Building Hardware is Product Management

Aaron Holm, CEO of Blokable, shares best practices for developing physical products, his approach to prototyping a physical environment, and how he created a scalable offering for a slow-moving industry.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the news stories about the latest digital products. However, there are many large markets for physical products. Housing is one of the largest of those markets.

After working to create Amazon’s physical retail experience, Aaron founded Blokable, a modular home company. He’s now applying cutting-edge product management practices to building houses.

As you might imagine, customer development and prototyping for a product that serves as a physical environment where customers spend most of their lives is quite unique. While digital product managers think about user experience in terms of onboarding flows, calls to action, and copy, Aaron thinks about user experience in terms light theory, materials, and floor plans.

Aaron’s product is also unique in that his sales model is B2B2C. His company provides a large offering to development companies, who then sell individual homes to consumers. Aaron shares how he navigates these unique dynamics and what’s contributed to his success selling to a market that’s been fairly slow to adopt innovative solutions.

You’ll learn a lot from this episode about managing physical products, supply chain management, and product research.

Here are the highlights:

  • Aaron shares his most formative career experiences to date (7:55)
  • The unique challenges of managing a product that serves as a physical environment (11:30)
  • How Aaron builds prototypes given the scope of his product (16:15)
  • Aaron breaks down the importance of supply chain management (22:50)

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