Dan Balcauski, Product Manager in Austin, United States
Dan is available for hire
Hire Dan

Dan Balcauski

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Location
Austin, United States
Toptal Member Since
November 7, 2019

Dan helps high-volume B2B SaaS CEOs define pricing and packaging for new products. He has managed multiple products throughout the product lifecycle from new concept incubation, product launch, product maintenance, platform transitions, and end of life. Dan has worked in both consumer and B2B companies across consumer internet, mobile, IT software, and test and measurement hardware and software in addition to company sizes ranging from startups to publicly traded multi-national enterprises.

Project Highlights

Creation of Storage Resource Monitor
Led creation of SolarWinds' new enterprise storage monitoring product, which won Storage Management Product of the Year.
Logistics Optimization for Lawn Care
Worked with data scientist and engineering team to optimize Lawn Care pros routes, freeing up 40% time to complete routes.
Log Monitoring Market Analysis
Assisted the executive team in understanding the complex domain of log analysis, ultimately leading to an acquisition.

Expertise

Work Experience

Principal Consultant

2019 - PRESENT
Product Tranquility
  • Helped technology businesses accelerate their product growth and increase customer loyalty.
  • Provided product management and strategy consulting services to growth-stage technology companies that operate primarily in the B2B SaaS or marketplace areas.
  • Offered services that include: pricing strategy; market and account segmentation; current, prospective, and churned user interviews; competitive analysis and positioning; product strategy; and customer churn and retention improvement.

Program Leader

2019 - PRESENT
Kellogg School of Management - Northwestern University
  • Served as a program leader for Kellogg's Executive Education Product Strategy and Professional Certificate in Digital Marketing courses.
  • Helped train the next generation of product leaders in the following areas of product strategy: analyzing product opportunities; discovery and requirements definition; designing business models; agile product development; taking products to market.
  • Helped train the next generation of digital marketing leaders in the following areas of digital marketing: marketing fundamentals, customer research and segmentation, customer personas and positioning, customer journeys, and metrics and testing.

Independent Travel Consultant

2018 - 2019
Viajero Ltd
  • Independently envisioned, planned and executed a 21 country round-the-world expedition as part of a long-term personal dream goal. I volunteered for two positions each one month in length.
  • Performed daily service in the dishing temple, creating a hygienic and festive experience at Ängsbacka (Molkom, Sweden), an intentional community offering festivals and workshops focused on bringing about broad-scale change in human possibility.
  • Assisted the founding team with digital marketing, including social media, SEO, conversion tracking improvements, and website A/B testing for Spanish Adventure (San Carlos, Colombia), a small Spanish language school in rural Colombia focused on helping individuals attain the best possible Spanish language immersion experience in the world.

Head of Product

2016 - 2017
Lawnstarter
  • Assisted the company in growing its customer base 10x through various product initiatives, including revamped onboarding, automated communications, and logistical improvements.
  • Increased additional service acceptance rates by 150% through request and fulfillment automation.
  • Implemented technology and operational process change leading to 300% faster issue resolution between engineering and customer support.
  • Researched, maintained, and published product metrics using Tableau and SQL.
  • Created and executed the company strategy for product A/B testing.
  • Sourced, interviewed, and hired the company's first data scientist.
  • Administered Jira and Confluence Cloud platforms for the engineering team.

Product Strategy Principal

2015 - 2016
SolarWinds
  • Led strategy and new product development for SolarWinds'​ Cloud (SaaS) business, reporting directly to SolarWinds'​ CTO.
  • Oversaw new product definition, market and customer needs analysis, competitive analysis, white-space opportunity identification, and product roadmap definition.
  • Created pricing, packaging, and go-to-market strategy for new key product initiatives.
  • Defined partnership and business development initiatives.
  • Recommended a life cycle strategy for some of SolarWinds' legacy products.

