Is My App Really Mine?

Is My App Really Mine?

In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Lauren Conaway sits down with Elisabeth Bohlmann. Our guest is the vice president of client strategy at December Labs. The insightful duo talks about intellectual property and design thinking.

Dive into the conversation. Learn how to take your product development and app design to the next level. This conversation will support you in achieving continuous growth and business scalability.

Business Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Covered In This Episode

Be a smarter entrepreneur! Make sure you fully own your app and other proprietary business technologies. But, how exactly? At one point, Lauren and Elisabeth share insights about design thinking. It’s a problem-solving approach that enables businesses to improve their products and services by gathering and analyzing user insights. Further along the way, they discuss how you can improve your app’s usability and marketability while maintaining ownership of your intellectual property. 

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Are you ready for a passionate discussion about tech, startups, and the things they do at December Labs?

Highlights

  • Elisabeth’s journey as a global citizen (02:52)
  • How Elisabeth underwent professional development from one field to another (06:53)
  • The backstory of Elisabeth’s path that led her to December Labs (09:38)
  • Working with clients and company services being offered (12:15)
  • What is design thinking? (16:30)
  • Things that every entrepreneur should know about intellectual property ownership (29:28)
  • Simple yet practical IP wisdom from Elisabeth for every business owner (34:08)

Key Quotes

I always, or most of the time, really see a lot of passion behind that. And that’s really contagious, like you get that every day. And I always say, you know, like before, I was lucky because I was able to listen to music all day as part of my job. Now, I am so lucky to hear about so many amazing, inspiring stories every day.

– Elisabeth Bohlmann

Entrepreneurship is so powerful. I mean, it has the opportunity to transform communities and transform families and transform society. It’s just so very layered.

– Lauren Conaway

I love to be an observer. I love to read, kind of, between the lines. I like to look at body language and expressions. Like people tell us so many things besides what they actually say.

– Elisabeth Bohlmann
Startup Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Rough Transcript

The following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode.

00:00.00

Lauren Conaway

And we are back. Thank you for joining us for another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host, Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHER KC. It is my joy and privilege to tell you that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by FullScale.io. Helping you build a software team quickly and affordably. And also making it possible for us to bring you the magic that is the Startup Hustle podcast. We love you, Full Scale. So today, I’m really interested. Usually, I’m going to let you, listeners, in on a little secret but general. When I hop on a recording with a guest, I kind of know what’s going to happen conversationally. I don’t necessarily have all of the individual questions written out or anything like that. But I have a general gist of the conversation that is about to take place. Well, today, guest, I’m gonna tell you I have no idea what’s gonna happen on this podcast episode because we have Elisabeth Bohlmann with us today. Elisabeth is VP of client strategy for December Labs. But I have to tell you one of the most impressive things about her and keep in mind I’ve known her for, you know, ten–fifteen minutes as we do our pre-show prep.

00:57.90

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Yeah.

01:16.17

Lauren Conaway

She seems to know a little bit about a lot of things. So we’re going to be talking about a lot of things around the entrepreneurial process, technology, and IP, and there are just so many conversational ways we can go. And, dear listeners, I have no idea what’s going to happen right now. But I am going to start off by thanking Elisabeth for being here on the show. Thank you so much for joining us. I can’t wait for this conversation.

01:45.80

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Lauren, I’m very excited to be here. And yeah, cheers to not having a plan.

01:49.40

Lauren Conaway

We’re just gonna white-knuckle it, which is the entrepreneurial way, right? Yeah, we’re getting very meta. We’re gonna be entrepreneurial on the podcast about entrepreneurialism, and I’m very much looking forward to it. Well, let’s go ahead and kick it off.

01:53.00

Elisabeth Bohlmann

But yeah, yeah, exactly. That’s a fun part of it.

02:04.24

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Yep.

02:07.63

Lauren Conaway

In the grandest way, Elisabeth, I’m going to ask you to tell us about your journey.

02:15.25

Elisabeth Bohlmann

That’s actually a very complex question because there have definitely been many different journeys in my life.

02:20.82

Lauren Conaway

Extraordinarily short, I get to the wires. I do love complex questions.

02:31.17

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Maybe also kind of, as an introduction, or to explain a little bit where I come from, journey-wise. I am a German, born and raised. I come from a small island in the north sea of Germany, which is where I grew up. But ever since then, I’ve crossed continents and many different countries and spoken many different languages. Today, I actually reside in South America in beautiful Montevideo, Uruguay. Ever been there?

02:58.90

Lauren Conaway

I have not, but I’ve certainly seen pictures. And I’m a little jealous, I’m not gonna lie. But you are a global citizen. Is there a place that has struck you more so than others that you would return to? Are you pretty happy where you are?

03:03.12

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Yeah, know, ah.

03:16.77

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, I am pretty happy where I’m at. I think one of the constants that I always have been looking for in the sea. The ocean I grew up in was a Navy. No, ah, no, no way around it, and I mean we did.

