Transitioning from Services to Products is Hard

When writing my travel+productivity woes I found myself thinking about reevaluating what I deemed as a “product day”.

In the past I could easily look back at the end of the day (or week) and see something tangible to judge. Even without billable hours to evaluate 1, I could look at the functionality/features/code I created and judge progress and easily apply a sense of accomplishment to my work.

My problem now-a-days is when I look back at the end of the day (or week, or month) I see a lot less achieved. Running a product business at Sprout Apps is completely different than service oriented work at Sprout Venture. My days are completely different, now filled with marketing, biz dev., support, testing and development.

To be completely honest and transparent. The major issue is that Sprout Apps’ sales are low, luckily they’re not miserable, they’re just not good. Aside from my aspirations for immediate success this is something I did expect — so SA will continue to be my full-time job for a long time.

Please don’t jump to the conclusion that I need sales to judge development efficiency, that would be stupid on my part. This is one of those transitions that need to be made, moving away from full-time development services. Instead sales allow me to judge (possibly just feel better about) all of these business oriented tasks that I see achieving very little in the short term.

Activities like WordCamp LA, four days away from (product) development, but four days talking to a lot of wonderful people that gave some awesome advice that I can/have applied to the business. Activities, certain marketing tasks, and business development that have no immediate 2 effect in order to judge productivity.

Without consistent sales it’s hard to judge overall productivity. For now, build and work off milestones and their subset of goals to stay on track and derive accomplishment.

Changing my perspective on my business is turning out to be harder than I thought.


  1. I do flat rate development and I’ve always had a horrible time clocking my hours from projects that weren’t hourly; especially internal projects.
  2. I know a lot of business development have immediate and long term effects.