Product Interview - Logan Burchett @ Forecastr
This is an archived post from 2020 which was posted on my previous blog, Product Distilled. It was a project in which Chris Davis and I interviewed local product leaders in the Louisville, KY area. Check out all the posts and let me know if you'd like to see more.
Logan Burchett is the COO and Co-Founder of Forecastr, a technology startup in Louisville, KY. Forecastr is Turbo-Tax for Financial Modeling. It is an online software that helps founders forecast revenue, predict runway, understand their numbers and get funded.
Tell us a little about yourself outside of work!
Honestly, my life outside of work is fairly laid back most of the time - which I like. I don’t have kids, but my beautiful fiance, Moriah Glady, and I have two cats, Emmi and Eppie. We like to spend our time reading, learning new things (right now we are learning french) and traveling when we can.
I also enjoy exercise and nutrition. I work out every day at 6 a.m. at Wel at Humana, which is a gym that I highly recommend. I used to do Crossfit, but a series of small injuries caused me to leave that life behind. These days I stick to standard weight training.
I love traveling, especially to Europe. It’s been a few years since I’ve gotten the chance to go, but I’ve been to most of the countries in Western Europe. One of my goals in life is to spend more time abroad and see as much of the world as I can.
I’m very passionate about entrepreneurship. I’ve always looked up to entrepreneurs and have been fascinated by the prospect of creating something from nothing. It was my interest in startups that led me to working as an outsourced startup CFO for a number of years, which eventually led me down the path of starting my own company.
How would you describe your role within your company's product organization?
We don’t really have a dedicated product person, so I became the“head of product” for the time being(even though the whole team is pitching in). We are a scrappy team of four founders trying to find product market fit, so we rely heavily on processes recommended by close mentors. The process that we are currently implementing is the“Superhuman product market fit” framework. I highly recommend it.
What are you working on right now that’s exciting to you?
Creating a framework for modeling that is highly flexible with a friendly UX. This is basically the core of our business, so I would say that building the early version of Forecastr is the most exciting thing that we are doing.
What is the most important part of your day?
“Story-pointing” my tasks for the day. As a startup founder, your day can go in infinitely different directions. It’s important to set large goals(for us they are quarterly) and work backwards to create an incremental plan for how to hit those goals. So long as you are hitting your daily goals consistently, you will keep moving the company forward.
What drains you at work?
Emails. My Co-Founder, Steven Plappert, has an awesome system where he only checks and responds to emails at certain times during the day. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t seem to work for me….I get too distracted. It’s something that really detracts me from tasks that I need to work on.
Work & Product
Do you have a daily routine to stay organized or perform better at your job?
Kinda/sorta - I would call it more of a weekly routine. We have weekly all hands meetings to sync as a team on things that need to be done. I usually create a giant list of tasks in Asana, then use my mornings to batch those tasks into what I’m going to complete that day(this interview was on my task list for today). Outside of that, we have a daily team standup that we have in our company Slack.
How do you go about gathering customer feedback?
We are still early in the process, so for now we are only focusing on testing revenue forecasting. We will collect feedback in small batches of 5-10 companies(currently sticking to software as a service(SaaS)) every time we release a new feature. We will test with users and document feature requests, then prioritize based on difficulty, frequency, and relative necessity of request. We will run through this process until we are able to forecast revenue for the majority of SaaS companies. After that, we will move to other aspects of the model(expenses, balance sheet, etc).
How do you make user feedback actionable?
For us the feedback is somewhat binary. We either have the features needed to forecast revenue for a company or we don’t. We document the features that our testers would need to forecast their revenue and prioritize as described above. We know our job is done when all of our SaaS testers can build a revenue forecast for their companies.
What’s a lesson that you learned the hard way, but would never take back?
Start user testing earlier than you think. We spent way too much time building out ancillary features of our alpha platform before testing the core feature. It ended up costing a lot of money and burning a lot of dev time. If we had tested the core piece early on, we likely would have iterated and gotten it right more quickly.
What is one piece of advice that had a big impact on your life?
It was a pretty recent insight that I heard from Ryan Kuder, MD of Techstars Anywhere, but it really resonated with me. I won’t get the quote perfect, but it went something like“There are two steps to starting a successful business: Step 1 is build a great business;Step 2 is tell people about it”. It might seem simple and obvious, but it really hammers in the fact that if you build something great that people love using, you will find your audience. If you don’t start with a great business(or product), people will churn out, and you will struggle in the long run.
If you could wave a magic wand and fix something about one of your favorite products, what would it be?
Not one of my favorite products, but it’s always bothered me that Amazon hasn’t created a tablet that has all of the functionality of a normal tablet(internet, apps, email, etc), but still uses the Kindle Paperwhite screen for reading books. I love to read, and I own an Amazon Fire tablet, but the bright screen is way too harsh on my eyes, so I barely use it. If this already exists, someone let me know!
What is one product or company being built in in your region that you think more people should know about (other than your own)?
There are a bunch of really cool companies being built. If I had to call out one specifically, I would have to say Unitonomy. Charley Miller is a rockstar founder, and they are tackling some serious issues.
What is a book, podcast, or website that you think more people should know about?
The StartUp Podcast by Gimlet Media. It’s super cool and tells the stories of all kinds of early companies. Think“founder stories” within a podcast. There is a lot of gnarly stuff in there.
What would you do with your time if money was no issue?
I would buy a boat the size of a small cruise ship and travel the world. It’s always been a dream of mine.
Is there something that you want to plug?
Of course I have to plug Forecastr! We are pre-product but always looking for folks who are interested in testing features as they roll out. Specifically SaaS founders right now, but all are welcome!
Check us out at: www.financialmodel.io
How can our readers keep up with you?
First of all, I’m always down to get coffee and meet new people. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also keep up with Forecastr on social via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn!