Md Toy Blog

Product Management 20 Years of tips


This are notes on Dave Wascha's presentation. Please thank him.

  1. Listen to your customers' problems
    • Do not solve problems that they do not have (salt delivered over Wifi)
  2. Don't listen to your customers' solutions
    • They are not qualified, that is your job
  3. Watch the competition (so much valuable information)
    • Every new feature that they release, will give use great insight by looking at online reviews for example (there are so many signals out there)
    • Instant feedback from the users (also comments on a youtube review)
  4. Don't watch the competition.
    • Stop worrying so much about what they are doing.
  5. Be a thief
    • Don't be afraid to steal ideas
    • When younger thought I had to come up with all the ideas, but your job as a product manager is not to come up with ideas, but to solve your customer's problem. So if someone comes up with a better idea than you had, then steal it.
  6. Get Paid
    • We rush into releasing features and all to market, but we forget to ask a fundamental question: "Will anyone want to pay for that"
    • Evernote, in search of profitability decided to change the way it prices its products, and people became crazy because they did not understand why evernote was charging for the things it charged.
    • Basic was 60MB which was not communicated as how much one could store in that
    • Standard was 1GB which still did not give insight of whether it fit customer's needs.
      • Then the additional bullets were to access content offline, which nobody needs since everyone is connected even on mount everest.
    • Premium was 60 GB and customer support, which basically means: "give us your money because we are trying our best, and if you do so, if our app sucks, we will talk to you"
    • When you release products or features, make sure that people see enough value to pay you something
  7. Stop worrying so much about getting paid.
    • We are business casing the soul of our product.
    • It is not enough to fulfill the functional needs of our customers, we also need to appeal to their emotional and social needs as well
    • Customers want to feel connected to us
    • They want to feel entertained, heard and understood
    • They want to cheer for use and trust us, and trust is not built on megabytes, trust is based on an understanding that they believe that we know who they are, and that we have their best interest at heart. And they believe that they are part of our tribe. This is crucial.
    • Does not need to be massive thing, small details, of humor for example.
    • For example adding dental floss to a banana chilly jerky product. This dental floss adds cost, and is unmeasurable in terms of ROI, but it makes the customer smile.
  8. Speed up
    • Inaction is the worst thing that can happen to your career.
  9. Cost of delay
    • We put off making decisions for all kinds of things
    • Every time we put off making a decision, we are destroying value.
    • The features and products that we ship have a limited shelf life. And the longer it takes them to go to market the less value that they have.
  10. Say "No"!
    • This is not about making people happy, it is about making our customers happy.
      • If marketing comes to you and asks you for a marketing feature, the answer should be no.
      • If the sales guy says, "I just need this one feature, for this one customer", the answer should be "no". It is really hard to do this, but vital
      • If the CEO comes along and says: "hey I have this great email from my cousin with a great idea", but it is not a great idea, the answer should be "no".
  11. Say "No" for the right reasons. We get the reasons wrong many times:
    • Saying no because we think we are protecting the team (bad reason)
      • The job is not to protect the team, your job is to protect the customer
    • You say no because you don't like the person who is asking.
  12. Don't be a Visionary
    • Younger I thought I had to know everything and be this Oracle that everyone would come and see to get dispensed with my wisdom.
    • Elon Musk is a visionary: he builds electric cars, and space ships. But he is far right in the bell curve of badassness.
    • Products do not need visionaries, they need product managers that are obsessed with understanding the customer's problem and solving it, so don't be a visionary.
  13. Do not confuse yourself with your customer
    • A good saying is: "a product manager who thinks he really knows his customers is like a male gynecologist"
  14. Be Dumb
    • Not being encumbered by too much knowledge allows you to see the product through the eyes of the customer.