Thoughts on building products, entrepreneurship, bicycling and whatever else strikes my fancy.

Case study: Unlocking revenue through app redesign

Problem:

As a member of the cross-functional leadership team at Bond, I realized that the sales team was spending a disproportionate amount of time and cost onboarding SMB customers. These customers represented one of the highest lifetime value segments for Bond and often made repeat purchases. They shared their frustrated feedback with the slow and manual existing process and would often drop off before completing their order through an account executive. 

I hypothesized we could better serve these customers by redesigning our product suite to include features for this valuable and underserved audience. 

Approach:

I prepared multiple presentations (example above), leveraging current data and customer feedback to persuade marketing, sales, and C-suite leadership in the new direction for the product portfolio and initially encountered resistance at making such a substantial change.

I led the product team to conduct user interviews, where we quickly confirmed the hypothesis and demand for this redesign. We used this knowledge to build clickable prototypes with InVision, which we then tested with potential first customers to understand and inform what features were necessary at launch.

Armed with a substantiated hypothesis, and the learnings from multiple customer interviews and user tests, I was able to get stakeholder buy-in to move forward with the redesign. I put together the product requirements documentation (available below) and go-to-market plan. These assets were our guiding light and were shared broadly across the company to make sure all teams moved in the same direction.

Outcome:

We shipped the minimum viable redesign of the web and iOS mobile applications in >3 months. The new feature set added $1+ million in top-line revenue, a 433 percent jump YoY (Report from Stripe below).

Additionally, the sales team was also able to shift focus to Enterprise deals, increasing their average deal size from $4,000 to $10,000+ over the same period.

Tools and tech used:

Case study: Lowering the barriers of entry to 3D printing

Problem:

In 2014, 3D printing was one of the hottest markets for venture capital dollars and media coverage. I joined up with the brilliant team at 3DPrinterOS to initially build encryption for the secure cloud transfer of 3D printing files (known as “gcodes”) from computers to machines. 

We realized pretty quickly that while the encryption problem was real, the much bigger opportunity to solve was lowering the barriers of entry into 3D printing so new users could embrace this disruptive technology. 

We hypothesized we could lower the barriers of entry into 3D printing and increase utilization of machines if we built a cloud-powered operating system that worked across multiple types of 3D printers, analogous to how Microsoft Windows worked across PCs from Hewlett Packard and Dell. 

Approach:

I set out to understand the current state of 3D printing by researching the market and testing out software from 20+ printer manufacturers. We filmed unboxing videos for many of the printer tests, to establish ourselves as thought leaders and improve our SEO. 

I also conducted user interviews with Fortune 500 companies, such as Ford and John Deere, to understand how they were currently using 3D printing, and what pain points existed within their current workflow. 

This work validated our hypothesis and built relationships that led to our first customers. The research gained shaped the MVP requirements, feature backlog, and user stories. With the MVP scoped out, I then spent two months in Estonia with my team driving towards a beta release. 

During this process, I built wireframes and prototypes to test the onboarding process with prospective users and used the knowledge gained to create in-app messaging, tutorials, and walkthroughs to improve the onboarding process.

Aaron Roy - Wireframes
Wireframe example

We launched a free beta version of the product in March 2015, and all focus shifted to feedback gathering, evangelizing the platform, and improving the feature set. I served as the primary tester of the platform with our beta users and established a robust forum for sharing walkthroughs and soliciting community bug reporting. 

I put together feedback surveys and created incentives (free t-shirts, early access to future new features, 3d printer filament giveaways) for users to test the beta release. I went on-site to multiple companies and educational institutions to observe how they would interact and add internal users to the new platform. I also used Intercom to communicate in-app with users and deliver A/B tests of different walkthroughs to understand the impact on improving metrics.  

Aaron Roy - Using Intercom for walkthroughs
Intercom is terrific for in-app messaging

Outcome:

Launching a new product is just part of the challenge. It’s what you do once it’s out in the wild that defines whether or not it will survive.

In analyzing our metrics post-launch, I was able to identify and guide the team to build low development, high-yield features that led to the first $500,000 in ARR.

3DPrinterOS has 100,000+ users in 100+ countries. Users have printed 1.3+ million parts and have logged 4.5+ million print hours. Clients include Google, NASA, John Deere, Duke, MIT, and Yale.

