Gabrielle Hayes: Starters Bootcamp Experience

March 1, 2023

Product development is a complex and ever-evolving industry. As technology continues to advance, the need for skilled product managers becomes increasingly crucial. Gabrielle, a seasoned product developer, recognized this demand and decided to take her expertise to the next level! She enrolled in cohort 1 of Starters Bootcamp to learn the skills necessary to scale up her product development teachings. Inspired by her experience, she launched Product X Agile, an online learning platform designed for product managers and agilists to improve their skills and accelerate product development.

We chatted with Gabrielle about her journey and how her Starters Bootcamp experience led to the successful launch of her passion project!

You recently launched a product after completing the Starters Bootcamp! Tell us about it!
Product X Agile
is an online learning course, but it's productizing the workshops that I typically would teach in person. It’s completely self-paced, completely on-demand mobile and web-friendly, so you can do it anywhere! We want people to be able to do it between your lunch break or you know, “I only have 15 minutes between meetings so I can't really do work but maybe I could fit in one section of the course.”

Where were you in your product development process/business when you applied for and began Starters Bootcamp?
My full-time job is in product coaching and training. So, I still do a lot of that one-on-one with clients or in-person workshops. This idea came together when my business partner and I came together after a training session last year and decided we can only scale this by the amount of hours we control in a classroom… or we can move it to a product and scale it beyond us. It was in about June that we had the idea and by October I was in Starters Bootcamp, so we were very, very early stages when we got into the program!

How did Starters Bootcamp stack up to your expectations?
I knew it was the first time that 36 had put on the program, so it was kind of like being the guinea pigs! But, my experience was amazing. Abbey really knew her stuff and you wouldn't have ever known that it was the first time! Starters really laid out the curriculum in a good way.

I would say overall my experience was great! I think almost all of us that were in this cohort are still working full-time somewhere else, so it was challenging to rearrange my schedule to fit that in. But also in the same vein, the first week was figuring out how the heck are you going to make time for this because you've paid for it, you're making an investment now, and making sure you honor it.

What I needed out of the Bootcamp was the business side of things, not necessarily the curriculum for my product. I learned what product market fit looked like, drilled down on our problem statement that we're trying to solve and was like “Sure, I can stand here and tell you ‘I want to change the world and I want to teach everyone,’” but that's not realistic. Being able to narrow that down helped us guide our decisions like “How do we get to launch in January?”

One of my favorite weeks of Starters was the financial modeling week and Abbey was just so, so helpful in doing that! I'm one of those people that can do a lot, but I kind of need to know step by step- if I know the steps, I can execute it!

In a way, the financial piece is what was very scary for me. I don't have a financial background and so being able to have someone walk me through step by step was super helpful. I was told what inputs I need, and if you bring those into class, you'll leave with the financial model. We did that and when we left with the financial model, I was set to kick off and have five beta customers in January. Every decision we made from November until launching was based on that- and we did it!

Do you still have any guidance or support after graduating the program?
Yeah, the community has been great! Something that actually came out of it is that one of the class participants of the cohort started a marketing firm and I've partnered with him to be his beta customer. Not only did I launch my business, but I'm also helping him launch his and he's great at what he does.

A couple of the other participants I've seen just being in the ecosystem, and one pitched in a Pitch Night and I was able to watch and give her feedback. It's just been nice to know people that are in the same kind of mind frame as you are. I'm juggling other things, but I really want this to become my passion project!
Learn more about Product X Agile here.

If you’re interested in building a breakthrough business like Gabrielle in just 7 weeks,
Starters Bootcamp Applications are now open through March 12th with Cohort 2 starting on April 10th!