Hey, Peter here 👋
I'm 30, I'm a dad of 2, I live in the south of England, and I'm obsessed with product design.
Since 2019, I've been a UX consultant to some of the best product teams in the world. I'm also trying to build the library of UX analysis that I wish existed when I was starting out.
This is the Built for Mars story.
How it all started
My FinTech start-up, Movem, was acquired in a PE-backed deal. It was a company which I started while at uni, and 6 years later had created an industry-defining piece of technology. It's since been copied by everyone.
Finding my feet
As most post-acquisition founders would attest to, I didn't know what to do with myself. So I started helping friends with their companies, and ended up focusing on user experience—something I'd spend tens of thousands of hours obsessing over at my start-up. This eventually turned into paid consulting.
Founded Built for Mars
I was sat in a Costa, and thought to myself “I'm creating these UX presentations privately for companies, but I bet people would benefit if I could post them online". But because I’d signed NDAs with all my clients, I decided to do a mini-study on Rightmove.
The first few case studies
Private case studies are super detailed, and take me weeks. So it took me a few months to find a good balance of humour, memes, UX tips and a coherent story. That's why the first few studies aren't amazing—I even deleted a few of them.
The bank study
I released the UX of Banking—a 6-part mega study comparing banks in the UK. It went wild.
Although I'd been working on Built for Mars full-time for quite a while, after the success of the bank study I made a conscious effort to improve how I ran the business.
This meant saying "no" to a lot of small design jobs, and focusing on helping some world-class products (Notion, Klarna, Pitch, Octopus Energy, Quickbooks, Google).
Built for Mars v2 launch
The original Built for Mars website was a Wordpress site I'd knocked up myself, and it was terrible. The irony of a UX blog having terrible UX was not lost on me.
So at the end of 2020 I asked my subscribers for feedback, and had hundreds of responses. I then started trying to design the best possible reading experience for my work. It's going to be the launchpad for something much bigger.
I joined the VC Creandum as an entrepreneur-in-residence, as a UX advisor to some of the best product teams in the world.
Built for Mars v3 launch
Since releasing v2 in 2021, Built for Mars doubled-down on features that enhance the reading experience, including UX Bites, UX Tooltips, Cheatsheets, Collections and more.
So, for 6 months we painstakingly rebuilt the entire site in React, and reorganised how everything was connected and referenced. This became the foundations for a launchpad of really dynamic usage.
Oh, and we launched it at 11pm, it was fine, and then sometime over night it completely died—product releases are fun.
Built for Mars Premium
The newsletter subscribers was at 27,000 (and growing 5/10% MOM), and I'd calculated out that I've spent about 3,500 "real" hours of my life researching and publishing free content.
But I wanted to take it up a level. More content, better content, deeper research, more ideas. And so I released Built for Mars Premium (BFM+); a paid tier of content.
It includes all new filters, features, ways to organise and find UX ideas. Fundamentally, it's a step towards scaling a UX library in a sustainable way.