03:18.30

Lauren Conaway

This.

03:30.60

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

03:33.57

Elisabeth Bohlmann

We did move a lot, but we’re always close to the sea. So yeah, that I think is kind of the common ground there.

03:35.77

Lauren Conaway

Oh, I love that. That’s awesome. Well, so tell us more about your story. I mean, how did you end up where you are now other than being a traveler extraordinaire.

03:46.87

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Yeah. Ah, yeah, right? No. So um, I mean again after you know, growing up in Germany I did spend some time in the Us and California actually went back to Germany um, got my masters of economics ah in the meantime um, did spend already some time abroad in South America where I kind of got trapped and um, yeah from economics did a switch to digital marketing and you know you were talking about journeys and I think that is really that was really one of the first ah kind of strange journeys in a way that I did um.

04:15.66

Lauren Conaway

Wow.

04:26.95

Elisabeth Bohlmann

But when I was studying economics, one of my main areas of focus was behavioral economics, and actually, that’s not that unrelated to marketing if you think about, you know, like how behavioral economics really tries to take conservation. What? People think when they act within those economic models. So yeah, so my first um.

04:42.78

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

04:46.18

Elisabeth Bohlmann

My first journey, literally and meaning that I moved to South America but also professionally, was from economics to digital marketing, and I was very lucky there to work. With amazing companies. In the media segment, the music segment is Universal Music. Sony Music has many different artists and many different entertainment companies, and I am actually also, you know, talking again about journeys. I am a musician, so that really tied nicely. There. Yeah, like ah you know between um, yeah, between you know like the kind of working with what was my hobby.

05:11.10

Lauren Conaway

And wow.

05:23.31

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, to do many things in that sense. Professionally, that was kind of the journey number one, I would say.

05:31.16

Lauren Conaway

And that is super impressive. Would you say that you are? It seems like you are a perpetual student of life. You know, learning different languages, traveling to different places, meeting new people, learning new instruments, learning new trades because I do have to say.

05:40.70

Elisabeth Bohlmann

I tried to.

05:48.82

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, yeah, yeah, economics. Yeah.

05:50.91

Lauren Conaway

I can see that there are commonalities between economics and digital marketing and behavioral psychology need, and as you know, there are all of these different threads that are are I feel that would be transferable, but I had never really thought about that before, so I want to ask you a little bit more about.

06:02.15

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

06:08.80

Lauren Conaway

About that decision. What was the process that brought you to such a pivot?

06:12.80

Elisabeth Bohlmann

I think it has a little bit to do with my initial decision to go for economics which was not that much for a passion for economics but more for what I would be able to do with it. I thought, you know, like I always saw myself already as kind of an international Nomad. Knowing that I did not want to study or, you know, do anything which was going to limit me to either a specific country or a specific continent. Um, and yeah, and economics. You know, it kind of sounded like ah like a good. Like a good path to go down. Um, but I was not necessarily super passionate about some of the yeah, So some of the typical job Journeys that you take on I was not going to work and you know a financial institution being you know, like kind of um. Yeah, just in that, you know, the corporate only world, I always had that creative side to me like more on the um on the personal and so, yeah, and I always actually thought I should work in a record at a record company like when I was growing up I was like you know I should work on the business side of music. But then yeah, like think about you know, kind of.

07:10.40

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, yeah.

07:17.75

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Two thousand, you know, after Napster, after you know like um, kind of ah piracy um, started entering the music world which you know the music was really one of the first and businesses to really suffer from that from the entire you know, like ah internet journey. So um, the thing is that ah that actually working in digital marketing.

07:27.81

Lauren Conaway

Sure.

07:37.10

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Was it a great moment to be in a great kind of way that just fell into place um to meet that kind of you know the first dream that I had because um, again, ah music the music industry 1 was one of the first ones to respond.

07:44.38

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

07:52.23

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, to the challenges of piracy and was one of the first industries to look at the digital consumer. So you know, think about Facebook, you know the first musicians are showing up there. Well, myspace actually before that even, and so um, yeah, and it was just really fun. You know, having to listen to music all day.

08:09.76

Lauren Conaway

Well.

08:11.41

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Because you were thinking about creative marketing plans and just you know how to sell music which in the end is not like you’re selling a vacuum cleaner. It’s about making a connection. So yeah, that I think was really a fun part of it.

08:17.36

Lauren Conaway

Right? Absolutely. Well, I love that you found a field that allowed you to exercise your creativity, and it allowed you to really like to break down.

08:29.34

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Yeah.

08:34.45

Lauren Conaway

That because when you think about digital marketing, really all you’re doing is you’re breaking down human behavior and specifically Consumer behavior and trying to figure out how to speak to it, and so I love the fact that you attacked the industry from multiple angles as it serves you that ah that is super cool now tell us.

08:37.78

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Yeah, yeah.

