Internet of Things (IoT) products may be the hardest products to create.

Amazon Echos, Nest thermostats, Peloton bikes, and other widely familiar IoT products provide seamless user experiences from unboxing to use. Turn them on, connect them to a Wi-Fi network, setup a profile, and you are up and running. What users don’t see, and what makes IoT products so challenging to create and to provide ease of use, is all of the things that are going on behind the scenes.

Successful IoT products have to be world-class physical, data, and software products. If any one area of the product…


There are countless methodologies, processes, and tools for product management. Seemingly, new ones appear every day. The product management toolbox continues to grow, which is a recognition of the importance of the craft and work, but nothing in product management is more important than great relationships.

Product Managers are relationship managers more than they are managers of a product. A product receives the value of a product manager’s relationships, which makes the product better. A product doesn’t facilitate great product management relationships the same way in return. This is a one-way street and value proposition. The better a product manager is at cultivating relationships with other people involved in the product, the better the product will be. The worse a product manager is at relationships, the worse a product will be.

Products are a manifestation of the people creating and evolving them. I’ve written about this…


I was recently on a call with founder who reached out about me potentially investing in the company. As we started to dig into the product it became apparent to me that the product was not truly a SaaS product and I said as much to the founder. I was surprised to hear I was the first person to tell her that her product wasn’t a SaaS product.

I told her that my definition of a SaaS product was that a customer can find, begin using, and pay for the product seamlessly, without any intervention required. …


Founders should be optimistic or what’s the point, right? But founders also should assume their current plan is wrong. They just don’t know why — yet.

Being a founder is one big dichotomy — having a plan and at the same time believing it is wrong is an incredibly hard place to exist. It is one of the reasons most first time founders find themselves mentally unprepared for the job.

So how does a founder get comfortable executing a plan they expect to be wrong? …


I was reading a post the other day from a well-regarded company leader. As I was reading, something struck me. This leader kept referring to the people they work with as “my team.” At first, I wasn’t sure what bothered me about that positioning, but later in the day I was going for a walk and it hit me.

A leader referring to their team as “my team” is possessive. When stated this way, the team belongs to the leader. Even if it’s unintentional, which I think it was in this case, the leader is sending a command-and-control message: “This…


Founders do not have an obligation to help build their local startup ecosystem. In fact, I would argue that the founders and startups that have the most impact on their local startup ecosystem spend very little time thinking about it. The best thing that founders can do to help their local ecosystem is to build a successful company.

I’m not suggesting that founders should cut themselves off from and to ignore their local startup ecosystem. I am suggesting that the primary ingredient to any ecosystem’s health and capacity to thrive over a long period of time is to have participants…


Most products chase customers.

This is one of the reasons I don’t like Product Market Fit and prefer Customer Product Fit. I write about Customer Product Fit in my book The Founder’s Manual. Markets don’t buy products, customers do. If you create a product for market fit, you will likely end up chasing customers as a result.

Product teams create products that chase customers because they are creating these products in a vacuum without constant, intimate involvement with customers. Product teams that create products based mostly on what they know about a problem and the customer’s existence with the problem…


For many founders, having something to prove is a rallying cry. Fuel to start and to keep going, even on the darkest days.

Founders can often feel misunderstood by family and friends. This misunderstanding gets converted into a feeling of having to prove people wrong. The naysayers, the doubters and the haters. Can having this need to prove something be a good thing for Founders?

It can be helpful to a point. Founders who remain extrinsically focused, however, don’t evolve well or fast enough and ultimately get held back by trying to prove something to others. …


Founders of startups who are raising funding for their companies can feel like they are the only ones who are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to balancing shipping their product and shopping it for backing. But this isn’t true. Startup founders are just one sector of creators who are shipping and shopping. In fact, just about everyone who creates something new is balancing the two.

The existence of startup founders working on their product while also trying to raise funding to give their company the capital needed to continue to operate and grow is not unlike the journey…


Investors and some Founders won’t want to hear this, but Founders don’t start out as good leaders. In fact, the longer it takes for a company to realize its potential the more likely it is for a Founder to evolve into a leader.

Founders, especially first-time founders, need the time to learn about themselves and to acclimate themselves to leading a team. In many cases first time founders have never led a team or initiative anywhere near the scope and challenge of making a company successful. These founders don’t know what they don’t know.

Starting a company isn’t something you…

Ryan Frederick

product & company builder | speaker | author | professional services firm growth coach

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store