Our journey (so far) to become a product studio

Our journey (so far) to become a product studio

###2012-2013 Since the beginning of Whitesmith that our vision goes around building products! Starting a bootstrapped business is not easy and the path was not always clear. We started with a product that born at the wrong time but we soon understood it and we changed our focus to consultancy in order to survive.

Despite that we always keep in mind the final goal as is mentioned in our “About us”: “We help other businesses develop their own cutting-edge products as our main business model and a way to mastery, while envisioning to spin-off our own as a long-term business model and a way to have impact in the world.”

In that time, we had different clients and projects, we had to hustle to make Whitesmith prosper but above all, we have grown as a team, as people, and as professionals too.

###2015-2016 During the last 2 years, we can say that we built and launched two products: Unplugg (a different version of the first product) and Qold.

Unplugg is now a service that will help you add forecasting capabilities to your energy products. No matter if you are a startup or a big company, you can add forecasting abilities to your energy solutions in a simple and fast way. We changed the product, the visual identity and now you also have the opportunity to try it out easily on the web.

Qold journey started in 2015 with the goal of building a product that delivers an automatic remote cold chain monitoring service. Designed for small business and to end with boring but important tasks, Qold helps you never forget to register the temperature of your fridges and avoid spoiling the tasty fresh food you store because your freezer falls asleep during the night. Since then we iterated on the product and we also have a several number of portuguese restaurants using it.

It’s important not forget the other things that we built! We don’t call it products because they don’t have the investment (in resources and time) needed and/or the business model defined, but they also show our craftsmanship. Please meet: Remotes.in, Hawkpost, Soundy or SlackerNews, the last two launched in 2017.

They aren’t successful products or projects yet but we hustle to build something that we are proud of and we are on the right path for our long-term vision.

Qold's installation

###2017 2017 brought a fresh start in terms of products… We are more committed to our vision of being a product studio. On the one hand, we have a more stable business that allows us to invest more in our own products and on the other hand, we have more experience to validate, design and build products.

We started to align our consulting services with this product mindset, giving priority to projects where we can control more layers of the product. This helped us improve in terms of product strategy and product craftsmanship.

We also consider all our products and projects part of our investment time, meaning that everyone has an incentive to spend 20% of their time improving one of our products until we validate, scale or spin them off. :rocket_emoji:

In order to improve our capacity of building products, to be more innovative and to try new technologies, we launched a new internal product development process. During 6 weeks we have to be able to validate, design and build a product with a team of 3. In the past, we struggled with validation and building things fast enough, but this framework enables us to learn and fail by an order of magnitude faster than before.

Regarding product, our final commitment for this year is Product Consulting. Last month we shared how we are trying to change our positioning in order to be more close to our vision of becoming a product studio. We are now positioning ourselves as a product team for hire! This means we want to do more projects that enable us to deliver more value joining our knowledge about UX, Business, and Tech to make great products instead of traditional custom software development.

If you are questioning how can we bring more value to our clients as a product team, make sure to not miss our next blog post.

###Final thoughts

We have not arrived yet to our sweet spot so we still have work to do!

In our final year review, we will share some of the results of these last experiments. In the meantime, we will share what we have learned during these five years.

#culture #product

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Maria João Ferreira

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