08:54.39

Lauren Conaway

How did you end up in a startup?

08:56.16

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Yeah, yeah, well actually um, what like some of the main areas that you know we always were working on were um, you know on the one hand digital products meaning you know e-commerce’s landing pages websites for example for these artists or for these record companies. And in addition to that of obviously a social media strategy, anything kind of around that but I always kind of like more the product-centric focus of things, and for many years I was able to do that. But then, really, the last final years. It was just all about social media, and it can be.

09:30.75

Lauren Conaway

Short.

09:30.84

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Really overwhelming. Um, I mean, I’m sure you know it. It might have happened to you. Also, you know, on the one hand, you have to use some of it for work. You know privately. But then, if you have to work in that space. It’s really intense, and so I had been kind of flirting with text space in general. And um, yeah, I was at a certain point really ready to make that transition and um, got the opportunity to pivot to December Labs which is more than a startup, though. I mean, the company has been around since 2014, so um, at that moment when I joined in 2018? Um, yeah, it was still almost kind of a startup. And but really more than that, it is a design and development company working with many different startups. So I really was able to pivot there again to something that I had previously found or started to be really passionate about.

10:23.23

Lauren Conaway

Here.

10:24.57

Elisabeth Bohlmann

So um, again, like when you just think of it like the journey of you know, being an economist to working and technology that path or that journey might not see it might not seem as straightforward in the beginning. But then when you kind of look at the journey, you know, kind of broken down in steps, I think it just kind of makes sense, right.

10:42.90

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, it really does, and I and I love the way that you’ve kind of crafted this career that each step has prepared you for the next, that is.

10:50.90

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Right? Definitely me.

10:53.68

Lauren Conaway

That’s incredible and gives you like it, and it’s helped you broaden your scope and your skill set. I mean, as I said, like when we were talking, you know, in guest prep, I was like I don’t even know what we’re going to talk about because we could talk about everything and.

11:02.46

Elisabeth Bohlmann

I actually wanted to be an astronaut when I was little. That’s, I think, where it all started out. We didn’t get to do that yet. But yeah, there was oh my gosh.

11:08.20

Lauren Conaway

Who do I want to be? I wanted to be Mae Jemison. I remember. I remember, yeah, for sure. Ah, well, so let me ask the thing that I want to talk about right now is December Labs, and I just want to get a little tactic.

11:22.47

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, yeah, sure thing, right.

11:27.60

Lauren Conaway

Tactical with you for a moment. So talk to us about December Labs. What do you do? How do you work with your clients? What does that look like?

11:36.45

Elisabeth Bohlmann

I mean, the simple answer is, of course, you know we provide design and development services mainly for startups. Also, for some enterprises from Google to Accenture and many, many in-betweens, but I like to look at this, I’m always kind of from a different perspective because we are really building. People’s products, and if you want to get a little bit more cheesy, ah people’s dreams because that’s really what it’s because it’s really what it is ah no, no, really no and you don’t know how many times it happens to me that speaks to entrepreneurs, startup founders and.

11:55.47

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, oh, bring all the Genius, bring all the cheese we need it. You’re building dreams.

12:10.57

Elisabeth Bohlmann

You know they tell us, or they tell me about their idea, and I just get really excited about it because you know either. There’s just such an interesting story behind it, or they’re really trying to solve a problem that’s not being solved so far, or they’re trying to improve people’s lives. I mean, there are, of course, many different objectives that a startup can have and anything.

12:23.29

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

12:29.51

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, yeah, entertainment to providing a solution for something and ah, but I always or most of the time really see a lot of passion behind that, and that’s really contagious like you get that every day and I always say you know like before I was lucky because I was you know able to listen to music all day as part of my job now I am.

12:36.60

Lauren Conaway

Um, yeah.

12:48.32

Elisabeth Bohlmann

So lucky to hear about so many amazing, inspiring stories every day. Um, so yeah, that’s the more kind of yeah.

12:50.73

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, that I gotta tell you that’s actually one of my favorite parts of what I do, too. I mean, the fact is like and this you know what? I’m gonna take a moment, Elisabeth. Let’s take a moment to honor the entrepreneurs listening at home. You know we see you.

13:00.78

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, it is, yeah yeah.

13:08.59

Lauren Conaway

And what you do is really, really, really hard. But hopefully, it’s driven by the kind of passion and the kind of vision and the kind of excitement that Elisabeth is talking about because otherwise, we wouldn’t do it as we would.

13:14.77

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, yeah.

13:20.65

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, yeah, yeah.

13:24.10

Lauren Conaway

I didn’t have that love of the game and love of what we’re doing and believed in what we’re doing. We wouldn’t do it because it wouldn’t be worthwhile, right?

