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Photo credit: Alpha.

Thor Ernstsson is the CEO and Founder of Alpha, a platform for global organizations to run product experiments.

Meet&nbsp;Thor Ernstsson, the CEO and Founder of Alpha, a platform for global organizations to run product experiments.

Previously, Thor co-founded and was the CTO of Audax Health, a patient engagement company that was later rebranded as Rally Health after a 10-figure acquisition by UnitedHealth.

I connected with Thor Ernstsson to talk about product management, data-driven decision making and effective experiments.

Tomas Laurinavicius: What’s your elevator pitch?

Thor Ernstsson: Alpha’s platform enables management teams to make data-driven decisions about users, products, and markets. By streamlining the workflow to source a target audience, design interactive prototypes, and run experiments, Alpha’s end-to-end platform lets you go from plain-English question to on-demand user insights in two days. We like to call this ‘agile research’ where we enable innovation you see in R&amp;D throughout the entire company.

It’s basically magic. Our customers call it their “secret weapon.”

Laurinavicius:&nbsp;How did your first pitch deck look like?

Ernstsson:&nbsp;Our goal is and has always been to shorten iteration cycles for digital product development, making it possible for the largest organizations in the world to innovate at the speed of startups.

At first, we focused on enabling individual product managers to validate product ideas. Since then, we’ve broadened our platform so that anyone within an organization can substantiate assumptions and present findings internally and externally, while also giving executives a dashboard into how their teams are performing.

Our original pitch deck was nothing special – it wasn’t even a pitch deck. It was a single sheet of paper with text on it. The problem we were solving was so significant that we only needed a sheet of paper to get to more than $30,000 in monthly recurring revenue.

Laurinavicius:&nbsp;What is the essential problem you’re solving?

Ernstsson:&nbsp;Making data-driven decisions is really difficult, especially in large, complex organizations in heavily regulated environments. There’s a lot of red tape that prevents employees from generating actionable feedback from users and customers. Our platform streamlines that entire process for decision makers, giving them the data they need when they need it. We’ve taken a three month research process and accelerated it into just two days so that it can be seamlessly integrated into sprint cycles.

Any manager can submit a plain-English question about optimizing usability, competitors, user preferences, feature prioritization, or even just a napkin sketch of a new product concept. Within two days, they’ll get back an interactive prototype along with videos, charts, and open-ended responses from hundreds of people in their target audience. Often, this is the first time a manager has gotten this type of robust data so quickly, so they have to change their entire workflow around it, especially if they want to iterate. We have clients who run 10 tests like this per month, generating insights from 1,000+ users they didn’t have access to until we streamlined, automated, and optimized this capability.

Laurinavicius:&nbsp;How did you get initial traction?

Ernstsson:&nbsp;We built a number of the industry’s most popular educational resources and communities, like our podcast This is Product Management and our newsletter Product Management Insider.

Thanks to that and our sales leaders, we’re fortunate to have more than 25% of the Fortune 100 as clients, including Prudential, Citi, PwC, and Aetna, helping each to move at the speed of startups.

Laurinavicius:&nbsp;What is your unfair competitive advantage?

Ernstsson:&nbsp;We’re ruthlessly focused on shortening iteration cycles by driving rapid experimentation, which is one of the hardest problems in business to solve. It requires a lot of change management and business case building. We’re not focused on vanity metrics or visually-appealing challenges. We’re only focused on helping our clients go from question to answer in as little time as possible.

Laurinavicius:&nbsp;What’s missing in the conversation around product and design?

Ernstsson:&nbsp;It goes back to the notion of iteration. People think there’s a single answer to a question and that’s not the case. Time passes, platforms evolve, standards change.

&quot;People think there’s a single answer to a question and that’s not the case.&quot; – @ThorErnstsson

We founded Alpha to provide the ability to run an experiment, collect data, run it again and validate those results. This is a huge piece that’s missing from product development – taking the time to test everything and not settle for “good enough.”

