Hacking a Hosting Business With User Stories

August 14th, 2014

Jacob Smith

Jacob Smith

SVP, Revenue
Last week the Packet team met up in New York City for a week of hacking. The focus was our business. We needed time together to validate our vision and core beliefs. After the group hug, we got to work and started not with network design or hardware configurations but with user stories.

Last week the Packet team met up in New York City for a week of hacking. The focus was our business. After pulling the figurative trigger, hiring key staff, and raising seed funding in July, we needed time together to validate the vision and core beliefs upon which our company, products, and services will be built. After the group hug, we got to work and started not with network design or hardware configurations but with user stories. Packet User Stories  

Why User Stories? If you're familiar with the Agile software development methodology you'll know all about 'em, but if not, they're a great tool for ensuring that you're building a service/product/tool that customers can use to accomplish something. User stories keep you focused on reducing barriers for your customers while iterating your product in response to feedback.  I love this video from the Whiteboard Friday series over at Moz.com, which shows how this software development process is great for all kinds of scenarios:

Users are at the Heart of What we Do When we set out to build a new infrastructure company, it was with the goal of innovating the experience that we could offer to users.  Not only fast, secure and stable - but even beautiful, collaborative, social, and fun...words not often associated with servers or even the cloud.So it only made sense for us to put customers at the beginning of our week, and the user stories we created were a consistent touchstone throughout each conversation we had: even when talking about NVMe drives or new billing methods, our aim was and is to provide a service that helps our users do great things with the most advanced infrastructure possible.

Minimally Lovable Product In addition to a set of user stories, we outlined our product roadmap for the coming months, and identified what we felt was a MVP.  In many tech circles this translates to a "minimally viable product" - something that you ship and iterate in response to customer feedback.  We love that idea, but we're also keenly aware that people will buy our product and depend on it from day one.  As such we're aiming for a Minimally Lovable Product.

Minimum Lovable Product