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Business & Management | Product Prototyping - From Concept to Reality in a Weekend

Product Prototyping

From Concept to Reality in a Weekend

Feinleib, David

2014, 250 p.

A product of Apress
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  • Shows entrepreneurs how to build products fast, get them to market, and get users
  • Helps entrepreneurs avoid first-timer product-development mistakes
  • Covers the key success factors: Designing a great product, hiring developers and other contributors if need be, online marketing, reducing acquisition friction, and raising the capital you need to succeed.
  • Feinleib is a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He writes the well-read blog, VCDave.
Product Prototyping: From Concept to Reality in a Weekend shows you how to turn your product idea into reality. Nearly everyone has an idea for a product they could build or a company they could start. But pitfalls abound—even for experienced developers. Unless you've done it before, it's hard to know all the design, development, and marketing considerations you must take into account.

This book will show you how to hone your idea, find willing workers to help you develop web pages or apps inexpensively, refine the idea based on early feedback, manage the development process, gain users/customers, attract investors, and—in short—turn your dream into tangible reality. Whether you want to build the next hot mobile app, a web site, a desktop product, or a tangible device like a media player or toy, Product Prototyping shows you how. From designing your product screens or devices to getting users and buyers, you'll learn the key steps to rapid prototyping success while avoiding the traps that can snare even knowledgeable developers. You'll avoid losing precious time and money, for example, by learning the tricks to using outsourcing marketplaces successfully. You'll also understand how to build your prototype fast while designing it for future scaling and preparing for the transition from prototype to production. Most important, you'll find out how to get your first users, whether you're building a product for consumers or businesses.

Serial technology entrepreneur David Feinleib knows the ropes and, as a former venture capitalist, he knows what pleases investors. He also understands what is required in a product or service to get those critical early adopters and users—the customers who will come to your web site, pay for your product, and tell their friends and acquaintances all about it. Product Prototyping includes multiple real-world examples, actual project and product designs, screen mockups, and real-world marketing campaigns. Product Prototyping will:

  • Keep you from making rookie product-development mistakes that will slow you down or put you out of business
  • Highlight the product-development hurdles that require diligent planning to leap
  • Ensure you present the best possible product to investors or customers
  • Provide tips on reducing "adoption friction" and providing hooks to keep users coming back
  • Explain how you can protect your intellectual property
  • Crowdsource your product idea to be the first to market with the most users
  • Help you realize your dreams

Unleash your inner product guru and turn your product idea into reality in a matter of weeks or even days. Product Prototyping can help ensure you reach the finish line first, where glory and wealth await.

Content Level » Popular/general

Related subjects » Business & Management

Table of contents 


Part 1 – Get Started

Chapter One: Your Product In 30 Seconds

Build your product's marketing video and one page web site.

  1. Spend days or weeks—not years—testing your product idea
  2. Define your prototype goals
  3. Hone your idea
  4. Describe the pain point
  5. Write the video script
  6. Create the project description
  7. Get it built
  8. Promote it online
  9. Create scarcity and generate demand through an email signup page

Chapter Two: Design Your Product

Go from concept to reality in a day.

  1. Building a product: Where to start
  2. Know your audience
  3. Name your product
  4. Design your wireframes
  5. Write your descriptive text
  6. Create your project description
  7. Turn your wireframes into screens
  8. Rough out a schedule
  9. Prepare for implementation

Chapter Three: Crowdsource Your Product

Use the world's labor pool.

  1. Get your prototype built quickly and cheaply
  2. How to choose an outsourcing marketplace
  3. Hiring online marketers, designers, and developers
  4. Getting referrals
  5. Interviewing potential workers
  6. Choosing between teams and individuals
  7. Defining your project budget and schedule
  8. Coding it up yourself
  9. Dogfooding—using your own product

Part 2 – Build Your Prototype

Chapter Four: Great Design

What makes a great design?

  1. Make it easy to use!
  2. Focus on "one big feature"
  3. Eliminate friction
  4. Learn from the leaders: examples of great design
  5. What matters in prototype design: FourSquare vs. Gowalla
  6. How to hire a designer
  7. Separating design from development
  8. Leading with low-friction user on-boarding
  9. Building in viral user acquisition hooks
  10. Keep your users around—designing a sticky product
  11. 3D printers and other ways to make a device or physical item "real"
  12. Real world examples:Web sites (multiple), Facebook game, iPhone and Android apps, Desktop app, technical gadgets and devices (health monitoring, etc.)

Chapter Five: Smartphone, Web, and Desktop

Navigate the platform jungle.

  1. Choosing your platforms
  2. Development considerations for Web, mobile, and desktop
  3. Supporting multiple platforms
  4. Interfacing between mobile/desktop apps and web
  5. Mashups—designing existing services like Google Maps into your prototype
  6. Building social games—special considerations
  7. Integrating with Facebook, Twitter, and other services

Chapter Six: Rapid User Acquisition

Game mechanics, incentives, viral, and sharing. With hundreds of new products being launched every day, how do you get yours to stand out from the crowd?

  1. Making it easy and compelling to use your product
  2. How your product and marketing go hand-in-hand
  3. Design Zynga-like game mechanics into your app or site
  4. Make your product viral like Facebook
  5. Build marketing into your product
  6. How even the simplest prototype can support referrals
  7. Easter eggs—surprises that delight your users
  8. Capturing and understanding user metrics

Chapter Seven: Architecture and Infrastructure

Might seem simple for development pros, but not always. Planning for success.

  1. Domains and hosting
  2. Amazon Web Services, App Engine, Force.com
  3. Database design—why it matters and how to manage it
  4. Security and certificates
  5. Payments-Paypal, Amazon, Google, In App Purchasing, and others
  6. Serving ads in your app or web site

Part 3 – Manage Your Project

Chapter Eight: Manage Your Project

From developer to delivery.

  1. Setting goals and milestones
  2. Schedule and budget
  3. Communication approaches, tools, and frequency
  4. Feature prioritization
  5. Code reviews
  6. Individuals and teams
  7. Agile software development: benefits and potholes

Chapter Nine: Build, Test, Deploy

Tips and tools

  1. Ticketing/bug-reporting and the best sites to use
  2. Mobile deployment tools
  3. Redesigning
  4. How to share specs, screens, and feedback
  5. Getting user feedback
  6. Usability testing—directly and must-have, low-cost services
  7. Working with the big platforms—Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and others
  8. "Maker" tips and tricks

Part 4 – Get Your Product To Market

Chapter Ten: From Prototype to Production

Considerations, issues, challenges

  1. Making the transition—when are you ready, do you need to build from scratch?
  2. Make or buy physical items?
  3. Infrastructure, developers, and customers—differences between prototype and production
  4. Scaling considerations—what works and what doesn't
  5. Design documentation—why it matters and how to get it done efficiently

Chapter Eleven: Scale Your Users and Buyers

Get more users fast

  1. Getting your first users
  2. Word of mouth, advertising, PR, articles, how to pitch/package, and reporters
  3. Using Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, Articles, and a Blog
  4. Getting leverage when you can't do it all yourself
  5. Creating scarcity through a closed invite program
  6. Turning users and buyers into product evangelists

Chapter Twelve: Raising Money

Fund product development and growth

  1. How much capital do you need?
  2. What you need to show investors
  3. Where to get money
  4. How to get money
  5. What to spend your capital on
  6. How to approach angel investors, friends & family, and programs like Y Combinator, TechStars, and AngeliList, and venture capitalists
  7. The basics of incorporating, legal, and finance

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