Product Management and the inspirations around it - a Malaysian point of view.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Crossing the Chasm

I was hoping to get my hands on the book Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A Moore. Then I saw this piece of review in Amazon:
Here is Moore's important insight in one sentence: "Don't celebrate your victory in a market after becoming the market leader with pioneer consumers; as the mass market develops and all the competitive offerings have adequate performance, the new consumers won't care about the advanced features that your organization is exquisitely tuned to produce but rather ease of setup, ease of use, and low cost."

Should I still read the book? What do you think?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Creative Leadership

Just finished listening to the podcast from Accidental Creative on Creative Leadership - an apisode about product and process. It served me as a great reminder.

Responsibilities of creative leaders

1. Bust the black boxes, build trust.
Do you call out to your people on what the organization is about and what the product is about? Do they have absolute CLARITY on what it takes to succeed and what is considered a failure? How transparent is your leadership?
Do your people know their role in the bigger picture?

2. Beware of derivation creep.
Take a look at the work that your people are doing - how much of their work is actually aligned to the organization vision and goals? Even if they are off the course by 1 degree - which does not seems to matter at first - over a long period of time the distance from the goal will become significant.

3. Be the first to take the fall.
No.1 in the leader's oath - be accountable for all failures, no excuses.

4. Give credits when it's due.
Celebrate success - tell people when things are done right, tell people even when their thoughts are aligned with your goals or the organization's vision.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

About the most successful product manager in history

He had a salesman's enthusiasm for the product, an evangelist's bible-thumping passion, a zealot's singularity of purpose, and a poor kid's determination to make his business a success.

On Steve Jobs, from the book Icon (the greatest second act in the history of business).

Monday, November 19, 2007

10 Types of Innovation

Had a team of associates who came and give the team a talk about innovation today. One of the new ideas (for me) shared is about the 10 types of innovation - created by Doblin Inc.
When people think about innovation - they often think about product and services only. There are actually many areas where innovation can be created and it's clearly illustrated in this model.
Fair to say that innovation is
everyone's responsibility in an organization - although the leader do have to chose a particular focus area.

To know more about the folks who conducted the innovation dialogue, you can find them on http://www.kwerkus6.com.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Making choices

Mark told me "Building great products is about making choices."
While he did not elaborate too much on what it means - here's my take:

A critical role product managers play is acting as a communication hub on product-related matters. That means the product manager will have to seek and understand stakeholders' / customers' needs and wants. While taking everybody's point into consideration, it is very easy to fall into the trap of "trying to be everything for everybody".
As a product manager, very often we have to make tough choices and be accountable for it. I can't think of any successful product that is "everything to everybody" - the only one that come very close is Google.
Microsoft isn't behaving like that anymore - they have, imho, recognized the space of opensource development.
Apple isn't like that - they know who their fans are.
Southwest, Air Asia - they made their choice first, then their customers chose them.

A leader is always the one who made choices and live up to it. It's OK to fail - but fail fast and move on :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Invisible Forces

Build services where there are invisible forces that make users do what they should do - Don't do centralized control - It's too much work and don't work well.
In the communist economy, there is no invisible force but a centralized control to control prices of good etc. So, often there is imbalance in supply and demand (too much of something produced and not enough of others) and inefficiencies. Hence, the communist economy did not work as in China before they
move to the capitalism. With capitalism, the invisible and distributed forces of supply and demand determine the prices of goods. It's a lot more efficient.
In internet services, we have eBay reputation system that helps manage the behavior of buyers and sellers. It is not controlled by eBay but eBay provide a platform with mechanisms that makes the buyer and seller behavior transparent. eBay does not pass judgment on the traders' behavior, they merely make the information available for the traders themselves to make the judgment before entering a trade.
Similarly, Wiki is a distributed system where so many people contribute and it had build one of the largest knowledge base in the world. Other examples include Google where a distributed system based on page links and smart algorithm helps in providing good search results versus more centralized human categories of directories created by Yahoo when it started.
Also, pricing can be used as a control. For example, when things are free, people might abuse it or not used it appropriately or value it.
~Mark Chang