Building An MVP for Blab, a live-streaming video platform for iOS and web. 

[CLIENT WORK]

 

 

 

Sketch of the initial app by Brittany Metz

ROLE

As a Product Manager, I collaborated with Shaan Puri and the brilliant team at Monkey Inferno, a software incubator led by Michael Burch.

We built an idea for a live "talk show" style app that lets users engage in interesting live video conversations with audience participation. 

The team had developed a beta version of the iOS app and needed help creating a product roadmap, building new features, and executing a launch strategy.

METHODS

Consultation, Comparative Analysis, Wireframes, Interaction Design, Rapid Prototyping

TOOLS:

Sketch, Trello, Quip, Intercom 

 

 


The Monkey Inferno - Building BLab

The Challenge

Periscope and Meerkat are dominating the live video space, but they are missing a key piece of functionality: the ability to talk with other people on camera.

During an offsite, members of the team at Monkey Inferno developed a successful prototype that proved a new type of interaction would occur if users had the ability to invite other people to talk on a public-facing live video stream.

The team needed to build a web and mobile product that we could release to an small batch of users, with the goal of building an initial community of loyal content creators and audience members.

The Process 

Day 1: Shaan Puri (CEO at Monkey Inferno) and I sat in a room and debated different communities to target with the initial launch. We also talked about which platform to focus (web vs. mobile) for the beta release.

Community: This was a very hard decision for us, as the early team members who built the product wanted the conversations to feel spontaneous and fun (and not much so like an AMA). We talked about targeting fans of sports, entertainment, and many other verticals before focusing on tech. 

We would have access to the community and we agreed that the tech community is a group of people who love talking about "things they are too passionate about" which fit perfectly with the goals of our platform. 

Platform:

During an offsite, three members of the team (2 developers and a designer) built an iOS application and a web version that did a great job proving that the product interactions would feel much different than Periscope or Meerkat. 

The team decided to focus on web, which might have seemed a bit counter-intuitive in a mobile-first world, but would clearly differentiate us from competing products. We also felt like a multi-host video format might be easier for our community to participate in on the web. 

One major decision we made early on was to focus on the Slack community. For our initial community, we only let users authenticate via Slack.

We knew this would limit our initial signups, but we wanted to carefully curate our early adopters and the Slack community gave us a very specific group of tech-focused users.

Results 

We released version 1.0 of the web to a limited audience and the platform began to spread organically. One of the most impressive parts of the platform was its international adoption, which makes complete sense in retrospect. 

Blab users outside of the United States came to the platform because they did not have tech communities in their local cities like we do in Silicon Valley. They used the platform as a place to meet other entrepreneurs and build a support system. It was awesome to see. 

The product evolved in many different ways during my involvement with the project. After interacting with users and testing the product, we released a product that our users love. 

The Client:

"Jeff is a smart guy who 'gets it' when it comes to internet startups. He knows what makes products tick, and how to approach growth from the start of the project. 

He's organized & good at prioritizing what matters. It was great having him involved at the early stage of our project. Excited to work with him again!"

-Shaan Puri, CEO at Monkey Inferno