Index - Discovery - Validation - Creation - Building

Step 1 - Phase 1 - Customer Discovery, State Your Hypothesis

  1. Product Hypothesis
    1. Product Features
    2. Product Benefits
    3. Intellectual Property
    4. Dependency Analysis
    5. Product Delivery Schedule
    6. Total Cost of Ownership and Adoption
  2. Customer and Problem Hypothesis
    1. Types of Customers
    2. Customer Problems
    3. A Day in the Life of your Customers
    4. Organizational Map and Customer Influence Map.
    5. ROI (return on investment) Justification
    6. Minimum Feature Set
  3. Distribution and Pricing Hypothesis
  4. Demand Creation Hypothesis
    1. Creating Customer Demand
    2. Influencers
  5. Market Type Hypothesis
  6. Competitive Hypothesis

Product Hypothesis

Initial guess about the product and its development. The Product Brief covers six areas.

Product Features

  1. rad-PaaS (rapid application development Platform as a Service)

    Technology and tools for agile software development and practices.

  2. Comprehensive Environment built from OSS

    Kubernetes and addons for services, logging, monitoring, storage, security, devops.

  3. No Vendor Lock In

    Run on any cloud provider, replace 3rd party services with OSS.

  4. Visibility for developers and the organization

    Gain greater visibility into application development, deployment, and operation. See the technical and non-technical performance data to make better choices. Find and fix errors faster.

  5. Reliability and Resiliancy.

    Kubernetes sets a new baseline for application deployment operations. From rollouts and rollbacks, autoscaling, and workload migration, you can have greater confidence that your applications are running the way you intend.

  6. Solve problems at the platform layer.

    Many common tools, features, and capabilities; that all applications need, can be solved at the shared platform level. This includes logging, monitoring, service discovery, distributed tracing, metrics, dashboards, encryption, security policy enforcement, and many more.

  7. End-to-end DevOps

    We prefer AppOps, with an application centric view point and development teams owning products end-to-end.

  8. Authentication on your terms

    Fine-grained control of users and services, tied to the Auth systems of your choice.

  9. Security

    Containers, network policies, automatic SSL, fine-grained RBAC controls.

  10. Hofstadter, Kubernetes addons

    We provide many proprietary addons to make the experience even better. If there is something you need, that isn’t out-of-the-box, let us know! We’d be happy to build it.

Product Benefits

Value capturing:

  1. Developer Enablement, Productivity, Happiness
  2. Increase Development Cadence
  3. Increase Service Reliability
  4. Deliver Better User Experiences Faster
  5. Capture more of the market
  6. Modernize Infrastructure and Practices, be truly Agile
  7. Using modern tech and practices attracts the best talent
  8. Best Practices

Costs and ownership:

  1. Cheaper with more features than the competition
  2. We are incentivized to minimize Your costs. We make the same either way.
  3. More Dedicated
    1. No shared masters, what if there was a security issue in the control plane?
    2. Not using vendor services, vendor can’t look at your data.

Intellectual Property

  • No Patents yet.
  • Plan to keep most things as trade secrets.
  • Open-source projects
    • Seek to create and benefit from a community
    • Contribute useful projects
    • Can keep proprietary systems secret through main tool geb
  • Dashboards, web interfaces, other UI/UX
  • Copy-cat many API SaaS products, open-source some?

Dependency Analysis

What must happen that is out of our control?


Desire for Infrastructure Modernization at an organization.


This is probably the hardest and most unknown part. You can adopt tech, but you need to adopt new practices as well.


Need to get buy-in from them.

Product Delivery Schedule

When will the first product and additional features be ready?


Kind of today, definitely a manually deployed version could be done. A better initial cluster by the end of October 2017. Features added from there, based on customer feedback.

Total Cost of Ownership and Adoption

Adoption is the harder part, requires a period of change and switch-over. Ownership should be very beneficial to them and they will recoup costs quickly. Hofstadter Kubernetes is far cheaper than hiring internally and cheaper than the competitions options.

Customer and Problem Hypothesis

Initial guess about the customer and their problems. The Customer and Problem Brief covers six areas.

Types of Customers

The curious, who want to explore Kubernetes. We offer a free version with more features so they can survey more of the land. Lots of content to go with it.

Those who want Kubernetes, they are looking for a managed solution today.

Those who are hiring for containers and Kubernetes, they are going there and might chose an easier option.

