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

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

gaping_void_you_cant_have_it_all

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?