Product strategy

Choosing the right product direction can make or break a company. Questions abound at almost every stage about what path to take, and how. For example:

  • What are the most important considerations when moving from an application strategy to a platform strategy?
  • How can the creation of a B2C product increase B2B adoption, rather than cannibalize it?
  • What features should be included/excluded in a freemium offering to maximize paid product adoption?

No industry outsider can come in and provide all the right answers. However, experience can shed light on the implications of various strategic decisions, as well as how to prepare for them. This is precisely the insight I bring to product strategy discussions, helping executive teams determine the right judgment calls.

Ben is LiveSafe’s go-to resource when the company is faced with an important product decision. He “sees the matrix”, and is exceptionally articulate in his translating it for the team and me. He’s been indispensable over the last few quarters as we synthesized our strategic vision and execution plan.
— Jeff Grass, Chairman and CEO of LiveSafe
 
 

Designing for user engagement

Design matters. In fact, it often is what separates the winners from the losers in any space. Regardless of whether you're B2B, B2C, mobile, SaaS, etc., driving higher user engagement is paramount to success. User engagement includes:

  • More frequent visits and measurable actions
  • Viral sharing and spreading adoption
  • Generating repeated behaviors and higher retention

Maximizing user engagement requires a deep understanding of behavioral science to tap into the psyche of your target user. I've worked directly with world-renowned leaders, such as Robert Cialdini and Robert Metcalfe, and incorporated theories from BJ Fogg, Dan Ariely, and contemporaries into an applied framework for driving user engagement in modern software applications.

Ben Foster is a truly innovative and unique human being. His expert knowledge about human behavior in the business context is second to none. He understands the importance of behavioral science, and how it can be applied to drive measurable outcomes, such as user engagement.
— Dr. Robert Metcalfe, Research Scholar at University of Chicago
 
 

PM practice & organization

Great products begin with excellence in product management and UX. Agile methods are the new standard for execution, but how do you determine your product backlog or roadmap priorities? I've crafted and implemented highly effective product practices for over a dozen tech companies, yielding important outcomes such as:

  • Balanced priorities across diverse product development investments
  • Pulling UX and Engineering earlier in the process as product stakeholders
  • Cross-functional alignment, transparency, and executive checkpoints
  • Use of lean principles to minimize wasted effort and guide design
  • Results-orientation tying product development tasks to company goals and KPIs
  • Being a world-class, metrics-oriented, product-driven organization

To accomplish these goals, I put in place -- with minimal overhead -- hiring standards, interview toolkits, vision and roadmapping processes, clear checkpoints for senior management, scorecards, dashboards, user research practices, software, workflow, communication tools, and whatever else is needed.

We needed a product expert to give us guidance on how to take our company to the next level. Ben jumped right in and has helped us create a collaborative process for gathering input, creating a product vision, and driving action with a product roadmap. We love having Ben’s perspective and experience guiding us.
— Josh Billigmeier, Director of Product Development at Fireside21
 
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