Growing Guitar

The artwork in the picture was a joint project with my daughter, 5 years in the making. The colors around the body encode the song While my Guitar Gently Weeps by the Beatles’ George Harrison. A few other hints are strewn throughout the design. Medium: – Manzanita branch stained to restore the …

10 Sure Ways for Giving a Lousy Presentation

There’s no shortage of resources and opinions about how to give a good presentation. At a risk of repeating what others have already said, here is my list of presentation faux pas. These are guaranteed to derail any pitch regardless of how relevant, important or interesting the message is. I …

Tastemaking: The Art of Product Management

Product management is an obscure art. Many people, especially outside the tech world, have no clue what it is. When I tell someone what I do, they often reply with “You mean project management?” The lengthy explanation that follows sometimes falls on deaf ears. In an effort to explain it …

Form over Function over Form

The technological revolution of the last decades created countless new products and services while burying many old ones. Things that once had physical presence are now done through software – documents (pdf), memos (email), pictures (digital), money (bitcoin), etc. Unlike previous revolutions in which one physical technology replaced another, this …

Book Excerpt: Curating

The following is a chapter from my newly published book Product Leadership. “Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.” – Frank Zappa At the top of the long list of terms describing a product manager is a deceivingly simple word: Curator. Like curators of museum exhibitions, product …

Product Leadership Book Excerpt: Simplicity

The following is a chapter from my newly published book Product Leadership. “I have written you a long letter because I did not have time to write a short one.” – Blaise Pascal Simplicity is a design philosophy that prefers products leaner on features over loaded ones. The idea is …

The Case of the Vanishing Bookcase

The bookcase in the picture has been our my house for the longest time, and every visitor is impressed. I designed and built it after being inspired by a leaning bookshelf I saw at Centre Pompidou in Paris. Getting the shelves to dovetail into each other was an intriguing challenge. …

What do Product Managers Wish for?

What do product managers wish for? They wish they could decide what their product should be like without the burden of customer requests, usage data, management dictums, and engineering pushbacks. They wish they could decide what’s best for the customer and get it implemented with no qualms. They wish they …

Good Robot, Bad Robot

Automatic pool cleaners, known as robots, are out of sight for most people. Even pool owners don’t care much about them – as long as they work. A recent experience with a broken one thought me an important lesson in product innovation and marketing. Although it happened in a niche …

The Job’s Not Done

Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.” I love this quote attributed to a West Point cadet. I think Steve Jobs would have agreed with every word, but I couldn’t be sure about the “care more” part.