Who are we?
👋 Hi there! Night Train is the vessel by which two longtime friends, Alan Webb and Jeff Bordogna, do all sorts of things – consulting, writing, building, advising, etc. If interested, read about how it came to be.
From 2009-2011 and 2018-2021, we were fully focused on Night Train as a strategy consulting practice. Outside of those windows (including the present), Night Train is our container for doing creative work (writing, side projects, etc.).
We're leaving the rest of this page in place to tell the story of the type of work we'd typically do in a consulting capacity.
What are recent examples of our work?
We have recently offered product strategy & business intelligence services—often with team alignment and strategic advising—for clients including:
- Improving pregnancy outcomes through smarter EHR products with Dorsata
- Reducing food waste in the American food system with Imperfect Foods
- Increasing wind turbine energy efficiency through better data systems with Apex Clean Energy
Our hypothesis is that by working with mission aligned companies, better outcomes for our clients leads to better outcomes for the world.
What do we do?
Our work doesn't neatly fit into a box. We're engineers at heart who enjoy building things—digital products, physical objects, teams, companies, communities, etc.—but we are also artists and storytellers who love asking good questions and thinking differently.
The most consistent role we play for clients is as hands-on coaches for teams trying to improve their existing products—this often includes understanding how their product is (or is not) being used, quickly and methodically testing new ideas, and improving the product based on a combination of data and creative direction.
We usually recommend starting with:
- Auditing your current product strategy, UX approach, and data foundation.
- Creating a gap analysis, rolling out customer research processes, and instrumenting a data stack.
- Improving systems of prioritization & planning to iteratively run experiments that test outcomes connected to organizational goals.
Work with us because we offer:
- A focused approach. We like to favor the concrete over the hypothetical. We can help you see a path and stay on it even when you're not sure where to go.
- An unusual combination of skills. We offer a deep set of product/UX/engineering/data skills alongside a high degree of emotional/strategic/creative skills.
- Broad experience. We have been building products in a wide range of domains—from energy to healthcare to education to food—for ~20 years.
We are experienced practitioners who are ready to jump right in as an extension of your existing team, or can offer a custom mix of coaching, advising, and doing.
Our process usually breaks down the Big Question you have along the following hierarchy and questions in order to make the path forward clear:
- What is the core value being offered to customers?
- How can you differentiate your product in the market?
- What are the key outcome metrics, both for customers and the business?
- What is the ideal customer journey that could step-change the outcomes?
- How can you tell a cohesive story that connects the high level to low level?
- Help craft interviews: what info to seek, what questions to ask, and what materials to leverage to get concrete feedback?
- Assess UX gaps: what are the existing vs. ideal customer journey diagrams, how to create interactive mockups/prototypes to leverage in customer interviews, what UX changes / trends / strategies might you consider to improve your existing solution?
- Audit metrics: what should engagement goals be, what of that is measurable today, how well are things going as of now, and how to better instrument the product going forward?
- Given strategy & discovery findings, what are key areas of investment / experimentation?
- What are technical considerations - buy vs. build, SaaS tooling, system architecture tradeoffs, etc?
- How to take those key areas and create a series of hypotheses & experiments?
- How to run and assess results of those experiments?
- What is an ongoing product development process that allows for a mix of long term planning & short term iteration?
Though we prefer to partner with folks who will handle the ongoing delivery of project build-outs (i.e. project management, software development, etc.), the areas we'll often take on more execution oriented roles are:
- Implementing the product discovery processes above (e.g. running interviews, creating prototypes, etc.)
- Setting up a data stack (e.g. web analytics, data warehouse, BI tool, ETL processes, etc.)
Reach out if any of the above sounds interesting!