Group Product Manager

2014 - 2015
SolarWinds
  • Grew revenue 100% over two years for our enterprise-class virtualization management product. Helped formulate and then implement an integration strategy to dramatically improve cross-sell and attach rates with the core product portfolio.
  • Increased the unit volume by 66% in the first quarter after releasing SolarWinds’ enterprise storage monitoring product by analyzing customer segments, company competency, sales strategy, building out the strategy and v1 of the replacement product.
  • Owned multiple “CEO #1 priority” projects, including a company-wide initiative to build customer awareness of other products by leveraging product as a marketing channel for cross-selling lead generation.
  • Led and mentored a team of product managers, helping them remove roadblocks and inform strategic decisions.
  • Collaborated closely with design, architecture, and engineering to deliver new products and delightful user experiences on time.

Senior Product Manager

2013 - 2014
SolarWinds
  • Increased profitability of products by 40% though investing in supportability features offering a high return on investment.
  • Led the product management team feedback process from sales engineering.
  • Improved the product management team's hiring process.
  • Led customer training webinars for several products at the company's virtual conference, ThwackCamp.
  • Drove agile release processes into the development cycle to accelerate product release cycles by 50%.

Product Manager

2012 - 2013
SolarWinds
  • Improved customer onboarding process, accelerating customer time to value 100% in a single release.
  • Drove company's mobile strategy and accelerated mobile app release cycles for iOS and Android platforms.
  • Established partnerships with third-party hardware vendors' engineering teams, decreasing customer issue resolution times by 50%.
  • Interviewed hundreds of IT management pros to learn about the contextual use of our product.
  • Partnered with product marketing to create a brand new pricing and packaging strategy.

Product Marketing Intern

2011 - 2011
Location Labs
  • Created a freemium strategy for the company’s location-based services applications and presented recommendations to the CEO and the senior executive team.
  • Constructed competitive analysis of the “Distracted Driving” mobile application landscape which secured government agency support of our DriveSmart Plus application.
  • Formed relationships with key partners to support the company’s new brand launch.
  • Acquired expert knowledge of the pros and cons of Freemium business models.
  • Built financial model sensitivity analysis for the freemium business model.

Software Engineering Group Manager

2008 - 2010
National Instruments
  • Developed and prioritized an 18-month product roadmap with 70 driver software features for the new $150 million revenue per year hardware product line, then presented a plan to three vice presidents.
  • Implemented process improvements around software defect and feature management that reduced the outstanding defect backlog of the team by 75%, saving more than $150,000.
  • Performed team leader responsibilities for a nine-person team which included interviewing, conducting staff performance evaluations, salary planning, mentoring, and budgeting.
  • Improved testing efficiency of multiple product teams by 300% by isolating, prioritizing, and championing improvements of automated test infrastructure.
  • Directed a 10% increase in developer efficiency by adopting a continuous build system that isolated new problems in the code and created daily transparency on the health of the software.
  • Instituted continuous innovation practices within my team.

Product Owner

2007 - 2008
National Instruments
  • Led a cross-functional management team in evaluating commercially available software test products and designing a replacement system that would result in a net benefit of $1 million annually.
  • Presented to 50 test engineers at NIWeek, the company's global customer conference, on three key hardware architectures leading to increased customer adoption of new hardware platforms.
  • Streamlined decision making of software project with 14 engineers working on a $200 million per year product line by assuming the role of project lead, resulting in promotion to group manager position within 4.5 years, fastest among peers.

Software Engineer

2003 - 2006
National Instruments
  • Developed four independent features from design through release for kernel-level driver software that resulted in closing customer accounts worth over $7,000,000 in total sales.
  • Led Marketing Leadership Training Program project team on a four month project to design a defensive market strategy resulting in additional committed R&D expenses of over $100,000.
  • Implemented and improved upon a complex calibration algorithm for analog input measurements.
  • Coordinated cross-group efforts to successfully implement software events support.
  • Managed and implemented improvements to groups’ automated test suite.

Creation of Storage Resource Monitor

https://bit.ly/3s6Ot3M

Led creation of SolarWinds' new enterprise storage monitoring product, which won Storage Management Product of the Year.

I analyzed the existing platform, customer segments, company competency, and sales strategy and built out strategy and v1 of replacement product. This project entailed a major re-platforming, pricing, and repackaging change that required significant cross-functional collaboration with finance, legal, sales, marketing, architecture, and engineering teams.

Logistics Optimization for Lawn Care

Worked with data scientist and engineering team to optimize Lawn Care pros routes, freeing up 40% time to complete routes.

