since June I’ve gotten to work closely with 10 companies and I’ve met with over 60. As I suspected, the variety that consulting offers has provided a great, rapid, learning experience and also happens to offer an amazing amount of flexibility and great compensation. It also allows both you and the companies a way to feel out whether a longer term relationship makes sense for both of you, which I honestly can’t recommend enough.
While I was lucky to work with a bunch of great companies, none provided the right fit for me based on the kinds of challenges and product I was looking for. This was totally fine though, as I was really enjoying my setup. When I met Jonathan, the founder of a company called Nucleus, and the rest of the incredibly sharp, capable and thoughtful team he’d built, the urge to focus solely on one thing started to creep in. We decided to work on a small project together and both found the fit to be great, both with the product and the team.
Nucleus is building a smart intercom that will serve as the foundation for people to communicate seamlessly with the ones they care about the most — whether they’re in another room in the same house, in a completely different location (Hi mom!) or on the move on their mobile devices. The quality is great and more importantly, very fast and reliable, thanks to an engineering team made up of some of the WebRTC experts who helped build Google hangouts and stream the Super Bowl online for the first time. With this foundation, and hardware, in place in people’s homes, there are so many interesting opportunities to build additional experiences (think: baby monitor, security, music, photos and more).
As someone who’s keenly aware (and guilty) of letting things like texting and posting to Instagram/Facebook/etc. become a proxy for staying in touch with people, I believe deeply in building something that will help bring people closer together in a more human way — to make it as easy as possible for people to talk face to face, see each other’s expressions, share moments that they previously might have lazily dashed off a text message about.
“If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now.” — Kung Fu Panda 3 with some #realtalk
For me personally this is a great opportunity to do something I love again — build a product, a team and a culture and I have a lot of ideas I’m eager to explore for all three. Even better, while I get to leverage my previous experiences I also get to take on challenges that will be totally new to me.
While people say “hardware is hard” and I have firsthand experience of how true that is, it also presents challenges, for the user and the business, that continue to be very exciting for me. I’m also eager to see the stages of shipping hardware I missed out on my last go around — getting the product in customers’ hands and evolving it with them — as well as be a part of the growing community of great software + hardware companies here in New York City (Electric Objects, Jewelbots, Fifty Three, Little Bits, Canary, Ringly, Sols, Nrml to name a few).
With all that, I’m happy to say today is my first day at Nucleus as VP of Product and I’m overcome with excitement to be back building again. There’s a lot (like a LOT) to do before we ship late Summer and I’m actively building a Product & Design team to help us get there.
If you want to learn more about what we’re building and stay up to date with any developments, check out the site. If you’re interested in any aspect of creating an experience that exists at the core of people’s homes and families (experience with hardware a plus but not necessary), please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk. Onward!