Startup Panel: How to Build Products People Love

Interested in product development? Not sure where to begin? We are beyond thrilled to bring you our Startup Product Development Panel. Tune into our chat as we learn about how to build products people love to use!
Aashni Shah – CEO at Elixir Labs | Software Engineer at Square
Esteban Sanchez – Co-Founder at Commutifi
Eric Rafat – Moderator

1. How do you go about validating your product idea?

Esteban Sanchez – Few mistakes include validating only with family and friends. Everyone says it is a good idea and do it. They never tell you it is a bad idea. Validating with actual customers. You can build a landing page. Anything to create engagement is always best form of validation. See if people give their email or even prepayment. That is the best forma of validation. Create a proto-type on invision. Showing it around to potential customers. You can get direct feedback. Also try to run your business manually. For example, creating Slack group to see if there’s traction. Is there enough interest?

Aashni Shah – Reach outside your network. One way to do that is to network at different tech events. Also figure out who exactly is your customer. Make sure you have the customers to interact the product.

2. What makes a great Minimal Viable Product (MVP)?

Aashni Shah – one of the first thing you need to do is taking all the feedback and seeing the parts that people most interest. What’s interesting for me, may not be interesting for customers. Get the feedback and reiterate.

Esteban Sanchez – People get too excited about their own product. Quote by Linkedin founder really says, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” Focus things that provide value to the consumers. Also, can you do an algorithm manually?

3. How do you find beta testers for your product?

Esteban Sanchez- friends and family are useful for bugs. Then go to the customers. Get the proto-type in the hand of customers as soon as you can. Have analystics for your product to see the user behaviour such as heat map.

Aashni Shah – When you build that landing that page, get that information from the customers. Also think about having a reward type system. Creating a private beta and add gamification like Robinhood app.

4. We hear feedback is essential, but how do you manage feedback for your product?

Aashni Shah – Early adopters opinion are valuable. You have to figure out what the users are trying to say. Use your analytics to figure out what the users are saying. Also if you’re launching the product in another geographical location, go out on the ground and see how the product is begin

Esteban Sanchez – Focus on the flow that brings value to 90% of the users. Try a trello board or google doc to track down the feedback. Do not ask the customers what they want, ask them what their problems are. Do not outsource customer support. Founders have to do customer support to hear the actual feedback from the users.

5. What are some of your favorite products and why?

Aashni Shah – My favorite tool at the moment is Franz. Sharing multiple profiles. One window tool for the profiles. It was quick to set-up and intuitive.

Esteban Sanchez – Shared inbox app called Front. With almost no feature in the beginning, the user experience is amazing. Less feature but better UX.

6. What advice do you have for non-technical founders when it comes building great products?

Aashni Shah – Communication aspect is huge. As a none-technical founder, look into understanding the technical lingo.

Esteban Sanchez – Try to add value before finding technical cofounder. Getting that traction or even having revenue before bringing them onboard. Can do scrappy product to proof the concept and then later re-invest the time and resources to build it. Look into learning to code is always an option.

7. How long should one spend on building out their MVP?

Esteban Sanchez – As little as possible. But for an actual product that works, with full architect 3-4 months is reasonable.

Aashni Shah – You should get a landing page up and running in less than one hour. For things such as machine learning spend a bit more time.

8. What mistakes do you see in product development for startups?

Aashni Shah – Make sure it’s usable!

Esteban Sanchez – Stealth startups, talk about your startup. Many people get scared that idea will get stolen but that is not the case. It’s all about execution.

9. Do you have any general advice for startups when it comes to building great products? 

Aashni Shah – Iterate. Listen to your customers. It’s not for you, it’s for other people.

Esteban Sanchez – Understanding your customers. Having great UX.

10. What resources (books, articles, blogs, etc.) do you recommend for learning Product Development?

Aashni Shah – Checklist manifesto. Solving a to do list. Follow entrepreneurs that you admire.

Esteban Sanchez – When you are using products, take the time to understand and see how they did it. Learn from patterns.

11. How can our audience get in touch with you? Social media profiles?

Aashni Shah – On Twitter and Instagram: and

Esteban Sanchez – Linkedin: