Mistakes. We all make them. We all learn from them. From a food delivery startup who's users couldn't find their menu, to Amazon's redesign of Audible and even an emergency support system on 9/11, today we bring you mistakes Product Mangers made, and how, in some cases, they fixed them. Stories from Melissa Perry, Alison Go Product Manger at Facebook and Blade Kotelly Leader of Experience Strategy at Sonos.
Ty Ahmad-Taylor is the VP of Product Marketing at Facebook. Ty has worked in product for over 20 years and has two acquisitions under his belt. At THX, he led the media and consumer-electronics company into new sectors. Prior to that, he held roles including vp of Smart TV services at Samsung, founder and CEO of FanFeedr and Senior VP of product development and strategy at Viacom. Ty talks with us about leading large product teams, helping individuals growth under his leadership and how his entrepreneurial journey has shaped his view of product.
Jobs to be done will change the way you think about product. It will change the way you approach user personas and influence your product decision process. It is one of the most important developments in product thinking in our time, so today we're going to dive right in. In this episode we talk with Jeetu Patel of Box, Bob Moesta co-creator of the Jobs to be done framework, Benedikt Lehnert of Wunderlist (now Microsoft) and Eric White. The theory of jobs to be done was developed in part as a complement to the theory of disruptive innovation. But disruption theory doesn’t tell you how to create products and services that customers want to buy. Jobs to be done theory does. It transforms our understanding of customer choice in a way that no amount of data ever could, because it gets at the causal driver behind a purchase.
Ellen Chisa, a former Product Manager at Microsoft and current CEO of a stealth product focused startup, talks to us about the history of product management, how she learned about the role at Microsoft and what lessons product managers should take away today. Ellen is one of the few individuals who has worked in product her entire career. It's a unique perspective as most product managers have generally held other positions within an organization. This led Ellen to research the history of Product Management, and how it evolved from the 1930's "Brand Men" into the important role it is today.
We're Back! Today we explore the history of the Product Manager from it's early ideation by Neil McElroy to it's growth at Hewlett-Packard thru it's maturation at Microsoft and into today. We talk with former Microsoft Project Manager, Ellen Chisa, Former Microsoft Engineer (and 55th hire), Mark Zbikowski and Matt LeMay, the Author of Product Management in Practice, about this evolution over the past 80 years. For Neil McElroy the Brand Men were essentially his manifesto on what would become a product manager today. Their responsibilities ranged from tracking sales to managing the product, advertising and promotions. They were to “take full responsibility” for the brands implementation of advertising and sales and take a ‘huge weight’ off of the sales managers who were both ideating and implementing growth strategies. Bill Hewlett and David Packard interpreted the Brand Man ethos as putting decision making as close as possible to the customer, and making the product manager the voice of the customer internally. In the book The Hewlett-Packard Way this is credited with sustaining Hewlett-Packard’s 50 year record of unbroken 20% year-on-year growth between 1943 and 1993.
Today we talk with Ash Maurya, the creator of the Lean Canvas and most recently the author of Scaling Lean. His posts and advice have been featured in Inc., Forbes, and Fortune and we're incredibly excited to share his insights with you on scaling through the lean methodology.
Laura Roeder, founder of Edgar, talks with us about what it's like to build a product-driven company. She discusses the strategies her team uses to build a simple, clear road map that focuses on saturating a core market before looking broader. She also shares the key factors she attributes Edgar's exponential growth to, especially while being inside such a crowded space.
In our final episode of the product series we explore what it really means to be a product-driven company. More than anything, it's an exercise in restraint. Don't just build because you can, or because technology allows, but because you're advancing a larger vision. Laura Roeder of Edgar shares just what that means for their company, and how it's helped them follow a guiding light to success.
Ryan Singer the Product Manager at Basecamp, talks with us today about what the process looked like when designing and then releasing the newest version of Basecamp. He talks about how he used the JTBD framework to establish clarity when deciding the core mechanics of his product, and how using that framework enabled him to bring focus to the product launch.
In the fourth episode of our product series we bring you the story of eBay and Amazon in the early 2000s, and how their fierce competition for market share came down to two different, specific product approaches. It's a great story that few know, with some key lessons baked in. We'll also share something that Jeff Bezos does to this day to ensure the customer is always represented in product meetings.
In this third episode of our Product series, Ben Foster and Bob Moesta share stories and insights about how the key to gathering customer feedback is through the deeper, often unstudied observations. Leslie Bradshaw then joins in with the idea it's never too early to start testing a new product, we just have to be willing to put it to paper. Then Ben Foster closes the interview with a story about how a company was able to pull data from bike thieves in a creative way, and how the company used that data to create the ideal product.
In this second episode of the Product series, we dive into some practical examples of the Job's To Be Done (JTBD) framework. With Eric White we look into how Bob Moesta was able to transform the selling ability of condominiums. We then take a look at how Clay Christensen used the JTBD framework to find the job that needs to be done with a milkshake. From there we finish off the episode with Alan Klement talking about how Dan Martell used the JTBD framework to find a need, and then fulfill it inside of the Startup world. Links: (Jobs to be done) http://www.jobstobedone.org (JTBD on Medium) https://jtbd.info/ (Bob Moesta) https://twitter.com/bmoesta (Eric White)https://twitter.com/ericmwhite (Clayton Christensen) https://twitter.com/claychristensen (Dan Martel Episode) http://rocketship.fm/episodes/ep-101-dan-martell/ (Alan Klement) https://twitter.com/alanklement (Clarity) https://clarity.fm/ (Brand Bucket) http://brandbucket.com/rocketship (ChargeBee) http://chargbee.com/rocketship
In this first episode of our Product series we track the start, evolution and explosion of growth that occurred in the baseball cap industry. We look at how a few key people and decisions caused a once non-existent product to bloom into a two billion dollar market. We then segue from a highly successful product, to a highly successful product manager, Ben Foster. Ben defines what makes a project manager crucial and effective, and what the difference between a good and great product manager is.
Ever wonder how Silicon Valley became the venture capital and technology capital of the world? In this episode we'll take you back to the 1950s and share the story that kicked it all off. From William Shockley to Gordon Moore, Eugene Kleiner to Robert Noyce, we share the stories of the pioneers who paved the way for Silicon Valley to be the incubator and financier of innovation that it is today.
Andy White discusses the state of venture capital and how it's changing inside and outside of Silicon Valley and what he has brewing in San Diego currently.
Nick Disabato, founder of Draft and author of Cadence & Slang, talks with us about the intricacies of A/B testing that he uses with his clients. Everything from the most impactful changes you can make to a page to how to determine the proper sample size and run-time of your test. This was an incredibly informative episode.
Alex Berman, Chief Marketing Sumo at InspireBeats, talks with us about how they’ve built their business by sending over a million targeted, personalized cold emails. He shares some great tips for improving your emailing efforts and closing more deals.
Ian Crosby, co-founder and CEO of Bench, talks with us about their journey from a totally manual process to something vastly more efficient and scalable. He also talks about how to think differently about the problems you’re solving and creating something people really want.
JD Graffam, Founder of Simple Focus, an agency which also acquires SaaS products like Ballpark and Pulse App, talked with us about his product acquisition process. From financing, to improving product, to managing risk, JD gives you everything you need to replicate his strategy.
Tom Leung, co-founder of Poachable, talked with us about how Poachable got started out of a pivot from a previous company. He opened up about false positives that led them to fail a little too slow with the previous company, and how they were hours away from an acquisition before closing a new round to pursue Poachable.
Richard White, CEO of UserVoice, talks with us about using behavioral data to help drive product decisions and feature iterations. He talks about finding the balance between looking at data and trusting your gut instincts, and how this changes as companies mature.
Flo Motlik, co-founder of Codeship, talked with us about focus and productivity within their engineering team. Wherever there’s an opportunity to remove a task pay for another piece of software to handle it, it’s a no-brainer. He also shares how they’ve changed the way they communicate as a team and the impact it’s had on everyone.
Benedikt Lehnert, Chief Design Officer at Wunderlist, talked with us about how they approach design. They consistently go back to consider the thing they're replacing (in the case of Wunderlist, it's pen and paper), and design for the best possible experience, not just the prettiest app.
