Hi! I’m a Product Design consultant that helps businesses & organizations build better products, faster. Before this, I worked at Google for four years after they acquired my company. At Google I worked mostly on the Gmail team.
"Whenever a CEO needs outside help with a sprint, I tell them to talk to Xander. I trust his work. His skillset is unique—not only is a fantastic designer and facilitator, but he also has experience as a startup founder, so he knows how to get at what really matters for a business."
Jake Knapp, Author of Sprint and Google Ventures Design Partner.
How We Can Solve Hard Problems in 5 Days TogetherThe Google Ventures Design Sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. It’s a “greatest hits” of business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking, and more — packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.
Working together in a Design Sprint, we shortcut the usual endless-debate cycle and compress months of time into a single week. Instead of waiting to launch a minimal product to understand if an idea is any good, teams get great data from a prototype. The sprint gives you a superpower:
The ability to build and test nearly any idea in just 40 hours.
I’ve worked side-by-side with teams to answer questions like…
😳 “Can we sell this new product for 15x the price of our current product?”😊 “How can we get more users to give us their credit card in the first 7 days?”😨 “Our 500,000 existing users love us, but how the heck do we explain our product to total newbies?”
A few of my clientsAlmost all of my clients have been Google Ventures portfolio companies, but now I'm expanding my reach.
• CustomMade • Slack • Orbital Insights • Parlio (acquired by Quora) • FitStar (acquired by FitBit)
Testimonials“We hired Xander to facilitate our Design Sprint to design a new strategic offering of satellite-derived intelligence to multi-billion dollar asset managers. By the end of the sprint we had a full presentation deck and proposal outlining our offering. We were then able to take this to New York and Chicago and get concrete immediate feedback (most of which was very positive).” James Crawford, CEO of Orbital Insights
How it worksI follow the Design Sprint process outlined in the book Sprint by Jake Knapp with John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz. Here's how the magic happens...
MAP · MondayMonday’s structured discussions create a path for the sprint week. In the morning, we’ll start at the end and agree to a long-term goal. Next, we’ll make a map of the challenge. In the afternoon, we’ll ask the experts to share they know. Finally, we’ll pick a target: an ambitious but manageable piece of the problem that you can solve in one week.
SKETCH · TuesdayWe’ll come up with solutions. The day starts with inspiration: a review of existing ideas to remix and improve. Then, in the afternoon, each of us will sketch individually, following a four-step process that emphasizes critical thinking over artistry. By the end of the day, we'll have several competing solutions to choose from.
DECIDE · WednesdayIn the morning, we’ll critique each solution, and decide which ones have the best chance of achieving our long-term goal and answering the sprint questions. In the afternoon, we’ll take those the winning solutions and turn them into a storyboard: a step-by-step plan for our prototype.
PROTOTYPE · ThursdayWe'll adopt a “fake it” philosophy to turn the storyboard into a realistic prototype. I will teach you the mindset, strategy and equip you with the tools to make it possible to build that prototype in just seven hours.
TEST · FridaySprints begin with a big challenge, an excellent team, and not much else. By Friday we’ve created promising solutions, chosen the best, and built a realistic prototype. That alone would make for an impressively productive week.
But Friday, we’ll take it one step further as we interview customers and learn by watching them react to your prototype. This test makes the entire sprint worthwhile. We'll run 5 user studies, showing our prototype to real customers in 1:1 interviews. I’ll show you how to make sense of what we observe, take notes as a team and find the big patterns. At the end of the day, we’ll write a Game Plan for what to do next.
About meIn 2012, Jake invited me to be part of his first-ever Google Ventures Design Sprint. We worked for five days together in San Francisco with a company called CustomMade. You can see the results of our sprint on YouTube (look for me at 2:18 with my shaggy hair).
I was blown away by the process. I did more in that week than I did the entire previous month. The process helped us focus and work together to solve lots of challenges that normally would take weeks or months over email and meetings. It put templates and checklists in place as a process that just makes sense. It was the beginning of a lasting mentorship and friendship.
Over the next three years at Google, I worked on different teams, applying what I learned from Jake and JZ. The highlight was launching Inbox by Gmail. The Verge captured it best: “Using Google Inbox: this feels like the future of email.” I worked on design and marketing, working on three of the four main features. I designed features for Android, iOS and web. I also helped write & produce Meet your New Inbox (2.7M views).
Today I run Design Sprints (full-time) for innovative companies and organizations, and am available for hire.
I only do two Sprints a month, and my time books fast. Click the blue button at the top of the page to schedule a quick 10 minute call to see if we're a good fit 👍