How We Use Asana to Build Products at Flatbook

This post first appeared on Flatbook’s Medium page  

Like all departments at Flatbook, our product and engineering teams rely heavily on Asana for task management and documentation. Though we fire up Google Docs often, Asana provides the center of gravity for our product development process. Over the past year of heavy usage, (Sprint 23 and counting), we’ve used Asana to support all major phases of our product cycle, from roadmapping and speccing to sprint planning and bug reporting. By centralizing our work within a single environment, we’ve managed to reduce complexity while maintaining structure. We’ve also found Asana’s features help us promote transparency and collaboration. While our product development processes are constantly evolving, we hope this snapshot of what we’ve built so far proves interesting, to other product teams using Asana, and to the larger conversation about the tools we use to build products.

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5 Meetings Your Startup Should Be Running

This post originally appeared on

Love them or hate them, meetings play a crucial role in startup life. At a practical level, meetings are one of the main settings for problem solving, decision making and brainstorming. At a cultural level, meetings are a key tool for shaping norms for how people work together.

Running successful meetings is especially challenging for scaling startups. But startups that work hard on this transition vastly increase their chances of success.

Creating an effective meeting culture starts with choosing what meetings to run. By mastering a few key formats, startups can create a strong weekly rhythm while setting the tone for how all meetings will be run.

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Bringing Product Management to a Scaling Startup

This post first appeared on the Founder Fuel Blog

Early stage startups don’t generally need a discrete product management function, a point I’ve made here. As startups scale, however, most do add product managers to help them deal with increased complexity. Like any major organizational change, the process of adding product management to a scaling startup is at once transformative and full of challenges.

At Frank & Oak, a Montreal-based e-tailer, we’ve recently gone through this exact transition. As Head of Product Management, I’ve worked with our Founders and Head of Technology to manage the change, focusing on four key areas: defining the product manager (PM) role, setting a weekly rhythm, establishing key operations, and solidifying our tools. The results are a work in progress, but I hope nonetheless worth sharing here.

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Singapore Startup FAQ

This post originally appeared on the Pollenizer blog and on sgentrepreneurs.

I’ve met with dozens of folks over the past months who are interested in the Singapore startup scene. The questions they asked were often similar, so I thought I would take a crack at writing up my standard responses. For the record, this post is not meant to replace a good coffee chat, just to make those chats even more productive and interesting.

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Product/Market Fit and the Law of the Excluded Middle

This post originally appeared on the Pollenizer blog.

The law of the excluded middle states that: “for any proposition, either that proposition is true, or its negation is”. I’ve been thinking about this philosophical pearl as it applies to the holy grail of startup propositions: “[Startup X] has achieved product/market fit”. A strict interpretation of the rule makes the proposition black and white, i.e., either you’ve achieved product/market fit or else you haven’t. In practice things are murkier, and therein lies the issue.

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2013, The Year of the Lean Enterprise?

This post originally appeared on the Pollenizer blog

It looks like I’m a few days late to proclaim 2013 the year for Southeast Asia startups. Props to my old colleague Michael Smith and Asia’s best tech writer Jon Russell for nailing that, and yes of course I agree wholeheartedly. That’s why we’re here! But while we’re on the topic of what’s hot in 2013, I like to add the penetration of lean startup into the enterprise as another space to watch.

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What I’ve Learned So Far

This post originally appeared on the Pollenizer blog.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than half a year since I left the cozy confines of Yahoo to join the Pollenizer roller coaster. It’s been an amazing learning experience on a personal and professional level. As the year draws to a close, I thought I’d share some reflections. This post focuses on my experience opening Pollenizer’s Singapore office. For bigger picture reflections on how Pollenizer sees the world these days, please check out this year end post from our CEO and co-founder Phil Morle.

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How to Win A Startup Weekend

This post originally appeared on thebobbery and on the Pollenizer blog.

I recently had the privilege of judging at Startup Weekend Manila. The experience got me thinking about what makes a great Startup Weekend pitch. Here’s a list of eight suggestions that might help you for your next Startup Weekend, Hackathon or other quick hitting startup event.

1. Explain why your solution makes sense – Your startup solves a problem. Great! But how much better is your approach than what people have access to today? And why hasn’t anyone else tried the solution you’re proposing? Or if others have tried it, why haven’t they succeeded? Answering theses deeper questions makes your story more convincing and reassures the judges that you aren’t oversimplifying.

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