Human beings crave certainty and in the world of product management it translates to “estimates of value”. Product managers have to make tradeoffs regularly on what initiates to work out next. At a certain stage of the company the need for “formal estimates of the value of doing X” will kick in, otherwise, how do you know to work on X or Y? There will be an overwhelming desire to quantify everything to the nth detail before deciding what to do next. We all know the dangers of that – If you torture excel enough you will get the answer you want. Use of a complicated bottom-up model in the early stages of a product’s evolution is a huge warning sign for me.
How to counter this?
Continue reading “Beware of false precision”
A thought experiment on the sort of fintech experiences and products we’d want as consumers in the distant (or near) future. The thought process is structured as a conversation between an older father and an adult son. Italics is the dad.
So son, hows your financial life going? Everything under control?
Oh, Fiona’s got it all covered.
Continue reading “Magic and Fintech – a thought experiment”
I’m obsessed with the financial crisis, love reading about it, love learning from it. Humans have a huge bias towards positive outcomes and learning more about how crises happen, has helped me counter that bias. Additionally, learning from other’s failures make our lives a bit more bulletproof!
Continue reading “What blowups can teach the product manager”
A key skill in my opinion as a product person is to identify “idea de-railers”. Idea de-railers are specific phrases used to block ideas from going further. Once you can identify this pattern, it’s much easier to plan around it, and as leaders attack it head-on. Below follow some choice de-railers from my collection.
Obvious disclaimer, Yes product managers should be empathetic, yes everybody in the company is driving towards the same thing so idea-derailers seems a bit harsh of a characterization, yes this is not ideal company culture, yes yes yes. However, reality is an approximation of the ideal, it always helps to understand human behavior (good and bad) and have a plan to tackle. These are just techniques that have been useful to me 🙂 Continue reading “Idea killers, how to bounce back”
Read a great book over the weekend – Fatal Risk: A Cautionary Tale of AIG’s Corporate Suicide by Roddy Boyd. Just buy the book, its full of wisdom. One of the many things that jumped out at me was how deeply Hank Greenberg, who made AIG into the powerhouse it became before the fall, was acutely aware of risk.
Continue reading “Risk on, Risk Off – Hedge or die”
A few common threads that I hear these days, that are super interesting,
- $NAME stock is a great buy – typically one of the FANGS or $TSLA
- Bitcoin is going to the moon
- You can never go wrong with real estate
- I am an angel investor (*part-time)
Continue reading “I wonder I wonder – a few questions”
Imagine the scene, its the end of the day, dinner is done, you are ready to turn in. The last thing you have to do is wash the dishes. Your spouse loads the dishwasher and just as she is heading to bed, she tells you “Honey put the soap in the dishwasher and turn the dishwasher on”
Some common responses, if you are a,
Continue reading “How do you wash the dishes?”
Over the years I had the opportunity to work with and interview a lot of product managers. Once you see enough people a few traits emerge. What follows is a humorous take on the various PM personas found in the wild via Dilbert cartoons.
Disclaimer: This is supposed to be funny and a caricature. If this offends you I’m sorry, but please no hate comments and/or twitter hate – it’s just not worth it.
Continue reading “PM personas in the wild”
I’ve been really fortunate over my career to be in companies that were experiencing tremendous growth. As companies grow, hiring and getting the right team in place is important, multiple interviews and mistakes later I’ve landed on one key insight, one thing that I look for
creating playbooks > following playbooks
What is a playbook?
I define playbooks broadly as a set of processes, principles, required behaviors, and measures that lead to a repeatable outcome. A playbook is structured and is the key enabler for scale in the problem area of your choice. Problem: Hiring, figure out your playbook. Problem: User acquisition: figure out your playbook. Problem: High-velocity product delivery: figure out your playbook. Continue reading “The one thing that demonstrates greatness”