Showcase — from concept to launch.
Exchange your entire portfolio in under 5 seconds, just by touching phones. Stay connected with the people you meet with Showcase.
Product Owner, I led a cross-functional team of 5 for all products across mobile, web, and marketing platforms.
The task was to create a way to exchange your entire portfolio in under 5 seconds, just by touching phones.
I led the team through technical, design, deadline, funding, and launch challenges. In the end, the team and I came through and produced a product that does exactly that.
I’ll walk you through my experience, challenges, triumphs, and how I helped lead my team to ship our product that exchanges your entire portfolio in under 5 seconds, just by touching phones.
Early Challenges and Experience.
As the product owner, my job was to scope out the product requirements, build out the team, set deadlines, budgets, and get the team to ship.
Every product has budget restraints and one of the product lead’s job is to acquire and manage the budget needed to get the product to ship into the market and begin to grow.
One major challenge. Our investors chose to invest $100,000 into the company but they went with an unconventional route. They invested in $10,000 monthly installments. The company didn’t have the $100,000 investment upfront and would receive $10,000 each month.
My budget was linear. This limited the company’s ability to scale production quickly and acquire ‘A’ talent right off the bat, but my job was to manage what I was given and produce the product.
I overcame this challenge by using the $10,000 a month, and building out the core team, focusing on recruiting team members who had experience in the BLE technology that the product would need to ship. I set tight deadlines, and focused the team on first producing an iPhone app prototype validating the ‘touch to exchange’ would work in the field.
The team had technical issues we needed to figure out. The product required iPhones to detect when two devices ‘touched’ and then exchanged data automatically. There was one major problem. iPhones at the time did not have NFC built in, and even today NFC is not open to developers. Another issue with NFC was older iPhone users are left out, meaning 100,000,000+ iPhone users in the market wouldn’t be able to use our core feature.
The team and I needed to find another technology that we could utilize that could replicate NFC, but it has to be available on the iPhone.
We decided to explore BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). This was recently opened up to developers by Apple to help iBeacon growth. After doing some initial research, we decided that by measuring the RSSI signal we could get the iPhone to detect ‘touches’ in close proximity. The question now was how accurate and consistent was BLE and could it be used for a stable release.
Requirements and Conceptual Development
As the product owner, my job was to manage the in-depth requirements for engineering to begin building the product. The team needed insight from the market on how people currently exchanged contact information and portfolios at conferences and events. I began attending conferences with team members and led gathering data on current user stories, pain points, competition, market barriers, and opportunities.
*Insight: I realized our power users were people who attend events and conferences. Heavy exchange usage and an immediate need meant quick adoption and high volume data we could use to make our product even better.
The team began in-depth requirements with brain storming sessions and hand written sketches. We needed to decide what number range the iPhone’s RSSI signal had to be within for the exchange to automatically occur at highly accurate close proximity. Then what users would want to include into their portfolio that they might want to exchange.
Early sketches for the app.
Early wireframes and user flows.
Managing team through Basecamp using agile methodologies and weekly milestones.
Early testing to replicate NFC using BLE signals. Challenges were using the BLE RSSI signal to create an accurate number range for consistent ‘micro proximity’ sensing.
User’s portfolio screen. User’s can create Showcase Projects by adding videos, images, and documents to each project.
Final ‘contacts’ screen. The card designs are the focal point. Structured the layout for easy, consistent skimming.
Made the background dark to help the cards stand out.
Final ‘my contact info’ screen. User’s can add contact information, emails, and their social media presence to their portfolio.
The ‘network’ feed allows users to stay in touch with content and alerts.
Branding and Logo. A glyph of a work lamp is inspired by glass showcases in which objects are displayed in their best light. The idea that you are sharing your best work in the app.
Landing Page for beta program. Includes an animation to highlight the ‘touch to exchange’ feature.
Managing the Apple store approval process.
The Showcase 1.0 app was released onto the store in late July, 2016. It’s undergoing a design update in version 1.1. Marketing campaign is planned to begin in early Q4. The technology is currently in acquisition talks.