Des Traynor, co-founder of Intercom, talks with us about how they make difficult product decisions in respect to adding and removing features, changing pricing, and packaging the product. He talks about how he sees others struggle with weighing feedback, data, and instinct to make their own decisions about product.
Mike Brown Jr., partner at Bowery Capital, talks through his comprehensive list of SaaS tools for every stage of the sales funnel. He discusses why certain tools are necessary at different stages, and differences between similar software. Incredibly informative episode!
Nathan Barry, founder of ConvertKit and author of Authority, talked with us about the struggles of getting a SaaS app off the ground. He focused on the hard decision of knowing when to invest both time and money into an idea, even when there aren’t clear cut signs of success.
Sahil Lavinia, founder and CEO of Gumroad, talks with us about their philosophy for product development and creating something that serves a variety of verticals well without niching down too much. He shares how they identify features that improve the product for the most people, support the vision and mission for the company, and are achievable by their small team.
Abhi Lokesh, Co-Founder and CEO of Fracture, talks with us about the struggles of starting up a company that makes a physical product. The early days of prototyping and finding a market were incredibly interesting to hear about. He also shares some of the things they’re doing on the marketing side that have been paying huge dividends for them.
Abby Covert, Information Architect and Author of "How to Make Sense of Any Mess", talks with us about the integral role IA plays in every aspect of our lives. In regards to business, she discusses how the concepts of ontology, taxonomy, and choreography make up the very core of our experiences with products and brands, whether we’re aware of what we’re doing or not. It’s a fantastic lesson in planning and being deliberate in all aspects of communication.
Rob Meadows, CEO of Originate, talks about how the barrier to entry to starting a new venture has never been lower, and why finding the one thing that’s unique to you is more important than ever. He gives some great examples and great perspective on creating an unfair advantage for yourself.
Jeff Berg, Founder and Developer at Planning Center, talks about how he's grown his self-funded company to over 30 employees and over 3 million users across their suite of apps. He shares his 3 principles for success with us, and how he's able to maintain such an awesome culture and team as they continue to grow.
Ryan Singer, Product Manager at Basecamp, talked with us about stripping away pre-defined product categories and focusing on the niche you’re filling and the problem you’re solving. He shares lessons learned with Basecamp, as well as how they use Jobs-To-Be-Done to help them when they get lost.
Owais Peer, Co-Founder of Global App Testing, talks about his unique productivity hacks he uses with his entire team. We also discuss his bottom up approach to management and how they use the Pomodoro technique to measure just about everything on their to-do list.
Nick O’Neill, Founder of Startup Stats, talks with us about event planning. He shares his process for deciding what kind of event to plan, lining up speakers and ticket sales. There’s an amazing amount of similarities to launching a product.
Scot Chisholm, Co-Founder and CEO of StayClassy, talks with us about his unusual route to raising 1.5 million seed funding over the course of 2 years and how mentors and advisors helped them grow into one of the biggest non-profit donation platforms in the world.
Nathan Gilmore, Co-Founder of TeamGantt, shares how they bootstrapped their way to thousands of monthly customers. He also talked to Michael about how this team at Brandisty could benefit from something like Gantt vs. other methodologies.
Thomas Schranz, Co-Founder & CEO of Blossom.io talks about how he thinks differently about product management. He doesn’t blindly follow standard agile practices - he picks the right tool for the job and avoids unnecessary process. He also talked with us about Jobs-To-Be-Done and the concept of Minimum Marketable Features.
Cat Noone, Co-Founder and lead designer for Liberio, talks with us about leaving San Francisco to start a startup in Berlin. She shares some really interesting stories about the experience, both from the social perspective as well as the fundraising side.
We talked with Moritz Plassnig, co-founder and CEO of Codeship. He talked about how their passion for education, teaching through video and blog posts, is baked into who they are as a company. He also touched on how creating a “wow” factor for people in the first couple minutes of using their product has been huge in moving the needle for them.
Adii Pienaar, founder of WooThemes and Public Beta talked with us about launching a completely new venture from scratch and some of the controversial techniques he used when validating his idea. He also opened up with us about creating a more sustainable work/life balance and his plans for the future.