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PROJECTS

Portfolio of Work

Siembra

Just lay down and Chill.

An app that provided short stories and audios tailored to women. It created an escape for the soul and a space for the mind to go free.

My Role

As a Product Manager, I worked on every stage of the project, from conception to the MVP development and launch. I conducted research, managed freelancers who wrote our content and contributed to the product design.

As the co-founder for Siembra, I had additional responsibilities such as product ownership and copy writing. My main responsibility however, was on the content management and creation. I surfaced the web looking for the most habit storytellers, and narrators, worked the contract details, and ultimately distilled the best content to be sponsored on Siembra. 

Product

The images below show our MVP as we launched it to the app store back in 2016. Once the users signed up, they had access to our featured five stories. Recognizing the boom of audiobooks, we worked with freelance narrators to generate audios of the different stories. By combining the power of the written word, and the talented voice actors, users had the option of reading  in their leisure time, or listen to it through hectic hours like commuting. Our aim was to make the experience customizable, while keeping it simple and straightforward.

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Origin Story

Eight years ago, Abraham Starosta, his girlfriend and myself were hanging out at the Stanford University fountain, discussing the negative prejudice that society holds on women, pleasure and erotism.

We realized that it was more socially acceptable for men to have their own intimate moments than for women. 

The AHA! moment happened, and both Abraham and myself began to brainstorm potential ways to capitalize on the clear market gap. Abraham had just signed up for an iOS app development class at Stanford and had to build a Mobile App for his final project. This became a golden opportunity for us, and we decided to move forward with the project, resulting in the birth of “Siembra Romantic Stories and Audios for Women”.

Meanwhile, I went back to Penn State and considering the fact that we were broke college students, I decided to get my hand dirty. I would go around campus, asking random girls to fill out an anonymous survey for us, as well, as answering a couple of questions. 

The results where clear, there was a huge market need for a product like Siembra, that could finally get rid of the taboo around erotism and women. 

After acing the class, we realized that we were on to something with a simple yet powerful application. 

We worked together for 6 months, until the class's final project transitioned to Siembra - Erotic Short Stories, a mobile app which contains stories with audios for women to immerse themselves and let their imagination flow. 

Metrics

  • 2,000 Organic downloads in the first 2 months.

  • Over 50% of users came back to the app, even though there were only five short stories. 

  • Around 1% of users showed interest in generating content for the app.

  • A large portion of the downloads came from countries with a lot of women suppression laws, particularly in the middle east. 

Key Takeaways

  • With proper market research and tailored UI, your product can sell itself. 

  • Constant communication and check ins, with achievable goals will get you solid results.

  • Always keep the problem you are trying to solve in mind when designing the product and selecting the content. 

  • Creativity, resourcefulness and hustling beats money: we were broke college students and had to counter our lack of funding with creative solutions. From getting on campus running surveys, to using a class project and university resources to create an MVP.

  • While the product showed great promise and astounding numbers, my H-1B Visa status as a lighting engineer, limited our growth and our chances of going for investors.

Witbee

The fastest way to understand anything

An app that provided short simple and meaningful videos and articles explaining one concept or idea. It focused on community curated links to existing free content. 

My Role

As a Product Manager, I focused on the app's content management, marketing and strategical gamification. I funneled new content to be consumed and reviewed by the growing community in order to keep Witbee fresh and increase usage. 

Given our limited budget, we attempted some creative solutions to market Witbee. From contacting big and niche content creators to giving out small Nutella cups with a Witbee QR code around the Stanford campus. Whatever we could imagine to get more traction.

I also aided in the gamification efforts, to increase user engagement and promote community growth.

Product

Witbee was a community-driven platform that curated the best explanations for a trending topic on the internet. The startup envisioned a world where it takes only a few minutes to completely understand any topic, concept, or idea. It helped to find simple and short explanations on complicated topics that are otherwise hard to understand.

Origin Story

I joined the team shortly before the launched of the MVP on the App Store. We began by brainstorming ways to promote Witbee on a budget. The solutions were wide, from contacting influencers and creators to giving out Nutellas at the Stanford Campus. Shortly after that, I was given the Product management position with a focus on content creation and development. For the next couple of month I analyzed data, interacted with the app on a daily bases and even curated content myself. 

As our users grew, we began to look for ways to promote growth and usage. This included an extensive re-design, as well as a gamification strategy, which can be seen in the images below. 

After a successful journey as a part time product manager, we began to look for investors. That when Meir Messingher, the CEO and founder offered me a full time job as a Product Manager. However, given my visa limitations, I decided it was best to leave the company rather than burden them with all the cost and headaches of the immigration process. 

I spend many hours after work and weekends to get Witbee out there and make it succesful. Although I had to leave, the lessons that I learned and experience I gained as a Product Manager are invaluable. 

Key Takeaways

  • Starting a new product that relies so heavily on community engagement is an uphill battle.

  • Keeping a tight schedule with clear milestones increase productivity and motivation. 

  • Nothing beats a face to face interaction with potential clients and learn their thoughts, feedback and interest. I learned more in one day giving out Nutellas to promote Witbee, than with surveys or even reviews.

