Dan Balcauski, Product Manager in Austin, TX, United States
Dan Balcauski

Product Manager in Austin, TX, United States

Member since July 9, 2019
Over the last 15 years, Dan has managed multiple products throughout the product life-cycle 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.
Dan is now available for hire

Project Highlights

Expertise

Education

Employment

  • Principal Product 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 including customer churn/retention improvement, product strategy and roadmap development, competitive analysis and positioning, product management execution, market segmentation and user research, and pricing analysis.
  • Program Leader

    2019 - PRESENT
    Kellogg School of Management - Northwestern University
    • Served as a program leader for Kellogg's Executive Education Professional Certificate in Digital Marketing course.
    • Helped train the next generation of digital marketing leaders in the following cutting edge areas of digital marketing: marketing fundamentals, customer research and segmentation, customer personas and positioning, customer journeys, content marketing, paid search and SEO, paid and organic social media, brand development and storytelling, email marketing, conversion rate optimization, 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 customer base 10x through various product initiatives including revamped onboarding, automated communications, and logistical improvements.
    • Increased additional services acceptance rates 150% through request and fulfillment automation.
    • Implemented technology and operational process changes leading 300% faster issue resolution between engineering and customer support.
    • Researched, maintained and published product metrics using Tableau and SQL.
    • Created and executed 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 road-map definition.
    • Created pricing, packaging, and go-to-market strategy for new key product initiatives.
    • Defined partnership and business development initiatives.
    • Recommended 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 unit volume by 66% in the first full quarter after release of SolarWinds’ enterprise storage monitoring product by analyzing customer segments, company competency, and sales strategy and building out strategy and v1 of replacement product. Within the first year of release (2015), SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor won "Storage Management Product of the Year" in the Storage, Virtualization, and Cloud Awards.
    • Put in charge of 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 40% by 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 on-boarding 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 3rd 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 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 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 outstanding defect backlog of the team by 75 percent, saving more than $150,000.
    • Performed team leader responsibilities for 9 person team which included interviewing, conducting staff performance evaluations, salary planning, mentoring and budgeting.
    • Improved testing efficiency of multiple product teams by 300 percent by isolating, prioritizing, and championing improvements of automated test infrastructure.
    • Directed a 10 percent 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 which resulted in multiple innovation proposals including a presentation to two division vice presidents regarding significant changes to our software architecture which would net a 100 percent increase in large customer upgrade efficiency.
  • 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.

Project History

  • Creation of Storage Resource Monitor
    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.

Education

  • Master's degree in Business Administration
    2010 - 2012
    Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management - Evanston, IL
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering
    1999 - 2003
    Iowa State University of Science and Technology - Ames, IA

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