Leadership Track Speaker

I was fortunate to get to present at the Project Management Institute (PMI) South Dakota’s 2017 Professional Development symposium in the Leadership Track.  I got to talk about my favorite topic – how to understand customers.

Topic: How to Write Human User Stories

Jay Fisher, PMP is a Product Manager at MetaBank focused on creating software that builds relationships with cardholders.  Jay believes that the key to a successful project is creating user stories that connect the team to the customer.  After spending almost a decade working on new product development projects, Jay knows that building the heart connection requires focus and an agile responsiveness to surprises.  Jay has launched cardholder websites, mobile apps, and enterprise software in the consumer products and financial services industries.  He is a certified Project Management, New Product Development, and Pragmatic Marketing Professional. Jay holds a BS in Mathematics and Economics from the University of North Dakota.

“How to Write Human User Stories” is a practical conversation on how to connect teams to the needs of the end user.  We will discuss using customer visits and personas to discover user problems and to make user stories more relatable.

Understanding user’s expertise level and usage frequency vs the types of complaining customers to show how to target user stories for maximum impact.  We will show how focusing on a well-defined customer can increase team effectiveness and bring novel solutions to light.

PMI SD: Symposium 2017 Leadership Track


AmEx Serve Cancels Credit Card Loads

Serve email:

American Express Serve

Hello Cardholder,

We are writing to let you know that we are making some changes to our credit card loading options. Beginning April 16, 2015, if you want to use a credit card to fund your American Express Serve® Account, you will only be able to use an American Express®Card. Direct Deposit, debit, and all other funding options will remain unchanged.

If you do not have a credit card linked to your Account, this change will not impact you.

How this change may impact your Account
If you have a Discover, MasterCard or Visa credit card linked to your Account, please be advised that starting April 16, 2015 these cards will no longer be linked to your Account. Additionally:

  • Any automatic recurring transactions with these credit cards will no longer be completed
  • You will no longer be able to use a Discover, MasterCard or Visa credit card as a Backup Funding source

Other ways to fund your account
You can still add money to your account in many other convenient ways, including Direct Deposit, debit, and free cash reloads at the register at 27,000 CVS/pharmacy®, Family Dollar®, Walmart® and participating 7-ELEVEN® locations.


The American Express Serve Team


Feature screenshots:


Serve_CardLoads_2 Serve_CardLoads_3



$200 per day and $1,000 per month ($500 and $1,500 with Softcard, now defunct)

Vanilla Load Network Poster

A new Vanilla Load Network poster found in a chain gas station. Text reads:

“Swipe Reload Now Available!

Easily Add Cash To Your Reloadable Prepaid Card Directly At The Register

What you Need*   Swipe to Load**”

Small text:

*Service fee applies.  **Subject to cardholder load limits.

Vanilla Reload is provided by ITC Financial Licenses, Inc.  ITC Financial Licenses, Inc. is licensed as a Money Transmitter by the New York State Department of Financial Services.  Terms and conditions apply.


From the MyVanilla Terms and Conditions:

Reload at a Vanilla Reload Network Retailer

Up to $3.95 per reload transaction

Each Vanilla Reload Network Retailer may charge a transaction fee of up to $3.95 in addition to the amount being loaded – see the Vanilla Reload Network Retailer or contact us at 1-855-686-9513 for additional details. This fee must be paid to the Vanilla Reload Network Retailer in addition to the amount that you are adding to your Card and will not be charged to your Card.

Maximum load is $500

Lego Customer Research

Really great article about Lego getting product development insights from kids and their parents.

“We asked one kid to design his ideal room,” another researcher told us. “And it had all sorts of covert elements: booby traps and CSI [from the Crime Scene Investigation TV series] secret doorways. Everything was communicating, ‘Stay out!’” The anthropologists discerned that the box of mushrooms and the booby-trapped room were both reactions against the staging and surveillance happening in the children’s lives. After further discussion, the team saw a pattern emerge more clearly: the children were suffocating.








Image from Flickr