Aaron Roy - 3DPrinterOS Dashboard
Screenshot from 3DPrinterOS dashboard

Tools and tech used:

Wami is the featured product for TPG!

Aaron Roy - Product Manager

It was an absolute blast serving as the featured product of the month for the Product Group here in New York. 

We had the chance to talk through our lessons learned while bootstrapping Wami, and how vital failure (and learning) is as part of the product cycle. 

This 20,000 members strong group is an incredible resource of knowledge, expertise, and support for current and aspiring product managers in the NYC area. I highly recommend attending one of their meetups

Researching student loan products

We all know student loans suck but are you familiar with how much they actually impact our society?

Student loan debt is now the second-highest consumer debt category – behind only mortgage debt – and higher than both credit cards and auto loans.

I’m working with some friends who are set out to help solve this crisis.

Check out this super quick survey to be part of the student debt solution: wehatestudentdebt.com

Some of my favorite products in 2018

With 2018 just about to come to a close, what better way to spend a rainy Sunday morning in Brooklyn then to list out a few of my favorite products I used this year. In no particular order…
  1. Byword – This Mac-only app is how I’m typing and publishing these words right now. I’ve been a power Evernote user for years, but have found myself switching to Byword even for basic notetaking (beyond the blogging feature set) just because it’s a cleaner, less distracting experience.
  2. Grammarly – A game-changer for improving spelling and grammar in emails and other forms of written communication. Better yet – it’s free.
  3. Strava – This is my social media. It’s the best parts of Facebook (the sharing and community) for cyclists (and other athletes). I’ve upped my riding miles per year significantly since joining the app and been able to stay in touch with folks I’ve meet all over the world. If you are on it, add me!
  4. Arlo Pro – I had one of my bikes stolen earlier this year, this motion detecting security camera has given me peace of mind in the days that followed.
  5. Lastpass – Since I switched to a password manager, I cannot imagine going back to life without it. I use it for both personal and business use now.
  6. Divvy – Super simplified business expense management. We switched Bond over to it from the traditional put everything on Amex and sort it out later approach and it’s been a game changer in terms of managing and tracking spending. Being able to create account specific burner cards is awesome and cuts out having to track down whose email is tied to each specific account.
  7. Qapital – helped me save money as I prepared for my wedding this year. This app made it easy to create saving rules that can be applied to various banking / credit accounts. Transferring money back to your bank account is painless as well.
  8. Mint – This is how I manage my personal finances. This platform helps keeps me sane as I juggle student loans, credit cards, investments, and sources of income.

How to manage students, 3D printers, and data at scale

Aaron Roy - Speaking at Construct3D

I recently gave a talk on “How to manage students, 3D printers and data at scale,” at the Construct3D conference at Georgia Tech University.

Focusing on examples from my 3DPrinterOS work with other top universities, I discussed how educators and engineers could collect and report program data, integrate machines seamlessly into existing IT infrastructure, and maximize access to limited printer resources.

My presentation slides are available below.

Product launch plan presentation

This presentation outlines the user journey of a potential customer over 30 days and concludes with the timelines and next steps necessary to make the vision a reality.

I built this for marketing, sales, and C-suite leadership to build consensus for the direction of the product portfolio.

Video: Increasing active users with an onboarding tutorial

One of the biggest challenges we faced in the early days of 3DPrinterOS was turning new user signups into active users. We noticed pretty early into our launch that users would signup for our free account tier and then go dark before adding their first 3d printer or some other high-value action in the system.

I made this walkthrough video as part of the 3DPrinterOS onboarding experience, to be sent in-app and email via Intercom, to help new users understand the different features and set up their first 3d printer for use with the operating system.

Video: Guided tour of 3DPrinterOS features

With 3DPrinterOS being the first company to launch a cloud operating system for 3D printing, we frequently were asked to demo our platform and walkthrough how the various features helped users improve their manufacturing process. 

In this video, I take Tom and Tracy of Hazz Design on a virtual tour of 3DPrinterOS and unpack how the feature set helped users manage 3d printers and users. 

About

My name is Aaron Roy. I’m the co-founder and CEO of Wami, a B2B service for sending personalized, handwritten notes at scale.

Here is a bit more info about me and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  

Selected Work

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