Laurinavicius:&nbsp;How many employees in your company?

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Thor Ernstsson is the CEO and Founder of Alpha, a platform for global organizations to run product experiments.Photo credit: Alpha.

Thor Ernstsson is the CEO and Founder of Alpha, a platform for global organizations to run product experiments.

Meet Thor Ernstsson, the CEO and Founder of Alpha, a platform for global organizations to run product experiments.

Previously, Thor co-founded and was the CTO of Audax Health, a patient engagement company that was later rebranded as Rally Health after a 10-figure acquisition by UnitedHealth.

I connected with Thor Ernstsson to talk about product management, data-driven decision making and effective experiments.

Tomas Laurinavicius: What’s your elevator pitch?

Thor Ernstsson: Alpha’s platform enables management teams to make data-driven decisions about users, products, and markets. By streamlining the workflow to source a target audience, design interactive prototypes, and run experiments, Alpha’s end-to-end platform lets you go from plain-English question to on-demand user insights in two days. We like to call this ‘agile research’ where we enable innovation you see in R&D throughout the entire company.

It’s basically magic. Our customers call it their “secret weapon.”

Laurinavicius: How did your first pitch deck look like?

Ernstsson: Our goal is and has always been to shorten iteration cycles for digital product development, making it possible for the largest organizations in the world to innovate at the speed of startups.

At first, we focused on enabling individual product managers to validate product ideas. Since then, we’ve broadened our platform so that anyone within an organization can substantiate assumptions and present findings internally and externally, while also giving executives a dashboard into how their teams are performing.

Our original pitch deck was nothing special – it wasn’t even a pitch deck. It was a single sheet of paper with text on it. The problem we were solving was so significant that we only needed a sheet of paper to get to more than $30,000 in monthly recurring revenue.

Laurinavicius: What is the essential problem you’re solving?

Ernstsson: Making data-driven decisions is really difficult, especially in large, complex organizations in heavily regulated environments. There’s a lot of red tape that prevents employees from generating actionable feedback from users and customers. Our platform streamlines that entire process for decision makers, giving them the data they need when they need it. We’ve taken a three month research process and accelerated it into just two days so that it can be seamlessly integrated into sprint cycles.

Any manager can submit a plain-English question about optimizing usability, competitors, user preferences, feature prioritization, or even just a napkin sketch of a new product concept. Within two days, they’ll get back an interactive prototype along with videos, charts, and open-ended responses from hundreds of people in their target audience. Often, this is the first time a manager has gotten this type of robust data so quickly, so they have to change their entire workflow around it, especially if they want to iterate. We have clients who run 10 tests like this per month, generating insights from 1,000+ users they didn’t have access to until we streamlined, automated, and optimized this capability.

Laurinavicius: How did you get initial traction?

Ernstsson: We built a number of the industry’s most popular educational resources and communities, like our podcast This is Product Management and our newsletter Product Management Insider.

Thanks to that and our sales leaders, we’re fortunate to have more than 25% of the Fortune 100 as clients, including Prudential, Citi, PwC, and Aetna, helping each to move at the speed of startups.

Laurinavicius: What is your unfair competitive advantage?

Ernstsson: We’re ruthlessly focused on shortening iteration cycles by driving rapid experimentation, which is one of the hardest problems in business to solve. It requires a lot of change management and business case building. We’re not focused on vanity metrics or visually-appealing challenges. We’re only focused on helping our clients go from question to answer in as little time as possible.

Laurinavicius: What’s missing in the conversation around product and design?

Ernstsson: It goes back to the notion of iteration. People think there’s a single answer to a question and that’s not the case. Time passes, platforms evolve, standards change.

“People think there’s a single answer to a question and that’s not the case.” – @ThorErnstsson

We founded Alpha to provide the ability to run an experiment, collect data, run it again and validate those results. This is a huge piece that’s missing from product development – taking the time to test everything and not settle for “good enough.”

Laurinavicius: How many employees in your company?

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