  • Team work makes the dream work. Even though Witbee wasn't succesful, the opportunity to work with extremely talented people with a lot more experience than me, allowed me to learn a lot on how startups are run. 

A.B. Cohen

Freaky Stories for Weird People

A side business to explore and develop one of my biggest passions: creative writing. Since 2017, I've published  "The Dream Keeper" a stand alone sci-fi thriller. I've co-written three books with JP Rindfleisch IX in the Leah Ackerman Urban Fantasy Series.

My Role

As an Indie writer, I'm in charge of writing and re-writing the story, hiring structure and copy editors, as well as a cover designer. I also organize beta readers to test books before launch, and finally, publishing it on Amazon. But that's only the beginning, I also focus on ads and marketing strategies to promote the different books, as well as building and managing the email list.

Specifically with my co-author, I used different product management strategies to optimizer our produce and increase out sales and exposures. We have meetings every Sunday morning where we discuss everything from storyboard and ideas, to marketing and  strategy. I focus heavily on schedule, internal deadlines and milestones, as well as coordination with our beta readers to get feedback on our product before we launch. I also manage our email list, and stay in touch with our readers, to keep the human connection, and make the product more palpable. 

You can learn more on my author website: https://abcohenwrites.com

Products

There are two main products I've developed over my indie author career.

  • "The Dream Keeper" A stand alone sci-fi crime thriller novel. It follows the story of an Daniel Spence, an intern in the prestigious but secluded Cooper institute, where he and Dr. Cooper are researching the relationship between the mind and the brain through dreams. But as they dig deeper, they awake a mysterious creature that begins to stalk them. 

  • "The Leah Ackerman Series" An Paranormal Academy YA Fantasy series that follows the story of Leah Ackerman. A fifteen year old who discovers magic the night her father murders her mother.  This a six book series I'm developing with my co-author and business partner, JP Rindfleisch IX. 

Origin Story

About a year after graduating, I realized my full time job as a Lighting Engineer wasn't fulfilling my creative side. I've always been obsess with stories and story telling, and I had dreamed of writing books since I was a teenager. However, there were some barriers like the language: even though I'm fluent in English, my mother tongue is Spanish, so writing a full length novel was a bit intimidating. But my urge to develop this creative outlet, and my restricted professional situation due to my immigration process, pushed me forward. I began waking up at 5 AM every morning before work, to take Masterclasses on writing. Soon after, I began to write my first draft, and after two years of mistakes, and re-writes, editors and proof readers, and a lot of learning, I published my first book, "The Dream Keeper," under the pen name A.B. Cohen. You can check out the book here

My hobby transitioned into a part time job on February of 2020, when I met JP Rindfleisch IX on an author retreat. After testing our compatibility with a short story (that you can find here), we realized we were a good match and began our co-author business together. Here is were I truly began to develop a lot of the product management skills I have today. Changing my mindset from hobby to business, pushed us to be more efficient and work as a team, splitting the responsibilities. I do a lot of market research, and keep a set of beta readers and ARC readers to test our stories before we launch. Me and JP meet once a week on Sunday mornings to develop the story and also go over our Marketing and ads efforts. I stay on top of our schedule, milestones and deadlines, as well as our budget and I keep our mailing list where we are constantly asking for feedback and recruiting beta readers, that help us test our product before we launch. (you can sign up for it, and get a free short story in the process here).

After three years, we've published three books in our Leah Ackerman series (which you can find here), and we are working on three more which we are planning to publish by 2025. We also have other verticals like audiobooks (you can find the audiobook for book 1 here), and Spanish translations. 

Metrics

  • "The Dream Keeper" 292 units sold to date (August 2023) plus 11,030 pages read under the Kindle Unlimited program. 

  • Leah Ackerman: 545 books sold to date (August 2023) plus 61,210 pages read under the Kindle Unlimited program. 

  • An average read through from book 1 to book 2 of 72%. Meaning that 72% of our readers come back for book 2. 

  • Book 4 pre-orders at 54 units. More than doubled the ones for book 1.

  • Email list with 444 subscribers with a 33% open rate average. 

Key Takeaways

  • To transition a hobby into a side business, you need to change your mindset. The books that I write are now the products that I'm selling. "The Dream Keeper" was an idea I had since I was fourteen years old. The Leah Ackerman Series is specifically written, and re-written, to market, using beta readers to ensure we are aiming at our target audience.

  • Continuous improvement: My co-author and I are always in the look to improve the next book based on the feedback from the last one. Using the book reviews, our ARC readers, and our email list, we always open the floor for feedback to ensure our next book keeps getting better than the last one. 

  • We adapt to market disruption and try to embrace change instead of shying away from it. For example, the surge of AI-generated books has flooded the market. Instead of dropping the side business, we try to re-invent ourselves, with things like more personable promotions on face-to-face events and emphasizing our direct interaction with our readers. 

  • Your product is your best marketing tool. With the release of our third book in The Leah Ackerman Series, we made "Dark Pawn" book 1 Kindle book free for five days on Amazon. We then sent multiple promotions, and the results were staggering: 4,665 free units downloaded. This made our book soar in the Amazon charts, as you can see in the images below. The amount of exposure this gave us, has made our sales spike for the last month and we hope to continue on this trend. 

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