13:31.43

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Yeah, no, and it’s really, and it’s really hard. It’s really hard, and you know how many people are in those positions while there, you know, driven by their dreams. How, of course, they also suffer just. Because there’s so much that they’re putting in, you know, on the table there and so many times, you know, oftentimes money, you know, before they start to get some financial support there as well. So um, so yeah, and I think from my end. It’s always super important to emphasize that.

13:47.11

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

14:01.61

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

14:03.70

Elisabeth Bohlmann

You know, as I mean, yes, of course, I might be speaking to someone who, at the end of the day, will ask me. You know, hey, do you have a designer that can work with me on my prototype. That’s the technical part of it. But I really try to go a lot beyond that and really under. Dan, what is the problem like? Wow, and how can you support that person? Sometimes the answer is yeah, we can help you, and sometimes it’s not, but you can still have a conversation about some of the many learnings that we have had in all of these years working with so many different startups, and I always yeah, try to. I tried to provide that kind of support because I think it’s just, you know, it’s so much bigger than just that specific conversation that you’re having that day.

14:38.38

Lauren Conaway

No, well, and I mean entrepreneurship is so powerful. I mean, it has the opportunity to transform communities and transform families and transform society. You know, it’s just so very layered.

14:42.59

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Is he?

14:49.11

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Yeah.

14:55.57

Lauren Conaway

And I love your dedication to it. Now I Want to ask you? Um, either know one of the things that I find so interesting about what you do or at least my perception of what you do, ah, but you know you say that you’re helping. You know startups and entrepreneurs build their dreams, and I wholeheartedly believe in that, but ah, a huge piece of that puzzle and something that we kind of talked about when we were talking before is that design piece. Um, you know, one of the things that we had discussed was like that product life cycle, and so I want to ask.

15:10.65

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Is it?

15:16.96

Elisabeth Bohlmann

I Mean. It is.

15:28.22

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, yeah.

15:30.91

Lauren Conaway

And I kind of want to start at the ten thousand-foot views if that’s okay with you, and then we can get a little bit more specific, but I want to talk to you about design as a concept.

15:39.81

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Is it?

15:41.74

Lauren Conaway

Um, you know, one of the things that you know it’s on my setlist. But I really really wanted to ask you. This is how design drives technology.

15:47.49

Elisabeth Bohlmann

No, that’s ah, that’s a great question and um, really you know going at you know ten thousand miles high kind of respective when you’re building any product I mean of course we’re talking here today about digital products but really any with any product I always try to. Emphasize on. You know you really need to make sure that you’re building the right product and you’re building it the right way, and those are two things that have to kind of come together and um.

16:12.76

Lauren Conaway

Um, yeah.

16:20.27

Elisabeth Bohlmann

The answer on how to solve this and also make sure that you try to be one of those startups that actually succeeds. I mean, I just saw um the other day, you know? An article once again confirms how you know 9 out of 10 startups tend to fail. Um, after a certain amount of time. So.

16:36.46

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

16:38.64

Elisabeth Bohlmann

It’s really hard, and how can you try to try as much as possible to be within that 10% that actually works. Um, it is really about building the right product the right way, and how do you do that, or what kind of tools can you leverage? Well, the design aspect of it is really what I’m going to help you with.

16:43.91

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

16:57.77

Elisabeth Bohlmann

For most of those questions, a lot of you know the design and software. Um, today is um, ah based on design thinking um ah methodologies which actually have been around for a long time like I think since the sixty s or so and that they have been like this is like something actually totally independent of software. Originally you know it was.

17:04.63

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

17:15.68

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, yeah.

17:17.73

Elisabeth Bohlmann

And it was applied in architecture and education in so many different ways. But fortunately, it has made its way to software because we all remember those websites from the 90 s that definitely weren’t designed by designers and that we never want to see again.

17:33.57

Lauren Conaway

Shuen madam.

17:36.21

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, but then also, of course, during that time. There was a lot less competition as far as digital products. But today there is, and for example, when you’re building a mobile app, and you’re a startup, your mobile app will be on users’ phones and be right next to Instagram, right next to Spotify, you know, like next to apps that have invested millions I don’t.

17:39.60

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

17:50.58

Lauren Conaway

Here.

17:56.13

Elisabeth Bohlmann

You know I don’t know the exact numbers, but that just is a very strong competition. So how do you make sure that your app or you know be it ah more on the website? Um, you know that your product really solves a problem, and that’s where.

17:59.80

Lauren Conaway

Um, yeah.

18:10.90

Elisabeth Bohlmann

It really comes to putting the user first design thinking really talks about putting the user at the center of all your decision-making, and that’s yeah, yeah, sure.

18:15.15

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well, and so real quick, I just want to bust in, and for those of you who are not familiar with design thinking, design thinking is a problem-solving methodology, and there are five stages. The first is to empathize. Figure out your user’s needs by talking to them and trying to understand them.

18:25.20

Elisabeth Bohlmann

This is.

