Interview

Creating Products 101

Useful tips for future digital makers

April 23, 2021
Interview
April 23, 2021

Creating Products 101

Useful tips for future digital makers

Recently we asked inspiring creators about their experience in building digital products, and let me say that some of their answers were unexpectedly intriguing and eye-opening. We also gave the mic to FlowMapp’s co-founder, who shared his experience building a product and insights he learned along the way.

Stage #1: Conceptualize Your Idea First

Bryan Lazatin, Founder, Design Director at VZKO Digital

Bryan is a digital creative located in the beautiful city of Calgary. A graduate from Digital Design program at Vancouver Film School in 2014, Bryan is a multi-faceted designer who’s worked in various design agencies from animation to film and gaming industries. He’s been working in both full-time and freelance roles for companies like Wildbrain, Scarab Digital, and Electronic Arts, for the past 8 years.

I would normally start by creating a mind map for ‘testing’, and all other pieces that are considered ‘good’ would just naturally come out from that exercise. It should be edited as many times as possible within the timeframe you have. It is the creative's prerogative to judge when a project is ready for production — or whatever — to move the project forward.

Mirela Prifti, Сo-founder at MATECHS

Mirela is a co-founder of Matechs, a London-based IT consulting company, where she works as a designer and project manager on multiple projects for clients as well as in-house projects. Her primary focus is web apps and business websites. When she's not working, you're likely to find her hanging out at Primrose Hill, her favourite spot in London.

I believe there's no harm in sharing, even if idea is just in the initial stages. As the saying goes: Ideas are cheap, execution is everything. If you believe you're onto something that could positively impact a business process or an aspect of people's lives, do thorough research of your industry of interest and the existing market players. Most importantly, reach out to potential users to better understand their needs. These are primary steps to ensure that you're creating a solution to a real and existing problem.

Luis Ouriach, Design Advocate at Figma

Luis is a designer, writer, and meme generator. He has been creating side projects since his university days, and for the past few years has focused on his newsletter, podcast, and Medium publication. Outside of this, you'll find him walking aimlessly around cities (when travel permits) and trying his best to cook great dishes without recipe books.


My ideas typically arrive because of subconscious research rather than the other way around. I consume a ton of content every day, whether it’s newsletters, articles, or podcasts, and useful thoughts naturally brew in my head to the point where it hits me and then I act on them as fast as I can. Take my project 8px, for example. It was the result of months of other work: writing articles, helping organize events. I naturally landed at the reasonable question: “Hey, why don’t I just host my own articles?” From there, it spiraled into the interview series it is now.

Stage #2: Is Prototyping Necessary? Not really

Bryan Lazatin
Founder, Design Director at VZKO Digital

For the most part yes, but from experience, FIRST you have to envision the outcome you're looking to achieve without worrying about any possible constraints, then reverse engineer the processes you would have to go through in order to get to that vision you initially have. Every creative is different and has different ways to come up with a multitude of solutions.

Every creative is different and has different ways to come up with a multitude of solutions

Mirela Prifti
Сo-founder at MATECHS

Better show than tell. I've heard of startups that have received funding by simply presenting a static prototype. Developing a project is a continuous learning process, and the sooner you start thinking in practical terms, the more chances you have for improvement. Just make sure you pick the right tool for the job, so you don't end up losing focus and wasting time trying to learn all the no-code tools out there :)


Luis Ouriach
Design Advocate at Figma

I’d ask ‘should a creator do anything by themselves?’ It really comes down to your own skill set, and how much you value your own time.

If it’s going to take you six hours to build this prototype because you lack the skills, while you could hire someone who could do it in one, shouldn’t you spend those five hours on more impactful projects that could probably have a more significant impact on your revenue?

Stage #3: Collaboration Is Not About a Paycheck

Bryan Lazatin
Founder, Design Director at VZKO Digital

Of course, many creators function through deep emotional passion for whatever it is they love doing. People will do things without pay if it invigorates their mind and soul through the work they produce.

