Don’t Worry About Failing Fast, Worry About Learning Fast

Failing fast really isn’t useful unless you have way to internalize the failure and determine what to do next to improve. In his book, Smartcuts, Shane Snow, writes on the topic and uses the example of the famous Second City improvisation club to help illustrate. Shane writes: When releasing a new product, a company will spend months, sometimes years, fine-tuning, building up to one critical moment: the launch. Then on launch day the product either is a success or a failure. People buy it and the company makes a profit, or they don’t and the product fails. The Second City, on the other hand, puts … Continue reading Don’t Worry About Failing Fast, Worry About Learning Fast

You are Blind to Change

In his book, Only the Paranoid Survive, Andrew Grove writes, “The lesson is, we all need to expose ourselves to the winds of change”. What he was referring to how easy it is to get comfortable. How easy it is to get complacent. How easy it is to miss that someone is eating your lunch. Max Bazerman researched this topic in his the book, The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See. Max explains, Research on change blindness documents the striking degree to which we fail to notice information in our environment. Unfortunately some of the information we miss is important, even … Continue reading You are Blind to Change

About Products: A Few Things I Think I Think – Part 3

Continuing on the theme, here are few more articles and books that I have spent some time thinking on. Hope some are useful for you. Be like Charlie Munger. Sue Decker writes, “He says he has constantly seen people rise who are not the smartest but who are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up”. You may have caught the article where Bill Gates and Warren Buffett discuss the best business book they have ever read, Business Adventures, and then realize it was published in 1969. I can attest that the examples in it … Continue reading About Products: A Few Things I Think I Think – Part 3

Paradoxes in Scaling a Startup

I ran into this video a few weeks ago and have been meaning to share it. It is a short interview from Professor Mohanbir Sawhney, from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Business School. In the video, Professor Sawhney talks about how when a company starts it needs to be opportunistic. This phase is when a company is trying to find a business model that works – called product/market fit in the lean startup approach. This involves a lot of discovery, building hypotheses, and testing. This brings me to my favorite quote from the interview, You have to stay opportunistic to start with but if you … Continue reading Paradoxes in Scaling a Startup

Why I Won’t Use Your Product

(excerpt from my ProductCamp Austin presentation in Feb.) That’s great that the product you are building is cost effective/innovative/game-changing but the fact of the matter remains, I already have a solution in place for the problem you are trying to solve. Even though it might not be the best, I am not only use to my current solution but it is part of my routine. It just doesn’t matter. If you have hopes of dislodging this solution, you have to do so in a way that is not slightly better but has a difference that can be measured in magnitudes. Ben … Continue reading Why I Won’t Use Your Product

The Product Manager’s Quick Reference

I am presenting today at Product Camp Austin on the topic of thinking big and small as a product manager. I will be posting slides shortly but wanted to provide reference links. These are a selection of articles and books that I would highly recommend for all product managers to read, save, and read again. “The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.”  The Lean Startup by Eric Ries   “Blindly following the maxim that good managers should keep close to their customers can sometimes be a fatal mistake.” The Innovator’s Dilemma  “Good product managers focus the … Continue reading The Product Manager’s Quick Reference


Continuing on the theme, here are few more things that I have been thinking about as of late. Hope some are useful for you. This is very sound advice and could easily support a full book on the subject – Beware of chicken and egg products. Make sure your product provides immediate utility. This is a lot harder than it sounds – When you’re faced with a feature that only 8% of your user base are using, you have to make a call: Kill it or Keep it. I am a big fan of the power of a story and the … Continue reading ABOUT PRODUCTS: A FEW THINGS I THINK I THINK – PART 2

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

When it comes to building a product, you are always making decisions. What are you building now? What are you building next? What are you not going to build? There is no secret way to make to make it easier but there are some techniques that can help. The most important thing to realize is that when you are gathering data, you are completely bias. You are going to look for data to help support your cause whether you realize it or not. Even when you run into data that points to a contrary decision, you are more than likely to ignore it. From the book … Continue reading Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

About Products – A Few Things I Think I Think

Inspired by David Lee’s post, I put together a list of current topics that I have found thought provoking. Hopefully, you will find some of them useful too. I think Clay Christensen’s Milkshake Marketing should be required watching.  If you are focusing on a SMB SaaS product, read Tomasz Tunguz’s article on the subject. When it comes to a successful SMB offering Tom is spot on when he writes, “The most successful SMB SaaS products typically offer a 2 step value proposition: an initial value proposition to the end user and a longer term value proposition to a manager/decision maker.” If you have not read … Continue reading About Products – A Few Things I Think I Think

A few thoughts on 2013

I have been thinking about what to do in 2013 with this blog for the last couple of weeks/months (and yes, I know I am a bit behind with my New Year’s resolutions). Here’s a brief history over the last five years: It all started as a place to jot down notes on a side project and learn WordPress It became a place to learn how to blog And then to experiment with video Evolved into thoughts on product management and product marketing Then added a podcast It has been a great learning experience and honestly, a lot of fun. … Continue reading A few thoughts on 2013