Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots

About the show

A podcast about the design, development, and business of great software. Each week thoughtbot's Chad Pytel is joined by the people who build and nurture the products we love.


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    206: I'm Glad We Talked About This (Chad Pytel)

    August 22nd, 2016  |  Season 5  |  47 mins 13 secs

    thoughtbot CEO Chad Pytel joins Ben to discuss our recent office closings and reasons necessitating this decision, what this means for the product team, and the future of thoughtbot. Also, a teaser of what to expect next from Giant Robots Podcast.

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    205: Bottling Calm

    August 8th, 2016  |  Season 5  |  42 mins 59 secs

    Fresh back from vacation, Ben shifts his attention to a Hound project, adding in tiered plans and pricing. Chris begins to build out a drip sequence for content recommendations, prepares to roll off to return to client work, and leaves us with some final reflections, takeaways, and lessons learned while on Upcase.

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    204: Disinclined, For Simplicity's Sake

    August 1st, 2016  |  Season 5  |  56 mins 55 secs

    Chris delves into marketing mode for the TDD course, removes more client-side analytics code, and starts redesigning the information architecture on Upcase. On FormKeep, Ben alerts users to site down-time, removes all pay-per-form logic from the codebase, and begins to set up trials sans credit-card.

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    203: Worry Beads on Business Chains

    July 25th, 2016  |  Season 5  |  45 mins 57 secs

    Ben receives some insight on customer referrals for FormKeep, applies his pricing philosophy to Hound, and realizes a personal blind-spot when it comes to customer satisfaction. On Upcase, Chris patches an automated follow-up messaging bug leading to enhanced focus on server-side analytics, welcomes Tyson to the team to begin work on trail mapping course content, and soft launches the Fundamentals of TDD trail.

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    202: A Full 360

    July 18th, 2016  |  Season 5  |  41 mins 17 secs

    Ben rants about bad jokes on twitter, doesn't ship any improved activation features on FormKeep this week, irons out some bugs on FormLinter, and begins an ad campaign. Chris contemplates shifting Upcase's business model, and walks through the impetus driving this decision.

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    201: The Difficulty is in Focusing

    July 11th, 2016  |  Season 5  |  48 mins 34 secs

    Ben encounters a downed FormKeep and enables a monitoring service, completes the un-grandfathering process for accounts on old tiers, and begins work on improving activation flow. Chris sends out a survey to users and discovers a shift in the Upcase demographics.

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    200: Summertime Sadness

    July 4th, 2016  |  Season 5  |  46 mins 29 secs

    Chris digs into the causes for a MRR drop, discovering usage trends with seasonality; and in the process gets a clearer picture of Upcase's user base. Also, he welcome Geoff to the project, and begins a new marketing initiative driven by user testimonials. Ben welcomes Tyson onto team Formkeep to begin redesigning on boarding, and continues FormLinter improvements / marketing.

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    199: Heartening Frustration

    June 27th, 2016  |  Season 5  |  51 mins 22 secs

    This week, we ruminate on the meta-organization of project management. Ben embraces team feedback on, reaches the end of Formkeep's grandfathered pricing window, and removes sandboxing to streamline plan structures. Chris contemplates Upcase's role as a product within thoughtbot, prepares to welcome on new team members (bye Gabe!), and restructures topic relationships to improve discoverability. Also, the return of Dance Talk!

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    198: Nailing Down the Why

    June 20th, 2016  |  Season 5  |  45 mins 28 secs

    On Formkeep, Ben launches FormLinter to increase form accessibility and conversions, and looks forward to additional persons on thoughtbot product work. Chris continues marketing of the Bourbon Smash course, wrestles with metrics and analytics, and improves team logins on Upcase.

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    197: An Engine That Throws Off Money

    June 13th, 2016  |  Season 5  |  1 hr 8 mins

    On Upcase, Chris releases the Bourbon course, restructures how new courses are highlighted, and discusses juggling the various factors that contribute to MRR. Ben takes on-boarding notes from a century old dance school to improve activation on Formkeep.

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    196: Anecdotal Driven Development

    May 30th, 2016  |  Season 5  |  49 mins 52 secs

    Ben changes product activation flow, possibly for the worse, launches a new UI, and muses on new customer acquisition for Formkeep. On Upcase, Chris starts to see benefits from the domain transition, and brainstorms on how to un-bottleneck course releases.

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    195: The Storm Before the Calm

    May 23rd, 2016  |  Season 5  |  1 hr 7 mins

    Ben delays a new feature until an easier implementation can be reached, adds additional event tracking for better site usage feedback, takes a medium to large digression to rant about Javascript, and makes headway on Formkeep's UI refactor. On Upcase, Chris steps back from the content spotlight, takes a hit to traffic from the domain transition, and tests all things email.

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    194: Changing Your Internet Home

    May 16th, 2016  |  Season 5  |  49 mins

    Chris transitions Upcase to for SEO and branding purposes, and introduces reactivate & resubscribe functionality. Ben publishes a blog post on Formkeep's pricing history, optimizes the initial form setup page, and begins work to implement a no credit card up-front trial.

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    193: This Episode Has Been Brought to You By the Letter 'S'

    May 9th, 2016  |  Season 5  |  45 mins 19 secs

    Ben switches from Mandrill to Sendgrid, turns a corner on his guarantee vs trial test, and begins the process of overhauling Formkeep's UI. Meanwhile, on Upcase, Chris utilizes an interesting method for A/B Testing, teases a secret project, and increases SEO by changing out the header.

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    192: The High End of Reasonable

    May 2nd, 2016  |  Season 5  |  50 mins 55 secs

    Ben and Chris muse on the nature of weather-related happiness. Also, Ben works on instrumenting Formkeep's activation funnel, utilizes a monitoring utility to optimize sign-up flow, and vows to almost certainly not toy with pricing any more. Meanwhile on Upcase, Chris confronts multiple root causes for a dip in MRR, updates content displays, and overhauls the checkout.

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    191: I've Done it Once, I'm an Expert

    April 25th, 2016  |  Season 5  |  47 mins 14 secs

    Ben and Chris discuss taxes and financial (as well as bedtime) routines. On Upcase, Chris showcases "The Weekly Iteration" on the site, reveals a long-term dream for the platform, and patches a critical security issue. Ben adds a bunch of features to cut down on support requests, does some UX cleanup, and performs other general tasks to improve usability on Formkeep.