Ensure the Business Outcome

Wonderful article from Marty Cagan illustrating how good product teams and cultures deliver great products. One of my favorite quotes from the article: The Product Manager needs to ensure a business outcome, not just ensure a product gets defined. This requires a good understanding of the many inter-related parts and constraints of the business – financial, marketing, sales, legal, partnership, service, the customer environment, the technical capabilities, the user’s experience, and figure out a solution that works for the customers as well as the business. Also great to get hear the back story of some great products like Word, Netflix, and iTunes. … Continue reading Ensure the Business Outcome

Product Management Resources Worth Paying For

The start of the new year is a great time to reassess what’s working and what’s not. I’m reviewing all my monthly subscriptions that I pay for, for the purpose of helping to improve my business and product skill set. I’m cutting the ones that are not consistently delivering value and am looking for new ones to add. Here’s what I have on my keep list. Have something else to add that’s worth paying for? Let me know! Harvard Business Review – this is the last physical magazine that I subscribe to. I have been a subscriber off and on for … Continue reading Product Management Resources Worth Paying For

Curiosity and Product

Last week, I attended a conference hoping to connect with as many business managers as possible to discuss a new product. One of the gentlemen I spoke with was just a few years out of college and was more of project implementer than a project executive. I politely asked him a couple of questions about his job as I scouted for someone else to speak with. What happened next completely surprised me. He had a fresh set of eyes on some of the challenges in our market and his perspective  unique compared to the feedback we usually hear. He provided a context … Continue reading Curiosity and Product

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

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

Dear Product Managers, You Can’t Have it All

  I love this cartoon from Hugh MacLeod (GapingVoid). It is so simple but at the same time, so powerful. There are lots of ways you could interpret this message but I have been thinking about it in the context of product development. More often than not, you don’t have the time or resources to tackle everything. This means as a product manager, you have to make some tough choices of what not to do. Great products (and companies) intentionally leave out features that some customers find unacceptable. While this means that some customers won’t buy their product, it means they can … Continue reading Dear Product Managers, You Can’t Have it All

product is the center of marketing - seth godin

The Circles of Marketing and Making 1+1 = 3

I am behind with my weekly blog post this summer but wanted to share some amazing thoughts on product marketing and telling your story. Seth Godin recently put together a post that should be required reading for marketers. In the post, the circles of marketing, Seth writes, And the innermost circle is the product or service itself. When the thing you sell has communication built in, when it is remarkable and worth talking about, when it changes the game–marketing seems a lot easier. Of course, that’s because you did the marketing when you invented the thing, saving you the expense … Continue reading The Circles of Marketing and Making 1+1 = 3

You are a Startup Marketing Failure so Now What?

Chris Dixon wrote a post last week titled, The default state of a startup is failure, that I think is a must read for startup marketers. Chris shares the following ideas around building something new, On the flip side, first-time entrepreneurs often fail to realize that when you build something new, no one will care. People won’t use your product, won’t tell people about it, and almost certainly won’t pay for it. (There are exceptions – but these are as rare as winning the lottery). This doesn’t mean you’ll fail. It means you need to be smarter and harder working, and surround … Continue reading You are a Startup Marketing Failure so Now What?