18:34.60

Lauren Conaway

Stage 2 is defined, so you have to restate your user’s needs and make sure that you’re asking for your earlier point. Elisabeth, make sure that you’re asking the right form of the question, and I have some stories around that. I actually do some design thinking workshops periodically, and I have some stories.

18:40.32

Elisabeth Bohlmann

In the book.

18:45.66

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Means I love that.

18:51.76

Lauren Conaway

AC 3, you got to ideate, you know, remove all of those fetters on your mind, think big, do that moonshot thinking but brainstorm and talk and come up with ideas and solutions to the problem. Um, then your prototype and build out test models. With which you can test small portions of a process, you can test software, but you know you figure out how to build what you want to build, and then you try it out, and then finally you are reiterating. You’re refining. You’re developing. And you’re bringing a strong product to market or a strong concept to market. So I just wanted to throw that out there. That’s kind of the stage of design thinking. But yeah, to your point, you know one of the hugest parts, and there’s even an Albert Einstein quote that goes along with this.

19:28.73

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, thanks a lot. Yeah.

19:40.46

Lauren Conaway

You know, if I had a pro, I’m paraphrasing here, so bear with me. But if I had a problem, if I had an hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem in 5 minutes on the solution. He said something like that because you really have to, you have to in design thinking you have to have that empathy piece like.

19:51.22

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Here in here. Yeah, yeah.

19:59.97

Lauren Conaway

Do you know your customer? Do you know what they want? Do you know how to deliver what they want and so I would, yeah, I would love to hear you expound on that a little bit that user experience piece.

20:04.31

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, no, thanks so much. I think it’s, you know, I don’t know how many people are really acquainted with this kind of thing. Ah yeah, Overall, you know the principle of design thinking because oftentimes, people when thinking about design. Just think about the final interface. You know what? You? What we call the UI. The user interface is exactly like the colors you know, like how big or small the fonts are. Yeah, and that is.

20:24.64

Lauren Conaway

Right? What does it look like? Yeah, oh, it’s so so much more.

20:35.23

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Part of it is part of it. But it’s only one part, and really the more research approach almost as you were saying, you know, emphasizing and ideating but also validating things with users. The good thing is really that there are so many things to do today around that. Um. Kind of a lot of that kind of goes under the umbrella of UX user experience. So you ah you oftentimes will see you know, ah the role of a UX UI designer for example and 1 of the first things that I always say is you know like the one thing that those 2 have in common is you for the user because of both of them.

21:03.10

Lauren Conaway

Yes.

21:09.45

Lauren Conaway

Fit.

21:12.32

Elisabeth Bohlmann

We’re user-centric, and that’s really what it is about it as you were saying, it is about putting the user at the center of what you’re doing and validating with users every step of the way so going to you know like a little bit more tactical. Um, um, yeah, so a little bit more tactical approach here.

21:18.57

Lauren Conaway

Well.

21:29.75

Elisabeth Bohlmann

We, for example, at December Labs, try to really validate with users. Be it, potential users, because this is a new platform, and you have to know source users based on the segment that you want to sell this product to in the future or existing users. Suppose you’re doing um, you know, different um iterations on something that you’ve already built. But really validating things with users, and this is from the beginning to understand, you know to really understand if what you’re trying to build or what you’re trying to iterate is actually what people want because oftentimes people think you know user validation is only in the end you know with the click of a prototype.

21:57.18

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, yeah.

22:05.29

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Basically is, you know, putting all of those different design screens that you have done in a wireframing stage or in the final stage and putting them together. You know, so that you can kind of click through them. But that’s just one of the many things of user validation. It’s also about yeah now it’s ah ah yeah.

22:09.80

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

22:15.98

Lauren Conaway

For sure. Can I apologize? Well, I was missing. Can I tell a story because I have a story, and I love telling this story when I do a design thinking workshop? Actually, the first thing I have to tell you is I do have to bust in and tell you about today’s episode of Startup Hustle.

22:25.10

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Yes, I would love to.

22:36.50

Lauren Conaway

Sponsored by FullScale.io, they can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. Imagine your life as you try to deliver a technology product. Imagine your life is made easier, and that’s what Full Scale does, and that’s what I see them do in their clients’ lifetime and time again. Um, but yeah, I Just we’re very grateful to them, but all right? So I have this story here. It goes, so I was due. I used to work for an organization that they’re really innovating even to this day, innovating an experiential education for kids.

23:10.57

Lauren Conaway

And so design thinking is one of the methodologies that they used to use, and I remember we had partnered with an area bank, and we used to run programs where we would reach out to high school students, and we would take them through a design thinking process and have them solve a problem that an organization in our community was having just to kind of introduce them.

23:29.73

Lauren Conaway

To the concepts, we partnered with a bank and the bank. The question that the bank was initially asking was how might we engage students in saving for their future, and they had ah, you know, they had all of these products as a bank that they could offer to students, you know, student checking and. You know, savings accounts to save up for college tuition and things and things like that, and it was, you know, it was great. So we go into this thing, and we’re asking the students to tell us how to engage you in long-term financial strategy management, like how we can engage you in this process now.