In a multi-phase project that included increasing adoption of a mobile app solution by Lawn Care pros, route data collection via location-based services, and data models to optimize routing, the team was able to create optimized routes for Lawn Care pros that resulted in over 50% earnings increases.

Log Monitoring Market Analysis

Assisted the executive team in understanding the complex domain of log analysis, ultimately leading to an acquisition.

I was tasked by the CEO and CTO with understanding the complex domain of log management and analytics. I performed extensive customer needs analysis, segmentation and technology evaluation. Put together possible build strategy for SaaS-based products and the pros and cons of such an approach. Ultimately, this analysis led to the acquisition of one of the major players in the space.
2010 - 2012

Master's Degree in Business Administration

Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management - Evanston, IL

1999 - 2003

Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering

Iowa State University of Science and Technology - Ames, IA

MAY 2021 - MAY 2023

Insights Expert Certification

Amplitude

APRIL 2021 - PRESENT

Partner Certification

Mixpanel

MARCH 2021 - MARCH 2022

Analytics Expert

Segment

Tools

Jira, Confluence, Tableau, Google Analytics, Trello, Slack, Looker

Industry Expertise

Marketplaces, High-tech Startups, Consumer Products

Paradigms

Requirements Analysis, User Testing, Agile Product Management, Agile Workflow, Agile, Marketplace Platforms, Agile Software Development, Agile Project Management, Key Performance Metrics, B2B2C, Design Thinking, Kanban, Business to Business to Consumer (B2B2C)

Platforms

Mixpanel

Other

Customer Research, Technical Product Management, Business Strategy, Communication, Market Segmentation, Data Analysis, Data Analytics, User Experience (UX), B2B, User Interviews, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), SaaS, SaaS Product Management, User Flows, User Stories, Interviewing, Use Case Analysis, UX Research, Feature Analysis, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Product Analytics, Product Launch, Product Vision, Stakeholder Management, Dashboards, Data Reporting, Data, Growth, Software as a Service (SaaS), Product Management, Business Analysis, Requirements & Specifications, Feature Prioritization, Product Strategy, Product Roadmaps, User Research, Business Models, Product Design, Product Marketing, Innovation, Product Ownership, Product Discovery, Software, Enterprise Software, Strategy, Competitor Analysis & Profiling, Cross-functional Team Leadership, IT, Storage, Log Management, User Journeys, Two-sided Marketplaces, Monetization, Travel, Project Management, Marketing, Project Planning, Discovery, Planning, Pricing, Web Applications, Jobs to be Done (JTBD), Web Platforms, Enterprise SaaS, Positioning, Product Positioning, Mobile Platforms, Digital Product Management, Product Research, User Empathy, Best Practices, Buyer Personas, Feature Roadmaps, Price Analysis, Pricing Strategy, Subscription Pricing, Pricing Models, User Retention, Roadmaps, Product Strategy Consultant, Market Research, Customer Segmentation, Market Research & Analysis, Market Research Analyst, Market Strategy and Research Product Manager, Marketing Research & Analysis, Business to Business (B2B), Business Process Analysis, Financial Analysis, Portfolio Management, Program Management, Thought Leadership, Technical Analysis, Product Owner, Mentorship & Coaching, Presentations, Teaching, Management Consulting, A/B Testing, User Journey Maps, Data Visualization, Data Collection, Segment, Software Development, Windows, iOS, Android, Aha!, Consumer Services, Startups, Mobile Apps, Startup Consulting, Heap, Product Growth, Product Coach, Funnel Analysis, Go-to-market Strategy, Agile Leadership, Amplitude, SQL, C++, Management, Engineering Management, Go-to-market Plans, Option Pricing

Collaboration That Works

How to Work with Toptal

Toptal matches you directly with global industry experts from our network in hours—not weeks or months.

1

Share your needs

Discuss your requirements and refine your scope in a call with a Toptal domain expert.
2

Choose your talent

Get a short list of expertly matched talent within 24 hours to review, interview, and choose from.
3

Start your risk-free talent trial

Work with your chosen talent on a trial basis for up to two weeks. Pay only if you decide to hire them.

Top talent is in high demand.

Start hiring