Platform rewrites, lessons learned

At some point in your product career, you will do a systems migration or a system rewrite. In this two-part series, let’s explore some lessons learned. This first post is about the things to avoid before starting a systems migration. The second post will walk through some practical tips for organizations on the most efficient way to pull this off.

To set the stage – How do you get to the point of needing a rewrite in the first place? The general arc of startups starts with an MVP that is designed quickly. It’s all lean in the beginning, this is the MVP phase. Most backend processes are manual. It makes sense –  you don’t know if there is product-market fit and so you don’t over-engineer and make a full end to end software solution. As you find product-market fit, your user base starts growing exponentially and you enter the bolt-on phase. There isn’t enough time to slow down and add incremental features to the core product to make scaling easier. So you start bolting on hacks on top of hacks, pseudo automation based on excel macros and more policies and procedures to keep up with the growth. Your software system now gets to spaghetti level status.Read More »

Great PMs deal with ambiguity

I’ve always been interested in figuring out what signifies greatness in PM, what makes a great PM?

AmbiguityInVagueness

A source of signal for me has been the ability to deal with ambiguity. Great PMs have this innate ability to take ambiguous thoughts/ideas/strategies as input and come up with a coherent executable plan which then they execute ruthlessly. A great PM has the superpower of bringing clarity to everything.

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Compete or Die – LiveNation Part Deux

Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction. The more Successful you are, the more people want a chunk of your business and then another chunk and then another until there is nothing ― Andrew S. Grove, Only the Paranoid Survive

So who should LiveNation be paranoid about? Who are its competitors?

As we saw the last post, LiveNation can be thought of a vertically integrated full-service live entertainment company. A comparable public competitor is the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG). They also describe themselves as the premier live entertainment company. Via their 10kRead More »

Mo Concerts Mo Money – A look at Live Nation (NYSE: LYV)

In the last post, I talked about getting into the habit of reading 10k’s. Time to dogfood my own advice :), for this post, I wanted to look at a completely new industry than the usual fodder. LiveNation is my first pick (NYSE:LYV). Latest 10K for 2018.

What are the goals of this exercise?

  • Understand the business model and a bit about the industry the company is in
  • What are the key growth levers for the business? What is the flywheel/network effect?
  • Who is the customer? What are the customer groups?
  • A brief look at the numbers
  • And finally – What is the competitive advantage of the business?

So let us begin!Read More »

Specialists vs Generalists – it’s nuanced and why you should read 10-k’s in your spare time

specialist

The topic of generalists vs specialists always comes up in PM hiring and strategy conversations. I see PM hiring managers and PM’s themselves struggle with this a lot. What got me thinking about this topic is David Epstein’s new book Range. The core thesis in the book is, and I quote, “Range explains how to maintain the benefits of breadth, diverse experience, interdisciplinary thinking, and delayed concentration in a world that increasingly incentivizes, even demands, hyperspecialization.” So how should you think about this topic? What are the nuances?

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Cross-sell is dead

Every companies’ strategy mentions owning the full customer relationship as a key goal. The thinking goes somewhat like this.

  • We have identified a customer need in a super specific niche area inside a large industry vertical.
  • Once we acquire this customer for this super specific need, we want to continue serving them and building a relationship with them
  • This same customer has varied needs that exist in the large industry vertical, a vertical that is unnecessary complex and filled with incumbents offering poor products.
  • We will build products that address all their needs. We will cross them into all these products
  • The customer is happy as there is only one place to go for all his needs
  • We will own the customer for everything they need in that industry vertical – we build high LTV
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