24:06.50

Lauren Conaway

What was fascinating is that we all expected the solutions that the kids came back with, and we expected all of the solutions to be technology-oriented. Oh, you need to do an app to let us check-in, and you need to give us a reward point like that is 100% what we were expecting but then over the course of the day, as we went through the.

24:12.55

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Ah, ah.

24:20.50

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Right.

24:25.17

Lauren Conaway

You know the ideation validation, you know, empathy processes of a design thinking the solutions that the kids all came up with were where they were all like they didn’t know finding finance like nobody had stopped.

24:28.55

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Him.

24:39.62

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Right.

24:42.24

Lauren Conaway

Taught them, so all of their solutions were related to coming to our high school and telling us about saving, like what tells us what a savings account is before we can strategize on how to get us to use one and so like a lot of the solutions were like.

24:46.69

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Wow! yeah.

24:57.42

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, just have a pizza party, and like we’ll have a class where we’ll talk about things like checking account checking accounts and CDs and investments and all of those things that nobody has taught us yet and so the problem that this bank was having was not the problem that they thought they had.

25:13.30

Lauren Conaway

And so figuring out that they were able to, you know, talk to their potential customers. It was hugely enlightening for them because they were able to empathize with that first stage in design thinking and really listen to their customers and determine. This is not the best form of the question. The best form of the question is how can we.

25:28.46

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Right.

25:33.20

Lauren Conaway

Educate our students on financial literacy so that we can then engage them in saving strategies for financial health and set them up for success. They had missed the first part of the equation, and so I just find it fascinating because that’s actually what we’re talking about here.

25:41.40

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Right? Right? Yeah, yeah, now a hundred percent agreed, and it is exactly how we are, how we were saying, you know to validate something even before you’re building it because if the bank would have taken the decision. What or we think we know what these you know what these high school students will want, so we are going to build the app, and then we will validate it with them. They would have missed the entire point of things, and so that is exactly now exactly, and that’s exactly why it is so important to make sure.

26:01.73

Lauren Conaway

We’re going to make the app.

26:07.33

Lauren Conaway

Well, and wasted so much time and money and labor. And yeah.

26:18.20

Elisabeth Bohlmann

You know, going again 1 step back to build the right product. Yes, then, of course, afterward making sure you build it the right way but build the right product and don’t just think that because you think you know what the solution is, ah you know that you know that for everyone else, especially when you are not your own target demographic.

26:35.90

Lauren Conaway

Right.

26:36.98

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Because you know sometimes I mean you might know something might have happened to you. You might have gone through a situation. Um, you know, for example, in Healthcare, we see it a lot. You know entrepreneurs from, and you know, different types of healthcare startups, and they have had personal experiences with their family members. You know, certain people have gotten sick, or maybe they.

26:55.49

Elisabeth Bohlmann

You know, have um, you know, and they have parents that got out of the hospital. Um, and didn’t have the proper post, and you know op Care. So That’s where you know their ideas for startups come from, and they have a lot of um, kind of own experience to um, yeah to just nurture that idea. But in this case, the bank, like the decision-makers or the people that were going to come up with that idea, weren’t what they weren’t high school students and when they were high school students. They probably had totally different problems than high school students today. So I Love that example and how that actually, you know, was made. The entire situation pivots but hopefully to a solution that actually is focused on their user’s potential customers and so.

27:32.68

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well, and what was great is, you know, like by the end of the day. The higher-ups of the bank who were on site were okay like we need to kind of. We need to change this strategy. We need to figure out what we can do to educate these kids and then engage these kids and hopefully cultivate them.

27:43.31

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, yeah.

27:52.33

Lauren Conaway

Long-term customers for the bank, which you know are great. But more importantly, Foster Financial Health awareness for the students. You know how we can help set our kids up for success. So one of the things that I want to talk to you about and.

27:52.47

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Is it?

27:57.98

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Yeah, yeah.

28:10.46

Lauren Conaway

You know we talk about the struggles of being an entrepreneur. We definitely just reference but 1 of the things that entrepreneurs get super Cagey about and something that I believe you know, ah quite a bit about is ah the title of this episode is my app really mine.

28:13.48

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Mean I.

28:22.71

Elisabeth Bohlmann

This is.

28:29.51

Lauren Conaway

And I want to talk to you about that because you know entrepreneurs go through just a huge long process to develop and reiterate and iterate their products. Um, talk to us about that piece of it. The intellectual property piece.

28:39.82

Elisabeth Bohlmann

He. Mean Yeah, I think as we were saying a little bit earlier when you’re an entrepreneur, you have to wear so many different hats you have to be, you know, aware or guide or drive so many different areas and especially when it comes to software development. There are many things that you as a non-technical founder might not know in the beginning, and so one of the things that, um, you know happens a lot to us at December Labs is, of course, that we have conversations with people who have in the past already started to build something and maybe.

