Aurelius Podcast: Episode 9 with Melissa Perri on Product Management & User Research

Post on May 3rd 2018 by Zack Naylor, CEO, Co-founder
Episode 9 highlights:

  • Melissa’s approach to product strategy
  • Setting good strategic goals for our product and user experiences
  • The difference between shipping features and shipping GOOD features
  • How to do user research to actually drive innovation
  • Case study examples from Melissa on how she used user research to increase user acquisition
  • Using product and UX goals to tie up into larger company vision and strategy

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Why We *Previously* Shut Aurelius Down (Updated October 23, 2018)

Post on March 29th 2017 by Zack Naylor, CEO, Co-founder

This is an updated post about our strategy for moving from Aurelius v1 to Aurelius v2 

[Aurelius v2 launched February 2018 and is going strong :)]

The original post below outlines our strategy and reasons for having shut down Aurelius a few years ago. 

The short story is that we learned a ton from customers (obviously from doing user research with them) and learned that we should change our product and entire company focus to helping UX, design, research and product teams add, tag, organize, search and share all their user research and insights.

Aurelius v1 was more of a product strategy platform that also had the ability to take research notes, create key insights and add them to product/design decisions as part of a broader product. Through many conversations with active and prospective customers we learned that their primary problem to solve was having a central repository for all their user research notes, feedback and insights. Being that we had much of that capability in version 1, we decided to build a brand new app and integrate the two.

With that, we launched Aurelius "Insights" as a beta product while still running v1 as a product. What happened then was surprising to even us. Very quickly our paying customers began using "Insights" in beta even more than they were our paid for product. Further, we had hundreds and hundreds of people signing up for beta and early access to Aurelius v2. It was clear to us that we should double down and focus entirely on building an awesome user research and insights platform. So, we decided to sunset the original Aurelius v1 version.

Our product you see at the time of this writing is the direct result of user research and three iterations of our company and product. We're learning more and getting even better every day. 

Check out v2 now live of Aurelius, the user research and insights platform for design and product teams.

[Update July 2018] We launched Aurelius v2 live in February of this year - go check it out now! 

Before you get too worried, hear me out.

To be more specific, very soon we will not be accepting any new customers for several months.

We aren’t going out of business and we aren’t closing the company. Rather, we are building the next evolution of our platform. Aurelius v.2 will be the smartest user research and insights platform for design and product teams.

Aurelius v.2 is an online platform that helps design and product teams collect, tag, group, organize and search all of their user research findings and customer insights in one place. So you can make awesome products, features and designs.

This is exciting news!

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Aurelius Podcast: Episode 8 with Audrey Crane on UX Design, Research & Napkins

Episode 8 highlights:

  • Audrey’s concept of “give me a napkin”
  • Knowing how and when to step backwards from a prescribed solution to find the problem to solve
  • Working with your team and stakeholders so you can make a meaningful contribution as a designer
  • How we can find, and solve, the right problems as designers
  • UX designers and product managers working together successfully
  • Who owns the advocacy for and voice of the customer?

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I Found a Remarkable Way to Kill Politics in my Design and Product Strategy

Post on March 6th 2017 by Zack Naylor, CEO, Co-founder

Can I get a show of hands from how many people have ever had an awesome idea shot down due to politics or flimsy opinions?

Yep, I’ll bet you’ve been in client or stakeholder meetings finding yourself hit with a bunch of questions and critique about the decisions or recommendations you’ve made. Heck, you might even have a great story to tell and well thought out reasons for why you did what you did. Yet, there you sit, watching all that great work get flushed down the drain right before your very eyes by the highest paid, or the loudest (or both!) person in the room. Often, the discussion turns to things about the product or service that fly in the face of customer needs or even our own company objectives. Watching well crafted ideas get argued away in a single meeting is like squabbling over what to have for dinner while the house burns down around you.

Here’s the good news: killing politics and emotions in your design or product strategy doesn’t have to be an impossible task. By setting clear, well defined goals for your strategy, you can easily sell great ideas, decisions and recommendations without banging your head against the wall.

Download the free 4 point product strategy goal checklist, and we’ll walk through how to use it right here in this post. When we’re done, you’ll be on your way to building a brilliant design and product strategy that solves the right problems for your company and its customers.

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Aurelius Podcast: Episode 7 with Jeff Gothelf on Product & Design Strategy

Post on February 20th 2017 by Zack Naylor, CEO, Co-founder

Episode 7 highlights:

  • Jeff's definition of product strategy
  • Bringing clarity to the process of building a product strategy
  • The difference between brand and product strategy, and how they work together
  • The single biggest factor that holds most companies back from having a great product strategy
  • Building a product roadmap and strategy that actually works
  • How to empower your teams to solve problems instead of only building features
  • Who owns the product strategy? Product managers or UX Designers?

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4 Point Product Strategy Goal Checklist

Post on February 18th 2017 by Zack Naylor, CEO, Co-founder

​Free Resource: 

4-Point Product Strategy Goal Checklist


Here's our free guide to help you set brilliant product and design strategy goals. This 4 point checklist will help you get everyone on the same page to make your best design decisions and product recommendations.


Get the Checklist Now

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Are Product Roadmaps a Waste of Time?

Post on January 29th 2017 by Zack Naylor, CEO, Co-founder

Have you ever found yourself having worked very long and very hard on a product roadmap presentation for your senior management only to find that it didn’t have the impact you’d hoped?

How could this be? We had every resource, milestone, deadline and feature detailed to the letter. Yet, that meeting didn’t go the way we wanted, and we sure as hell don’t feel any more confident in the direction our product is going.

A product roadmap was supposed to fix our strategic problems and get all the stakeholders aligned. After the meeting, we go and make new updates to the roadmap and get ready for the next meeting. Several months go by and we realize, we’ve spent nearly all our time updating the roadmap or plan, but haven’t actually made any progress. Worse yet, someone eventually asks “did we talk with customers about this?” and that’s when it hits you… we may have a flawless plan to go and solve the wrong problems.

Product roadmaps give you “what” but not the “why”

I’d bet good money that if you have spent any significant time building product roadmaps, you eventually came to a point where you realized “this isn’t working”. You’re trying your best to get people on board with the design and product recommendations you’re making, but the roadmap just isn’t doing the trick. You make edit after edit and still, the senior management and design/development teams feel no more confident that we’re doing the right things. That’s because a product roadmap is a plan not a strategy.

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Aurelius Podcast: Episode 6 with Peter Merholz on Product & Design Strategy

Episode 6 highlights:

  • Some history of Adaptive Path and how they got into design and product strategy
  • Pitfalls to avoid when making a product and design strategy
  • How to be more than a UX design "stylist" or "executionist"
  • The role of UX and design in business strategy
  • Differences between UX and product management
  • Design like a lawyer and get everyone on board with your decisions and recommendations

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How to Build an Awesome Product & Design Strategy

Post on January 11th 2017 by Zack Naylor, CEO, Co-founder

How do you know you're building the right products and features? Is there anything more frustrating than planning design and development efforts with no real understanding of our customers or how we're helping our business?

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Aurelius Podcast: Episode 5 with Dan Brown on Design Discovery

Post on April 24th 2017 by Zack Naylor, CEO, Co-founder

Episode 5 highlights:

  • Design discovery; what it is and how to do it?
  • Creating designs as a way to further push the discovery process
  • Striking a balance between “big picture” and “fleshing out the details”
  • Knowing when you have enough information to design
  • Using a common language to share and act on user research insights

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