James Barr

We help our customers transform their businesses. We take big ideas from zero to one by solving product research, planning, design, and development.

We help our team transform their careers. We bring passion and experience together, continuously create opportunities to try new things, and leave space for everyone to take risks.

Tell us about yourself?

I’ve worked in Product Management for over a decade now and have worked at large established organizations (Research In Motion / BlackBerry) as well as startups beginning to scale (Miovision, Bonfire). Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to have had opportunities to both build products and teams, and I’ve learned that I’m best at creating an environment where smart people are empowered to make something out of nothing.

In 2019, I was contributing to a new startup as a PM, and very quickly, we realized we needed to build a product team but didn’t have the funds to hire everyone full-time. Strata was created to solve that problem: startups, scale-ups, and other organizations that need a top-tier product team with a great culture and the flexibility to leverage the right skills at the right time.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Hire senior leaders sooner, even if it means losing money at first. Senior leaders bring experience and foresight to every job. They de-risk the work by helping us avoid pitfalls and traps they’ve seen before, and they absorb new technology and ideas fast. Senior leaders also de-risk our culture by providing guidance—and a feeling of ‘backup’—to team members who are earlier on their career path.

What problem does your business solve?

Strata Research

Strata helps organizations that need to deliver software but don’t have the time or expertise to build a group from scratch. We provide instant access to a team that specializes in bringing ideas to reality, handling every aspect of the process, from research to release management.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Strata started as a reaction to a problem we had ourselves: “How do we build a product team that includes user research, product design, architecture, backend and frontend development, data science, quality assurance, and the processes to coordinate it all without hiring (and paying for) eight full-time people and spending six to twelve months to ramp them all up?”

Anyone on a deadline to deliver high-quality software fast knows this isn’t really an option and actually costs more by the time the product launches. Our mission is to give organizations turnkey access to everything they need at a higher velocity with greater reliability and extremely high value per dollar spent.

What is your magic sauce?

We’re really good at understanding users, and that drives everything we do. We use powerful research techniques to validate features before we build so that our clients get better results and happier users in less time.

We’re experienced in every discipline, from research to design to development and delivery, and that experience means we move fast and help organizations avoid pitfalls.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

We want to make it easy for everyone to deliver software products – from large organizations to small non-profits with limited budgets. Software is ‘eating the world’ as they say, but it’s really expensive. We want to use our expertise to help make it possible for even the smallest organizations to realize their visions and for larger groups to move even faster.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The period from April to December 2020 was beyond challenging. The global pandemic took our business from “growing” to “zombie” in a matter of weeks while budgets were slashed by nearly 100 per cent. It was an extremely painful time, but we decided to put our trust in our partners. Rather than letting off the gas, we invested every resource we had back into those partnerships, and when their businesses came back, so did we – because of that trust.

How can people get involved?

Reach out to us at [email protected] or call 226-600-5267 for a quick conversation about your needs. We’re happy to share advice and point you in the right direction no matter what.