Archive for the ‘ Product Management ’ Category

What I’m reading: Social Network Stocks Meltdown; Will Facebook Feel the Heat? An Alliance With Cable Is Exactly What Netflix Needs To Survive, How Lobbyists Run Washington, Business intelligence industry trends, Kick Windows Installers to the Curb; Go Portable for a Considerably More Awesome Windows Experience

Image1. Social Network Stocks Meltdown; Will Facebook Feel the Heat? If the recent market volatility has you Jonesing to pick up a few shares of downtrodden social media stocks like Yelp, please take 5 minutes to watch this analysis from my favorite trader. Bonus: Barry breaks down Facebook’s dilemma on the timing of their IPO (hint: The exclusive insider shareholders are looking to cash out ASAP )

2. An Alliance With Cable Is Exactly What Netflix Needs To Survive – An interesting take on a note I hit earlier with my prediction (hope?) that Apple’s imminent television product revolution would kill cable. I think I have too much emotion in this fight–so it’s hard for me to be neutral. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. I still think that cable will end up as “dumb pipes” as media [read: product] innovation’s rate of change stymies infrastructure players because “the next thing” doesn’t have that pesky need to support legacy systems and services.

Image3. How Lobbyists Run Washington – Informative, maddening and cheeky. The addition of a rage comic meme was a touch of genius. Hat tip: Barry Ritholtz again; he sifts through the crap to share the best infographics.


4. Business intelligence industry trends – The Gartner magic quadrant for BI was recently updated. Monash Research dives deeper to highlight some important clarifications about Garner’s methodology. TL;DR – Mobile is overrated (for now), enterprise BI is nice but the leaders still fall short for data discovery, hence the scrappy UI-focused entrants.

5. Kick Windows Installers to the Curb; Go Portable for a Considerably More Awesome Windows Experience – From Lifehacker. Ever since I saw my first Chromebook I was thinking about building a portable Windows netbook. Here’s how to have a perpetually “fresh” machine. The obligatory Apple comment would be “take a smaller  Macbook Air + App Store (iOS?) = profit…?”


What I’m Reading: Apple TV DREAM REVEALED, Reddit on Oil Speculation, Put a Fork in ERP, Mish catches the POTUS Manipulating Data, Berkshire Hathaway Could Surge 70% in 12 Months

1. Apple TV DREAM REVEALED: It’s not about the TV (it looks awesome). It’s about content. A super smart engineer-turned-product guru taught me that. And if half of what Henry Blodget speculates is true, Apple will basically slaughter the Big Cable and perhaps even a network or three with one product. Think about what iTunes did to the music industry’s gambit of selling you a whole album when all you wanted was that one song. . .

Apple Television . . . maybe...?

2. A great thread on Reddit that is chock full of thoughtful commentary on an energy speculation conspiracy:

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission charged one trading house and two individuals for illegally manipulating oil prices during the price spike of 2008, when oil reached $147 a barrel, by creating the appearance of a shortage to drive up the benchmark for crude. While the action covers oil trading in 2008, the connection to today, where speculation is seen as a primary cause for higher gas prices, is unmistakable.

I have no idea how close (or far) this is to the mark, but I appreciate people’s thought processes as they turn an issue over, citing sources I never would have found on my own. A great example of alternative crowd-sourced rabble rousing journalism.

3. Great Acquisitions! Now Put a Fork in ERP is a follow up read to a better article from Forbes that a colleague linked to a while back. I think the Techcrunch article ignores one of the reasons that the “Big Iron” didn’t innovate. The ERP licenses (and epic service contracts for implementation) are the definition of gravy-train. It’s Part II of the Kodak’s story: It’s not like they didn’t know the golden goose was going to be killed, but its difficult to time the execution. Lots of Monday-morning quarterbacking going on with Kodak, but returning to ERP, consider these articles the pre-game show with the retired coaches making their picks.

4. Mike (Mish) Shedlock Catches the POTUS Manipulating Data. The real title of Mish’s blog post is a little less respectful of the Executive Office of the President but his findings are sound. Why is it that the mainstream media can’t take 5 minutes to analyze the official stats that our congress, lobbyists and now President crow as fact? TL;DR – Petroleum distillates demand is down; Obama’s chart actually illustrates contribution of imported oil is actually higher than before. Oops.

5. Berkshire Hathaway Could Surge 70% in 12 Months. One sentence take: This is great news for all of you who have at least $117,000 lying around just to enter a Buy order for 1 share of a stock.

What I’m Reading: What is a product person? Non Bounce in Consumer Credit, Products becoming software, The Next Great Internet Disruption

  1. What is a Product Person? – Howard Ogawa answers the question as a thoughtful practitioner guru: With meaningful insight gleaned from years of practical experience. Want an unvarnished take on technology and design matters? Give the rest of his blog a read, as his blunt style caused me to nod my head several times in affirmation.
  2. Consumer Credit “Demolishes Expectations” Really? No Not Really! The “Non-Bounce” in Non-Revolving Credit – Perennial permabear Mike “Mish” Shedlock obliterates a breathlessly misleading (read: perma bull) post from Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal regarding a “HUGE number on consumer credit.” I like this post because far too often I find myself muttering at Business Insider entries (mostly Joe) as superficial. Mish helps us understand the macro economic context behind the headlines. A great blog!
  3. MicroStrategy World 2012: MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor Keynote – Mike posits 2012 marks the acceleration of a major transformational era in which products and services are becoming software [emphasis mine]. Mike can always be counted on to summarize his thoughts with brash, bold statements. Some people are put off by it, I eat it up: Choice quote at about 27:30 “Software is Changing from Solid to Vapor Form and is Spreading Like an Airbone Virus”
  4. Labor Efficiency: The Next Great Internet Disruption – One of the concepts I enjoyed the most in my economic courses was that of efficiency changes on labor systems. It appears that we’re on the cusp of another wave. Will the global wage arbitrage turn into something a little more beneficial to all participants? Time will tell…
  5. Blogosphere, We Get It – This is a funny summary of the points of view of some of my favorite econ/financial blogs. Won’t mean much to you unless you read them. I suggest you check some of them out.

Remember the needs of others

Recently we re-introduced the “naked burrito” into rotation at Casa de Reynolds. One of my favorite ingredients is Cilantro (fig.1) . Fresh, delicious Cilantro–which apparently some people cannot tolerate at all–is featured prominently at breakfast lunch and dinner in our household.

Per the NY Times article, it seems some people are genetically predisposed to dislike cilantro.

Cilantro bunch on a cutting board

Fig. 1) The polarizing herb

And as I chopped the bunch into smaller and smaller bits, I thought “and thank goodness nobody in this house hates it–I’d be tempted to cook with it anyway.”

That would be a jerky thing to do. But as I thought about an imminent deployment of a BI tool to hundreds of users, I remembered some of the complaints I heard about the UI. While some change management issues are easily dismissed as “I’m the chef. They’ll eat it and they’ll like it,” it’s important to understand where some people are coming from.

With the managing change part of Product Management, it’s certainly tempting to take that position. But what if some of the users’ needs are like a dinner guest’s non-trivial dislike of a herb that you prefer to cook with?

It’s important to surface these users’ needs well before engineering is cooking in the kitchen.

Otherwise, you’d better have a plan B.