Nora RyanProduct and Technology Executive

Invented and built the teams to deliver and grow products that were:

Award-winning international products to take company from inception through their public IPOs and/or successful sales: PaaS, SaaS, AaaS, and more

Tech Crunch Crunchies recipient

Featured products at the plenary and demonstration areas of the primary TED annual conferences multiple years in a row

Multi-year plenary feature and core to the main roadshow for ESRI geospatial solutions (ESRI is the world’’s leading geospatial solutions company and one of the largest multi-billion dollar private software companies in the world) and other major SIs

World class, leading developer tools and services including databases, language compilers and IDEs

Best of class software products and services for many years running, winning top industry awards- analytics, social, workflow, gaming, financial services, i-radio and more

Best of class mobile and consumer electronics products and services for many years running, winning top industry awards- multifunction systems, network cards, smartphones, and more
$0 to $B, many companies from pre-concept

As well:

Successfully raised funding for multiple high tech companies

Sought out to mentor CEOs and companies by entrepreneurs, incubators, venture capitalists and equity firms

Served as industry spokesman in multi-billion dollar high tech industries - multiple verticals

Multiple patents filed internationally

MIT graduate in Computer Science and Engineering

MBA and solid, consistent track record delivering great product and recovering success in technically challenged projects

Developer, partner, customer, and complete product team and ecosystem builder

Companies include Palm, Apple, Borland, eFax/J2 and smaller ventures

Led independent consulting practice to deliver for customers for 14 years

Recent Answers

You should set up your contracts so there's clarity on payments and milestones per payment. In that way, you and your customer are already agreed on what payments are owed if you become in breach of contract, which is apparently what this client believes you have done. Additionally, if a client then attempts to rescind the payment, you have the signed contract to prove to the bank or credit card company that the chargeback is not appropriate (unless it is). For each milestone, the payment is confirmation that the milestone is complete. You can also request confirmation with a set number of days defined where any bugs or issues may be reported upon delivery or after the milestone date. And state in the contract that once the set number of days transpires without requests for fixes, that this is defined to mean that the client accepts and is satisfied with what you delivered. Some contracts call for x% to be paid upon contract start, and then the remainder to be paid over 1 or more additional milestones. The contract should list clearly the options that the client and you have to sever the relationship and what this means as far as remaining payments.

Chargebacks are for consumers who do not receive the goods they were promised by a vendor. It's typically tied to credit card purchases.

Please feel free to give me a call if you have further requirements that cause you to have questions on the above.

Many companies bootstrap their product development by providing services. You can do so from one company. At the point when you believe that the focus of the two businesses is a full time job each, and the channels for sales, etc. are not congruent, then you may want to consider spinning out the product company from the services company. You can even continue to do some services from your product company even, that are more in line with your product direction, and let the services company thrive on its own, at this point in time. It sounds like you're too early to worry about spinning out the product company from your services company. There are some accounting differences between the two types of businesses so that at some point, there may be positives from having two companies. As well, if there's conflicts not just in focus and accounting, but also in competitive issues with your product for your service customers, then the separation into two companies is of value.

Feel free to give me a call if you'd like to go through the details of your current situation in more detail.

I've put together many multi-company product development partnerships. However, as a startup, the other company may not consider you to have enough credibility (longevity, need to pivot to better meet market needs, time for product to reach market) and may not want to expend the time and resources requied to make a partnership work.

The value proposition can be time to market, differentiation as far as a more complete solution, use of sales force and channel or marketing dollars to sell something that is more readily acquired by a customer. As the startup, you gain credibility through the brand of the other company, if it's established, trusted, and well known.

I would need to know more about your particular situation to be able to be more complete in answering this question. Please feel free to give me a call if you'd like to go into further detail.

In my experience, unless you have a strong ability to offer more value than just product management, the assignments tend to go to a dedicated product manager or the other teammates or CEO provides this role and then they hire either a long term consultant or a full-time person. If you're a long term consultant, at least half your time is invested in the project, typically. You can freelance more easily doing two VP Engineering roles that also covers Product.

Unless your application is something you'd have to submit through the FDA or other regulatory because its use could impact health, all you should need are disclaimers. You aren't giving the person source code. You are asking them to take time from their schedules to try out your offering and to give you feedback that will hopefully help you to shape a product that is of more value and that users will want to use. It's not a final application and unless it's extremely high value per unit (1M / unit) it's not a true product, you're not losing any customers even if they give it to someone else, you're simply getting someone else to give feedback on your product. If you're worried about someone copying it, unless you're at the forefront of a very competitive industry, where a competitor will put a lot of engineers on copying and improving what you have immediately, there's no need to worry about your app being disseminated by users. If you don't want more user feedback, you can ask your users to not distribute it. And then you can ignore if someone else gives you feedback beyond the limited beta.

You can find typical disclaimers that you include with your product by looking at commercial product. This essentially states that people are aware that this is not final product, their data is not safe, they should back it up, that the product will have bugs, and that they are offered it so you can get feedback to improve your product.

I don't know your product so cannot guess beyond this as to other potential issues that might make you ask the question above. Please feel free to give me a call to discuss if you would like to go into this in more detail.

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