Hi! I'm a B2B product manager for Bay Area startups. That means I help people enjoy work by replacing paper, email, Excel, and/or someone else's crappy software with mobile & web tech that automates boring stuff, simplifies hard stuff, and makes impossible stuff possible. I make power tools for minds.

I'm looking for a job! Ideally with a Series-A-ish SaaS startup with a product-focused CEO who’s ready to delegate the head-of-product role in order to better focus on CEO-ing. I did exactly this role at Cantaloupe Systems where I led PM from $2M ARR to an $85M exit. I'd like to do that again!

work stuff

  • My Failed Startup Idea (Killed by COVID)

    It’s been my long-term dream to take the hassle out of scheduling time to see friends in person. Like Uber for your time, or Tinder for existing friends. After Cantaloupe’s exit, I took a year to build it, where "it" is a basic in-person social network where you register your friends, periodically register your free time, and the app tries to match friends who want to hang out at the same times. That's the easy part. The hard part is managing the complex social dynamics that come with in-person plans. For example, how to avoid hurting feelings of a friend who you don't want to see more than 1x per year? How to avoid looking like a loser who's always free? How to avoid only hanging out with losers who are always free? How to be able to cancel if you're tired, without encouraging flakes? And so on.

    I bootstrapped a product from nothing to something. Designed UX workflows. Defined tech stack. Improved my (very!) rusty engineering skills. Built MVP (minimum viable product) on a glidepath to alpha release for early adopters in March 2020. Can you spot the flaw in this plan?

    2020-21 was obviously incompatible with a new in-person social network, especially one focused on strengthening an extended network of “weak-tie” connections. Before COVID hit, I was already starting get close to my limit of motivational (and financial!) patience. Waiting yet another year or two to know if the idea was going to work was just too much. So I opted not to make my MVP into a business. Instead, I'm going back to what I’m best at: SaaS Product Management!

  • Cantaloupe Systems

    From 2011-2018 I led PM at Cantaloupe Systems, the leading SaaS provider for the $10B+ worldwide vending industry. After an $85M, 4x-to-investors acquisition by USA Technologies, I led PM for the combined company for a while before leaving to take time off to work on some nerdy side projects and to start something new. Here's what we did at Cantaloupe:
    • Enabled cashless (card swipes or mobile tap) payments at vending machines, growing our cashless product to #2 in the industry behind our eventual acquirer
    • Tracked near-real-time machine inventory and used that data to generate "prekits" to save warehouse and driver time
    • Managed one of the largest B2B IoT networks in the world, with 100,000s of cellular-modem-connected vending machines
    • Automatically built daily route schedules to optimize driver time and reduce vehicle and fuel costs
    • Algorithmically adjusted machine planograms to increase same-store sales and reduce "empties"
    • Managed warehouse operations and handled back-office accountability for cash and merchandise
    • Built mobile apps for very low-tech route drivers and warehouse workers
    • Built an ERP/CRM system for the vending industry, optimized around vending-specific workflows and analytics
  • Splunk

    From 2009-2011 I was at Splunk, a big-data software company in San Francisco. I was responsible for Splunkbase (Splunk's "app store"), Splunk Answers (Splunk's support community), and Splunk's overall strategy to build social web technology into Splunk's products and culture.

    I drove Splunk's product-to-Web strategy: ensuring our app store and other community sites were seamlessly integrated into product features, were relevant for business users (not just online-community enthusiasts), and were free of ease-of-use blockers.

    I also led the team that built Splunk's Application Management solution, managing a the cross-functional team that delivered a "V1.0" solution, focusing on analytics, operational reporting, and troubleshooting for Java Application Servers.
  • MSDN and TechNet

    I was PM of msdn.com and technet.com, which at the time were the Web's largest community sites for developers and IT-Pros. I was responsible for terabyte-scale Web Analytics, integrating MSDN with Visual Studio, and building out an "internal SaaS" model to lower editorial and globalization costs. I overhauled site navigation across 10M+ pages, and improved site search.
  • Microsoft Server Management Products

    I co-founded the team that built Microsoft's first Application Management product, leading a team that grew to 20 PMs responsible for Microsoft's server-management products including Operations Manager (now called SCOM).
  • Stockpoint

    I was employee #7 of Stockpoint, a web-based financial information provider. I led web development, managed site operations, and scaled out Stockpoint's SaaS offering. Stockpoint was acquired and is now Dow Jones Client Solutions, part of News Corp.
  • Ask Jeeves

    A part-time college job turned into me being employee #3 at the company that became ask.com. I split my time between pay-the-bills consulting projects and the early AskJeeves.com site. I remember the day our CEO brought the original "butler" art back from the graphic designer. At the time, I thought: "A butler? That's dumb. No one will use that!". ;-)

Product Management Q&A

nerdy hobby projects

other Justin Grants