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 …

Hire Growers

Tech workers rarely take a job just because they need one. It’s a buyers market for the most part, and more so when the economy is booming. Rational job seekers – and I’d like to think they all are – choose positions that will allow them to grow and develop. Finding …

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 …

I’m a Facebook Outlier, Charge me

This is not your usual facebook rant. facebook is an important service that solves real problems for many. It’s a major tech company with a viable business model, bound for more growth and innovation. Yet I’ve grown tired of it, and I’m not the only one. Facebook: it’s not you, …

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. …

Dark Product Management

If there were an Ig Nobel prize for product management, they should award it to product managers who march blindly toward failure. Those who toil endless hours (and have others do the same) to build a product that no one needs or that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. …

Bay Area, Inc.

Why is Silicon Valley so successful? How long will its reign last? Answers usually include deep-rooted engineering culture, cross-pollination through talent mobility, and funding availability. Other oft quoted – albeit lesser – reasons include the business-friendly regulatory environment, the fair weather and the power of the Silicon Valley brand to …

The Generalist

A product manager should ideally be a generalist. Yes, some specialization is required, but in what area? Statistical analysis of research data so you can draw better conclusions? System architecture so your feature specifications make more practical sense? Front-end programming so engineers don’t rebel against you? Graphic design so you …