Those who want to modernize their infrastructure and practices, they are looking for a new way forward and need some guidance.

Those who are missing their product development and operation goals, with because of inefficiencies, bad practices, or difficulty finding developer talent.

The locals, who we can learn from face-to-face, hand-in-hand. These are likely the earliest customers who are sold on the team and the vision. We are more willing to do custom work for them.


End User:

Developers, Tech Leads, sometimes PMs or report makers.


Developers, Product Managers


Product Managers, Developers, DevOps, Financials

Economic Buyer:

Financials, PMs, CIO/CTO

Decision Maker:

CTOs in all situations.

CEO/CTO/TechLead in small outfits.

CTO/ProdMngr/DivisionMngr in the middle



  • DevOps and System Administrators
  • Tech Leads in smaller orgs who are afraid of losing face. They haven’t used the tech, or probably learned a new tech in years.

Customer Problems

  • They know there is a better way and/or…
    • They’ve tried and failed
    • They have some idea of what is this looks like
    • They are not sure about much (lost when it comes to clouds)
  • Developers are hard to come by, especially good ones
    • They tend to go to the big name tech companies
    • They are getting more expensive
  • Missing Opportunities
    • Cannot get product out in time to capture market
    • Innovation is hard to deliver on schedule and under budget
  • Lack visibility into
    • Service operations, both performance and costs, lack details for accounting and associations
    • Development team effectiveness, efficiency, and contribution to the bottom line.
  • User Experience Blemishes
    • Downtime, slowness, and other reliablility issues.
    • Known bugs which are hard to track down and fix.
    • Feature requests are also hard to get out

A Day in the Life of your Customers


Product Managers…

Higher-ups (CEO/CTO)…

Organizational Map and Customer Influence Map.

Draw Image…

ROI (return on investment) Justification

Will pay for itself through capturing more opportunities in the market, minimizing your cloud costs, and reducing other inefficiencies.

Minimum Feature Set

Probably more DevOps and security focused. Likely need storage


  • Visibility
  • Databases
  • Big Data, ML
  • Serverless and events (messaging)

Distribution and Pricing Hypothesis

Initial guess on how to reach customers and product pricing.

Cheap Kubernetes clusters!!! With many extras.

The biggest question is what/when we run in their account versus our own account. (For protection of IP via trade secrets)


At first, direct sales and deployment.

Then, self-serve through website for free clusters.

After, a mix of both depending on needs and requirements of both parties.

In all, the “who’s account” question can be answered both ways.


You pay us for management, you pay your cloud provider directly. We are incentivized to help you minimize your costs with them.

Free version, with more capacity and features than the competitors.

Pricing per managed cluster, billed to the second.

Tiered by available features and out-of-the-box addons.

Some features will be gated by requiring deployment to Hofstadter account. This is to protect our IP when needed.

Those features will require Enterprise to run in your account.

First Tiers:

  • Free: $0
  • Paid: $100
  • Enterprise: $????

Latter Tiers and feature reshuffling:

  • Free: $0
  • Basic: $100
  • Premium: $500
  • Enterprise: $????

Demand Creation Hypothesis

Initial guess at how your customers will hear about your company and product once you are ready to sell. This brief covers the following areas.

Creating Customer Demand

Content Marketing:

  • Docs and tutorials for Developers
  • Case studies, business benefits for Non-devs

Speaking events, both tech and non-tech.

Job Postings, spam the recruiters back and talk to companies looking to hire for what we do.

Pointed advertising via GoogleAds (and LinkedIn?)


Trends, thought leaders, places that decision makers trust as a source of information and best-practices. Who, what, effects the customer’s opinions?

Market Type Hypothesis

Covers the 4 market types you can enter

The Kubernetes movement is under way. We will likely be Lower Cost, More Features. There may be niching as well to certain types of companies.

Later products may be in the New Product, Existing Market category.

Competitive Hypothesis

Based on the market you are entering, competition is based on some set of attributes about your products and your competitors. This briefs answers the how and why yours is better.

This section needs some up-to-date research, especially landscape, pricing, features, and positioning.

AWS, Google, M$, IBM. More dedicated, not trying to sell you things you can get for free, more data privacy, more out of the box.

RedHat, CoreOS, Heroku and other integrated platform providors.

Those in a similar place. Heptio, Platform9, GiantSwarm, other k8s companies.