29:06.99

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

29:20.14

Elisabeth Bohlmann

They want us to take over because of A-B-C reasons. You know they are not happy, or they know their previous team is not able to scale, or they just want a different approach that they’re there. There are a number of different reasons. And 1 of the first things that we always ask is, you know, like um, do you like do you have the Ip under your hood?” You know, like what you do, you have access and ownership of everything, and most of the time, fortunately, um, people say yeah, we do, but actually, oftentimes it also happens that they say oh. Let me check. I think you know everything is on our previous developer servers, or actually, I don’t have access to this. But yes to this but not to that or you know when it comes to um, the actual app you know the certificates or even user accounts for the app stores and so um, one of the things that we. Try to do in general is just evangelize and share knowledge in the tech space and this includes you know design thinking your x UI design but also software development and best practices just because I think that in spite of you know someone working together with us or not or us being a right partner. The more the entire ecosystem is knowledgeable about different things. The better for everyone because the more that like, the better decisions they will make so um, that is one of the parts of ah a series, a knowledge kind of base series that we put together on our blog which is called is my app really mine with just kind of like a checklist. Some of the things to check that you want to make sure at a minimum to make sure you know, um it when before you even start building a tech product like make sure that you have all of those um parts checked and if you see that something of that is missing when you’re looking at that list. Then make sure that you’re asking your developers the right questions about that. Hey, you know, like we really need to make sure that this is on our end, that this is on our service, that we have access to the code to the codebase to documentation because you never know what happens, you know, I mean it’s not just about sometimes not being happy with your development team. It might also be um, yeah that I mean there are many different things going on in in the world we have seen that now you know with um with the war going on and ah between Ukraine and Russia we actually have many people in our ecosystem that have developers there, and it’s really hard for them because they want to support.

31:25.47

Lauren Conaway

Here.

31:33.39

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Team members over there. But sometimes you know they can’t just ensure business as usual of course and be I mean it’s you know secondary if you think about everything that’s going on there but ah, but yeah, but how if you still have a business to run. How do you make sure that you could at least know for some time and then take your known things into your own hands? You do have to make sure.

31:37.20

Lauren Conaway

Right.

31:52.67

Elisabeth Bohlmann

That you yeah have everything under your control.

31:53.69

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, absolutely well in that feeling of security and control I cannot imagine. I mean, I know that I sleep well at night knowing that my assets are mine. How about you? How about you, Elisabeth? You can sleep well at night.

32:00.64

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, yeah, I’ll try. I have to say that, um 1 of actually one of the things that we work with a lot are wearables and kind of the wellness space and a lot of them. Like it seems that everything today is trying to make you sleep better. So you know and be relaxed, or you like to alleviate stress, and so I think it’s just a part of the generation or the world that we live in today and that I think we dedicate so much time to trying to sleep. Well, so I don’t know if I do sleep? Well, but I do.

32:35.22

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, if you mean, I feel as though being an entrepreneur like there’s definitely a little piece of that that it’s like yeah, you’re not going to sleep well for the next like five years, you know like just put that thought out of your mind.

32:38.79

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Try to leverage technology oftentimes to do so.

32:47.21

Elisabeth Bohlmann

I know it’s like a baby. It’s like you know it’s part of it. Yeah.

32:53.78

Lauren Conaway

But anything that can contribute to that helps with sleep. I mean, we all need sleep. You know, all right? So I do want to ask you, and I am very curious. We’ve definitely touched on a lot. But now I’m going to ask you to put your consultant hat on for our listeners.

33:10.00

Elisabeth Bohlmann

This.

33:12.23

Lauren Conaway

What are some very simple things that our listeners at home can implement tomorrow to positively impact their, oh, I don’t know, product developments, you know, design like any of the things that we’ve talked about?

33:17.75

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Isn’t.

33:21.13

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, sure. Um, I think user validation if you are not doing that today. Ah, start implementing that tomorrow for whatever kind of product that you’re building that you have built. And there are, fortunately, many different tools out there that you can leverage on the one hand when it comes to prototyping, and again I’m getting really tactical here. So if you have any questions later on, please feel free to reach out when it comes to ah tactual prototyping. We often use Figma, which is also, um, the platform mostly used for design.

33:48.69

Lauren Conaway

Where was.

33:57.42

Elisabeth Bohlmann

But sometimes we use it. Ah, ah, we use a platform called um, Ashure Um, which helps you, you know too? Um, get all those different inputs for ah fields um actually being like ah your potential users or the people that you’re validating this actually. You know, for example, type in their email address or things like that just so that it feels more real because, for example, if you have a product. That has a very lengthy onboarding process. It’s not the same if you’re testing it with users and they just have to click next then if they actually have to fill in those forms, Even if it’s just fictitious. So um, use different tools for prototyping. We Also use platforms such as lookback, for example.