Mirela Prifti
Сo-founder at MATECHS

Focus your efforts and energy on things that make you feel good and satisfied on any level. Keep the enthusiasm high! Keep the compensation for your collaborative work high, too.

Luis Ouriach
Design Advocate at Figma

I wish this was the case.

The amount of times I’ve tried to work on free projects with people only for them to fail fast is amazing. In my experience, this has been the case particularly for engineers. With a skill set in such demand, why would you work for free? I’d love to have a network of creators who want to work on something with a longer term goal, I just haven’t found them yet.

Stage #4: About Investors

Bryan Lazatin
Founder, Design Director at VZKO Digital

Networking has been the key to my success. Word of mouth through friends, co-workers, and past clients have also helped me to be seen in the industry I'm in.

Mirela Prifti
Сo-founder at MATECHS

Showing practical business use cases makes the difference in moving the conversation forward with investors. Depending on the project goals and the development stage, startups can apply for an incubator or accelerator program or pitch to VCs or private investors.


Luis Ouriach
Design Advocate at Figma

This naturally lands at the importance of community in building anything. If you’re networking in person or on social media, you will already have a receptive audience when you start building something. It’s this audience that can be helpful in terms of further connections and investment opportunities.

Stage #5: Attracting Users

Bryan Lazatin
Founder, Design Director at VZKO Digital

As a creator, I let my own work speak for me. If my work is designed or created beautifully, then it should need no further explanation. It should be able to tell its own story without me having to tell it myself.

Motion design by VZKO Digital


Mirela Prifti
Сo-founder at MATECHS

Community building is essential in getting to know your users better and exploring ways to improve their experience with your product or solution. For example, build-in-public is a strategy followed by many startup projects recently. It’s about creating awareness and a community around your project before launching it. I suggest searching the #BuildInPublic hashtag on Twitter to learn more about it.

Luis Ouriach
Design Advocate at Figma

Before you’ve even written the first line of code, think about how you can build your own network of potential customers and fans. Having a well-known story or journey is helpful as you start to transform your vision into something tangible. Rather than going and spending six months on building a tool based on your own hunches, speak with your target market and test or validate your concepts with them as you build.

Rather than going and spending six months on building a tool based on your own hunches, speak with your target market and test or validate your concepts with them as you build.

Extra: Pro Tip on Being a Modern Creator

Bryan Lazatin
Founder, Design Director at VZKO Digital

I consider myself a ‘lean’ creative as I never follow any rules or guidelines. It is a risk that I always welcome as it keeps me motivated and organically open to coming up with solutions without boundaries.


Mirela Prifti
Сo-founder at MATECHS

Celebrate your accomplishments and move on. Use that good energy for the next steps necessary for future achievements and make sure everything you do is aligned with your final goal.


Luis Ouriach
Design Advocate at Figma

Create a process that works for you, rather than blindly following guidelines set by others in different situations and industries.

Entrepreneur’s opinion

Paul Mit, Co-founder & Chief Growth at FlowMapp

I'm passionate about creating digital products for the UX community. I spend all my energy researching design processes and ways to improve them through *FlowMapp* services.I believe that my background mix (IT, Marketing, Economics) helps me create something remarkable and really useful.

Soft Skills Are Essential for Creators

I can say with confidence that soft skills are precisely what I've developed while building FlowMapp. The ability to endure. The ability to achieve the intended goals, despite the constant failures and numerous obstacles. The ability to stay hopeful in the most hopeless situations. These are essential things that will help you lead your team forward.

Top-3 Common Mistakes to Avoid

The main problem of every founder is themselves. Mistakes that I advise that you fight continually:

  • Self-confidence
  • Relying on personal beliefs, the desire to go faster instead of researching deeper
  • Ignoring the opinions of team members.

Be consistent and patient. Listen to your surroundings. It will allow you to avoid the mental traps of your mind.

Would you like to share your own experience of building an innovative product? Send your stories and tips to serafima@flowmapp.com with the subject 'Building products on your own’ or comment on the post with this interview on Facebook or LinkedIn!

Author: Marsel Tukhvatshin

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