Rasmus Makwarth on Bucket's mission, challenging incumbents, and understanding everything about your category
Product State Q&A
Rasmus Makwarth is the Founder and CEO at Bucket. He was formerly a Sr Director of Product Management at Elastic, and the Co-Founder and CEO at OpBeat.
EC: What is Bucket’s mission and what was the insight that sparked the product?
RM: I’ll answer the last part first. In the past decade, the workflow and tooling for building and releasing features have matured a lot. Structured code reviews, continuous integration, push to deploy, and so on.
We’ve gotten really good at delivering features, fast.
However, once a feature is deployed and is with the customers - which objectively is the most important part of the feature cycle - our existing tooling workflow takes us no further. And we often drop attention at the most crucial time.
At Bucket, we want to help product teams review, iterate and ship again as fast as possible. We’re building an automated and repeatable workflow for evaluating features.
Aaron Levie recently articulated the business impact of doing this well:
EC: You previously sold Opbeat to Elastic. What advice do you give to CEOs looking for an exit?
RM: In my experience, it seems like the CEOs that focus on creating value and innovation get acquired much more frequently than those looking to sell their business.
So, focus on the product!
I do encourage founders to enter markets where the incumbents are 6-8 years ahead of them. In most product categories, there’s a need for a new generation of tools, with a fresh perspective, every ~8 years.
You want to be part of that wave.
Ideally, you lead that wave and win the category (for 8 years).
If not, you’re well positioned for an acquisition by whoever is going after taking over that category.
EC: How did being a founder help you in your role as a product leader, and vice versa?
RM: The best founders scratch their own itch. Having passion and domain knowledge about a specific product category is a superpower for a founder. It makes all decisions - from product to hiring to sales - come to you much more naturally and effectively.
To be a product leader, you have to understand everything about the category:
The competition, pricing, positioning, and so on. You have to strategically locate a meaningful place for your product in the category quadrant.
Learning to think strategically like that is crucial for any new founder. A startup is much like a product.
Can you place your company where people will join you, investors will invest in you, and customers will buy from you?
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