Planyard is a construction budget management and cost control software for main contractors and full-service design companies.

We had been using the name Fizure for a couple of years. However, it had some major downsides:

  • it was unpronounceable over the phone (outbound sales is one of the main channels for us);
  • it had some negative connotations (“a crack in the road”);
  • it was not tied to the industry we were serving (i.e. to construction).

We had even some customers and partners who tried to pronounce the name in three different ways during the same call.

So, a bit reluctantly, we…

Over the years I’ve seen hackathons from all kinds of angles — I’ve participated in them (and won one of them), I’ve helped to organize some and been a mentor in others.

Some of them have been open to everyone while others have been internal (i.e. for company employees only).

Most have been held in physical locations but some have also been virtual (one with over 12,000+ participants from all over the world).

Now, after leaving Pipedrive (and Pipedrive becoming an unicorn), I’ve had some time to reflect on what makes for an effective internal hackathon and what they can…

Here’s a short overview of the most interesting bits I heard at Ready to Launch (a Slush side-event for product managers).

The participants


The first-ever Salto Growth Camp just wrapped itself up. It was an amazing 72-hour accelerator for early-stage startups where I had the luck to participate as a mentor.

There were 14 companies from martech, transportation, fintech, edtech, and other industries from across the world. The startups were chosen from more than 150 applications.

The event took place at Fabrika in Tbilisi, Georgia. It’s basically a uber-hip mini-city (similar to Telliskivi in Tallinn) with a hostel, designer shops, co-working space, restaurants, and bars. If you’re planning to visit Tbilisi, I’d recommend considering it as your base.

Ever encountered this situation?

The conversion rates are down.

People in the marketing department are getting a bit anxious.

Then the C-level gets anxious.

Until someone has an idea: “Let’s do AB testing!”

People get excited.

The whole marketing team gets together and brainstorms for possible AB tests.

“Let’s change that headline,” says someone.

“Let’s put a video above the fold,” says another one.

“Let’s use gifs instead,” says the third one.

“Let’s lose the hamburger menu,” says the fourth one.

All those ideas are then put into a list. Each idea in the list is rated.

The ratings look…

Every time you add a person to support, it’s a product problem.

Every time you add a person to sales, it’s a product problem.

Every time you add a person to customer success, it’s a product problem.

Every time you need to answer customer questions, it’s a product problem.

Every time you see an increase in churn, it’s a product problem.

Every time you rely on marketing for onboarding, it’s a product problem.

Every time you see low retention rates for a feature, it’s a product problem.

Every time you rely on paid advertising for growth, it’s a product problem.

Fast growth companies often face this question — should we fill a position with someone from inside the company or get someone experienced from outside. The two graphs below will help illustrate when to choose one or the other and where Intel did right, and Nokia went wrong.

Lessons from Intel — In Uncertain Times Hire for Cultural Values

In High Output Management Andy Grove (the then-CEO of Intel) brings out the following point — if complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity (the CUA factor) are high, then make sure there’s cultural fit.

From “High Output Management” by Andy Grove. CUA — Complexity, Uncertainty, Ambiguity

Hire from the outside only when you are certain that cultural values are an exact match and the person fits…

Onboarding companies and teams is not the same as onboarding individual users. It’s harder. In fact, it’s exponentially harder — either you convince everyone in the team or lose the entire team.

Several (or all people) in a team might have the power to veto a new tool. Furthermore, according to conversion theory of minority influence, a small minority (without actual decision-making power) might change the minds of the majority when their problems get validated. Either to resist change or to introduce it. In the popular discourse, these people are usually labeled as the “vocal minority”.

What adds to that…

A common way of developing software is to use acceptance criteria for tasks or user stories. When things are simple, it works fine. But with more complex tasks it tends to break down from time to time. Especially when dealing with moving data between different services.

However, both PMs and developers tend to take the short route and end up with a bunch of bugs. A small change in thinking is required to get it right.

Let’s say we want to start sending out messages to new users via Intercom. …

…or how I started going to the gym again after 16 years.

I started reading the book just a couple of months before a week-long trekking trip to Alpes-Maritimes. By the time I finished, I had just over a month to get in shape.

But before I describe how I did it, let’s go over the lessons from the book — because this is what helped me in getting into regular exercise in the first place.

About The Authors

Switch” is the second book by the Heath brothers. It was preceded by “Made to Stick: How Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” and superseded by “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.”

Meelis Ojasild

Head of Growth @ Ex-Pipedrive and ex-Amazon. Will occasionally comment on growth, product, marketing, and tech. @teemast on Twitter.

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