34:25.34

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

34:33.62

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Forum, remote Um, ah usability studies where you know you have ah where you can have user interviews and record that session. But um, but basically anything from transcribing to making notes is really being facilitated with these kinds of tools. So yeah, I mean, there are many different ones out there again. Happy to connect with anyone who might be interested in that but use the tools that are out there because you can really get a lot of just listening to your potential users and, yeah, helping them with a solution.

34:52.98

Lauren Conaway

Short.

35:02.30

Lauren Conaway

Her. So do you have a favorite customer discovery method? It is user interviews for sure. As you can imagine, I love to talk?

35:05.91

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Works.

35:12.42

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Me.

35:18.23

Lauren Conaway

But well, I just love to talk to people and hear their stories. Do you have a favorite feedback mechanism?

35:23.31

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Um, I do like you know too? For example, whenever we do user interviews. Um, we always do them in pairs of 2 because one person is typically the moderator who is actually guiding the person through an entire, you know, session or so. And then there’s the other one who’s the observer and a notetaker, and I love to be an observer. I love to, you know, read kind of between the lines. I like to look at body language and expressions like people tell us so many things and besides what they actually say um, so so yeah and also one of the other things that I really enjoy is you know there is in.

35:52.13

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

36:00.40

Elisabeth Bohlmann

In user research and Ux research, There are so many different tactics to validate one specific thing. For example, let’s think about you know you have a huge platform with a lot of different menus and sub-menus. You know you can actually validate how users would. Group the different areas, you know, maybe the section should be totally different. You know, tree than ah and within the side map than where it is today because users that way won’t find it or things like that or a support section. So really use all those very specific tactics and um and yeah and get like. Really nitty and gritty i. Love how today we have so many solutions for that.

36:35.17

Lauren Conaway

I love it. That makes me so happy that that was great. Like I just love the passion coming through in your voice. It’s, you know, a chef’s kiss. Well, so let me ask you this, my friend, I’m coming up with.

36:45.58

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Ah, ah, ah.

36:54.45

Lauren Conaway

Ah, human question. I have no idea what I want to ask you because I want to ask you five different things. But I think that I am all right. I know what I’m gonna ask. Here comes, all right? You are a world traveler, and I love to travel.

37:05.33

Elisabeth Bohlmann

All right.

37:12.20

Lauren Conaway

Y’all make me very excited. I wish I could travel more. So my question to you is: what is your favorite place that you have visited, not that you’ve lived in? You’ve lived in a bunch of places, but what is your favorite place that you have visited and why?

37:27.60

Elisabeth Bohlmann

My favorite place I visited. I have to say it’s probably there. There’s probably not that one single answer to it but one of the places that I really enjoyed is Costa Rica. Why?

37:42.19

Lauren Conaway

Okay.

37:47.34

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Because besides being an amazing country, you know, nature-wise, there is an entire variety of things that you can do. From volcanoes to sloths to the Caribbean ocean and everything. It’s just the people, like when you are in a place where people are just really kind.

37:56.21

Lauren Conaway

Um, yeah.

38:04.83

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

38:06.67

Elisabeth Bohlmann

That just makes everything so much better. I’ve traveled to places that might be amazing as far as scenery or amazing as far as activities and things like that. But when you don’t feel that people are really kind and open, it’s not the same experience. So I think that just goes such a long way.

38:20.29

Lauren Conaway

Well, not only did that just make me super happy. But it made me want to visit Costa Rica. I have never been, and that just warmed my heart.

38:36.19

Lauren Conaway

Well, Elisabeth, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to chat with us. To share your story and to share a little bit about your methodology. It has been a pleasure and an honor. Thanks for joining us.

38:48.57

Elisabeth Bohlmann

Thank you so much. It was just really exciting yet to have a fellow passionate person here about everything related to really fun stuff here.

38:57.32

Lauren Conaway

I mean, you have a whole audience of excited, passionate people listening to you right now. So you are, I think, we’re all giving you a hug. Yeah.

39:03.42

Elisabeth Bohlmann

But I love being in good company.

39:11.86

Lauren Conaway

Like I said, thank you, listeners. We love that you take the time to spend with us every week. Hopefully, multiple times a week. We do drop recordings. I have five days a week; I believe that as of right now. Don’t tell Matt that I maybe forgot that. But thanks for joining us. I also want to thank our episode sponsor, Full Scale. Today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by FullScale.io. They can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. They can actually help you do a lot more than that. So definitely check them out at FullScale.io. Keep an ear out. You know one of the things that I’ve been really excited about; Matt has been rolling out a special series on NFTs. And as somebody who doesn’t really understand NFTs yet, it has been instrumental in my education on the topic. I hope that it becomes instrumental in yours. Definitely keep an eye out for those episodes. And again, thanks for taking the time to spend with us as we share founder stories. We will catch you on the flip side.

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