This is the Lessons Learned blog after all so it’d be appropriate to recap the 2014 technology lessons learned.


With that lovely graphic, in no particular order…

Customer Experience

Customer Experience can mean a few different things, so the lessons learned may feel somewhat unrelated.

First, the relationship you build with your customers must be amazing. Customers – consumers or enterprise – no longer stand for shitty support; instead personalized content (e.g. lifecycle emails) and true empathy (e.g. talking to a real person who can relate to you) are the new norm.

Another lesson: customers increasingly want to be on the latest hardware release cycles. Look at iPhone 6 sales, for example. If you’re on the iPhone “s” cycle you’re experiencing this feeling right now.

Last, how you manage your customers’ data as well as how you let them manage it will play a large part into the success of your product.

Lean in Real Life

Not as much a lesson learned, as instead a lesson reinforced, but the biggest Lean takeaway is the value of getting out of the building and talking to real customers. If you’re not doing that right now, make this one of our top 2015 goals.

Also, as technology gives us more & more data, it’s important to differentiate good data (e.g. actionable metrics) vs bad data (e.g. vanity metrics). Of course, great data can be qualitative (e.g. “I want this feature because…”) just as much as it can be quantitative (e.g. “20% more users converted with this landing page”).

Mobile Tech

Where to start?

Bigger phones actually are better. Or at least sales figures of the iPhone 6+ and top Android devices (e.g. Nexus 6) tell us that.

Also, while it’s clear the mobile OS wars are almost entirely two players – Android and iOS – it’s a bit unclear who the winner is. Personally I think that’s good for all consumers.

Personal Productivity

Over-the-top statement alert!

2014 was my most productive year. I say this not in terms of the number of check boxes I marked off. Instead, the amount of large projects I completed. I also learned more than I have in a long time. Two things that largely made this happen:

  1. Implementing the Aspire-Achieve-Do goal setting technique – giving great cadence and accountability to my goals
  2. Using Trello to track my goals and activities

And then there’s Slack. I’m still unsure what exactly the lesson learned with Slack is, but I do know that it has solved small team communication.


Similar to what I mentioned above, providing an unbeatable customer experience defines your success. This is end-to-end: from the first day your customer hears about your product, to the day they buy, to the day they have their first issue, to the day they decide to renew and upgrade.

Also, it appears SaaS valuations will come down soon. Maybe 2015 is the year that we stop seeing 10x or higher valuations.


Wearables and Internet of Things are grasping for a purpose. They’ve taken the shotgun approach to plaster the technology everywhere, and 2015 will be the year where we start to see what sticks. From the to-be-determined success of the Apple Watch, to the consolidation of our many internet of things devices into a single platform.

That’s why I like the Belkin WeMo Maker. This device doesn’t have a purpose – it’s a maker device to let us figure out a good use for it. We can tinker and hack, see what we scrap and see what actually makes our lives better. The winning ideas? They’ll be the ones that are mass marketed to us in the second, more mature, internet of things wave.

What about you? What were your 2014 technology lessons learned?

One thought on “2014 Technology Lessons Learned

  1. It seems that customer experience connects directly to lean in real life for startups, as both emphasize listening to customers and meeting their wants/needs, as opposed to your own interest. This was my top technology lesson for 2014, which is that technology in the end always boils down to people.

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