Today is the day that Sweat The Product is live, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s an idea that’s been kicking around in my head for well over two years. Before STP, I ran another content site, a photography blog called Burstoid that I shut down after three years. Burstoid had thousands of readers and was quite successful, but in 2012 everyone and their mother had a photography blog and it just wasn’t as exciting to source new photographs as it had been.
Well, truthfully that wasn’t the only reason. The more significant reason was that I wasn’t creating the content myself, and that ate at me. Even though I was curating the blog and helping photographs get exposure, it didn’t feel as fulfilling as writing an article or doing product work.
But soon after I shut it down, I missed it. I didn’t want to just bring it back online with a giant “we’re back” post. Instead, I wanted to come up with something new, something I could be more involved with and closer to what I cared about. And what I’ve always cared about and will always care about is building product.
Then it dawned on me: I’m lucky to know a lot of amazing and successful entrepreneurs and product people. What if I could sit down with them over a coffee, a drink or just in the park, hear their story and get their advice? Then I could wrap up each interview in a neat package and share it with the world. That would be Burstoid completely re-imagined for me.
I come up with a lot of ideas. Most of them never get built, but this one has always stuck in my head and itched and itched, until finally, in September and October of 2013, I asked three people whether they’d be my first interviewees. They all kindly said “yes,” and I was able to scratch the itch I’d had for so long.
It was great! The interviews came out even better than I expected. Too many interviews are about the person and where they came from, with a whole ton of backstory. Then when you get into the rest of it, it’s always a surface level discussion about how well they’re doing and all their great numbers, with nothing really interesting for any reader who wants to learn from them. Not so with Sweat The Product.
From the start, I wanted to do interviews differently. Interviews on STP are entirely focused around the details of product development and product design. Any story we include about the company is as far from PR as you can get and actually touches on the interesting, the unknown, and the real behind-the-scenes stuff, like the interview I did with Marc Lizoain in which he opens up his heart about shutting down his company Urtak after five years and having raised $500,000. That’s the type of interview I want to read, and I know I’m not alone.
But then after I did these three interviews, life got in the way and I didn’t get them online for everyone to read. They just sat as audio files on my computer. Then earlier this summer, the itch grew more irritating. This time I was going to finish what I set out to do: to get STP live with these three interviews and continue to produce at least one a month if not more for as long as I can. While I was on vacation in early August, I set a goal of designing, developing, transcribing and launching STP before the end of the month.
I made it! It’s August 26th and STP is live. I even interviewed an awesome young product designer last week, so I’ve got new content in the pipeline. It feels so great to finally get this project out and I really hope you enjoy reading the interviews as much as I enjoyed sitting down with these people. The best way to get notified about new content is to subscribe to our newsletter. I promise to only send you an email when there’s something new to read. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our RSS if you’re old school like me. If you have any feedback or comments, please email me. I’m always happy to chat.