My Career

skills  |  job history  |  work examples

 

I've led large product and operations teams in startup, growth, and pre-IPO companies. As a 2x founder, my product philosophy stems from accepting you can't know the answers, so you better get damn good at learning them. 
 

THEIR WORDS, NOT MINE

Marc Eberhart (CMO, Degreed)
"Simply put, Peter is a phenom."

James Currier (Managing Partner, NFX VC; 4X founder w/ $200M in exits)
"Peter is one of the best product people I've ever worked with."

Rob Angarita (4X founder, all profitable and/or exits)
"Without any hesitation, I would hire, partner with, or back Peter Simones."

TOP SKILLS

Rapid testing/learning, language and positioning, community building, writing, hiring, engineering management, meeting and beating deadlines, process design and implementation, getting shit done

BETTER THAN MOST

SQL (mysql, psql, SQL Server), UI/UX design, Excel fu, data analysis, email design and coding, App Store Optimization, community management, cooking, Boggle playing


As a 2x founder, I've done everything required to build and run apps and websites except backend engineering. Yes, everything. No, I don't want to write another Terms of Service.


OTHER STUFF THAT MIGHT BE IMPORTANT IF YOU WANT TO HIRE ME

  • Sports Editor of USC's Daily Trojan during the football team's peak run under Pete Carroll; wrote 100+ articles and columns and edited 1,000 more
  • USC Trustee Scholar (full tuition, merit-based); 3.89 college GPA
  • I built a CD burning business when I was 12. After my revenue rose to $200/day, my mom promptly shut it down
  • 35 ACT; 800 SAT Math, 800 SAT II Math, 800 SAT Writing
  • Once had a five-minute conversation with Aaron Rodgers

Work examples


YouFood product & design

You name it, I designed it - from point of entry (App Store pages) to new user onboarding (walkthrough, coachmarks, following recommendations) to power user features and rapid A/B testing.

Both peers and investors told us YouFood's active user engagement was the best they'd ever seen (non-Facebook category). This engagement led to tens of thousands of YouFood members transforming their health and happiness. 

KEY PRODUCT DESIGN DECISIONS

Dual home feeds
YouFood revolved around peer support and accountability; a chronological feed ensured you could follow your peers' days. When members continually asked for inspirational recipes and achievements from the broader community, we had to deliver this without disrupting that support anchor. The solution was a "Daily Awesomeness" toggle that surfaced 5-15 of the previous day's best posts, personalized to your diet and goals. By keeping it finite and releasing it at a specific time each day, we boosted overall engagement (6.5 > 8.5 app opens/day; 20m > 24m time spent/day) without sacrificing any peer support.

Retention "magic ratio"
Through continual testing and analysis, we identified a set of behaviors within a new member's first seven days that predicted, effectively, lifetime retention. We then reengineered our in-app language, new member onboarding, suggested following algorithm, welcome series emails, first week push notification strategy, and Daily Awesomeness post selection algorithm to maximize new members' achieving of this magic ratio. As volume of members meeting this ratio more than doubled, the retention effect held - validating our hypothesis.
 

Cramster/CHEGG OPERATIONS: forecasting and staffing

Cramster's Q&A promise - we'll answer any college-level question you have, in any subject and at any time of the day or night, within two hours - was vexing, especially as question volumes hit an inflection point in 2009. 

I architected and implemented the solution, from start to finish, resulting in profitability at 85% service level.
 

PROBLEM COMPONENTS:
- Forecasting overall question volume amid 100%+ YoY growth
- Forecasting seasonality, which varied heavily by month, day of week, and hour of day
- Forecasting average question difficulty (and thus, time to answer)
- Modeling in-house answering capacity
- Predicting managed network answering need
- Implementing 24/7 staffing schedules to properly match forecasted demand
- Building the operations management software to deliver employees the right question to answer, right now
- Performance measurement
- Service level analysis (Per subject, are we answering 85% of questions within two hours? If not, why?)
- P&L analysis (Are some subjects more profitable than others? What drives profitability?)


WORK REQUIRED TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM:
- Heavy Excel modeling and sanity testing against early indicator data
- Building a 24/7 staffing plan within budget
- Designing an operations management backend from scratch, and managing the engineering team building it
- Training 20 managers and their 300+ reports on a new operational model, from the technology they use to the way performance is evaluated
- Evaluating efficacy and tweaking the system (from task distribution algorithms to staffing schedules) to patch weak areas
- Evaluating P&L


RESULTS:
- Successfully answered 85% of all questions asked within 2 hours of being posted
- Raised engineering subjects' service levels from 45% to 85%
- The OM backend I architected and implemented became the bedrock of all company operations, and has successfully scaled as Chegg Study has grown into a $150M annual business