Thomas Schranz is the CEO and product manager of Blossom, startup mentor with a thorough knowledge of lean startup methodology, product marketing, UX, web applications development and scaling. Before Thomas started Blossom, he worked as a software engineer at Play.fm and a technical director at Yackety Yak, where he built high traffic facebook apps for Red Bull, Jim Beam, DiTech and other well known brands.
Magazine MN: What sparked your interest towards entrepreneurship?
Thomas: A certain disregard for the status quo.
I think that once you understand that you can actually put a dent in the universe and challenge the status quo, you will start to see countless opportunities for improvement everywhere.
It's all unicorns and rainbows.
I found this video of Steve Jobs very inspiring:
Magazine MN: What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Thomas: Jack Dorsey has a great and very insightful view on what your actual job is when you run a company. He says that your job is to edit everything into a cohesive story.
That's a very clear thought. Just think about it for a moment and let it sink in. Your job is to edit everything into a cohesive story.
When you run a company you are acting as an editor. You can edit everything. You are editing your products, your marketing, your positioning, your team, your investors, your partners, your mentors as well as your customers.
Magazine MN: Tell us more about Blossom.
Thomas: Blossom is a very lightweight Agile Project Management Tool used by leading software companies such as Twitter, Doodle and many others.
Magazine MN: How did you come up with an idea of creating Blossom?
Thomas: A few years ago we were building high traffic facebook applications for big brands like Red Bull. Quite often we had to release new versions hundreds of times within a few days.
But at that time the project management tools available on the market were not built for that kind of fast-paced agile software development.
Working with these tools was very frustrating and turned out to be our biggest pain back then.
That's when we decided to do something about it and build a tool that we'd enjoy using ourselves. It's incredible how we have fared since then. And we didn't expect that so many other people were also looking for a simple straight forward alternative.
Magazine MN: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while scaling Blossom and acquiring users? How did you go about dealing with those challenges?
You can be as agile and lean as you want, but if your code base gets buggy and unreliable you are in trouble.
As Steve Jobs explains it in this video, it’s all about managing complexity:
This made us take a step back and look into what the state of the art of web application development had to offer and we found Dart. It is a programming language and platform built by the engineers behind Google Chrome's V8 and Java's virtual machine.
After playing around with Dart for a bit, we've decided to adopt it. And we haven't looked back since then.
I think everyone who is working on web and mobile applications right now should give Dart a try. It is an incredible piece of technology.
Magazine MN: What makes Blossom different from other agile project management tools available in the market?
Thomas: At Blossom we believe that the job of the project management tool is to help you to go out of your way.
Ideally, you don't even spend much time with it at all. You use it on demand.
That's why we've built first class integrations with popular services like GitHub, Slack, HipChat and FlowDock. These integrations allow us to let you know what you need to know at the right point in time.
Basically, Blossom works more like a traffic light system than a project management tool.
Blossom also automatically generates daily tactical briefings for you and delivers them directly to your inbox. These briefings are a great help for stand-up meetings and getting everyone up to date.
Magazine MN: How do you go about applying lean startup principles to running Blossom?
Thomas: Continuous improvement is at the heart of how we operate.
We set our own standards of performance and regularly look into how we can improve upon them.
There is always something that we can excel at or lead with by example, whether it is performance and reliability of our software and infrastructure, or customer support and training.
Magazine MN: As a startup CEO, what is your favourite productivity hack?
Thomas: Blocking time for important things. It is so easy to confuse urgent things with important things. If you don't make time for the important, you will eventually end up fire fighting throughout the day.
Magazine MN: What are the best books on entrepreneurship and startups you’ve read so far?
Magazine MN: What’s your best advice for the first-time startup founder?
Thomas: Pick a space you really care about.
Blossom website: https://t.co/WX0iiXm8NQ
Get in touch with Thomas on:
Thomas Schranz was interviewed by Natalie Myhalnytska