Customer Service

#ProdMgmtTalk Live Broadcast: Terry Jones, Founder and Former CEO,

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Terry Jones, Founder & Former CEO, 06/10 by ProdMgmtTalk | Blog Talk Radio

Terry Jones, Founder & Former CEO, 06/10 by ProdMgmtTalk | Blog Talk Radio


For Innovation’s Sake, Reach Through the ‘Bozone’ Layer!

Terry Jones founded and then founded its new competitor What was the secret to his decades of leadership success?

“The leaders at the top need to hear from the people on the line – the clerks, the customer service reps, the people who are actually touching the customers,” says Jones, author of On Innovation (

“They’re almost always the employees with the best ideas for solving problems, streamlining processes, improving the customers’ experience. That’s where innovation begins.

The trouble is, in companies where the leadership has made failure too risky for middle managers, an impenetrable “bozone layer” forms between those at the top and those at the bottom.

“The short-term solution is for leaders to find ways to reach through the ‘bozone layer’ and talk to the workers. Solicit their ideas, implement them and give them a really big shout out for their great contribution,” Jones says.

“The long-term solution is to vaporize the bozone layer by changing the culture.

Encourage experimentation and new ideas. When something doesn’t work, kill the project — not the person! People need to know it’s safe to experiment and even to fail.”

Discussion Questions

  • If company leaders reward middle managers for their successes, doesn’t that encourage risk-taking?
  • In your own experience as a business leader, what was the best innovative idea you implemented that came from “the bottom”?
  • How can leaders win the trust of managers who’ve seen people demoted or fired for taking a risk that bombed?
  • What’s a good example of an innovative company that has successfully dealt with the bozone layer?

Terry Jones joined host, Cindy F. Solomon, on Monday, June 10, 2013 at the simultaneous times of 10:00 AM Pacific Time, 11:00 AM MST Denver, 12:00 Noon CST Chicago, and 1:00 PM EST Boston.

Participants are welcome to listen live to the weekly show at, call in to talk on the show (323) 927-2957 and to participate on Twitter by following @ProdMgmtTalk and tweeting using the hashtag #ProdMgmtTalk

About Terry Jones
Terry Jones founded in 1996 and led the company as president and CEO until May 2002. He is managing principal of Essential Ideas, a consultancy he cofounded to help companies in their transition to the digital economy, and serves as chairman of the board at, which he also founded. Previously, he served as chief information officer at Sabre Inc., where he held various executive positions for 24 years. Before Sabre, he joined American Airlines as director of product development and eventually became president of the division. Jones is a graduate of Denison University.

Terry’s New Book is “ON Innovation”

This book’s focus is turning on innovation in your culture, teams and organization.

On Innovation has 72 short ideas on how to build teams, create a culture, and select the best ideas. It includes a section on “Innovation in a large corporation”

It is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format and in the IBook store for Ipad.

First editorial reviews of ON Innovation

Terry Jones’s book “On Innovation” is a gem. You’ll come away from this book enriched, even if you just only dip into it in 10 minute snatches now and again.  TNOOZ Travel News

If you’re looking for inspiration to kick-start your business for 2013, get your hands on a copy of ON INNOVATION. Tahoe Bonanza

A quick and inspiring take on building innovation from the ground up.  KIRKUS Reviews

The book… speaks in layman’s terms, to the everyman and everywoman who wants to better himself or herself and their teams. MOONSHINE INK

This is a book that is ideal for front line staff, CEOs and definitely middle managers… “how to” book. How to do things, how to look at your business in a new way, how to be strategic, how to listen — overall, how to innovate. Lake Tahoe News

PIPELINE 2013 Mini Conference: June 19th

View special re-airings of presentations from Terry Jones and Dr. Robert Cooper and then join them for live Q&A. Already registered? You’ll just log in right here on June 19 with your email address. Not yet registered?Register today for the PIPELINE 2013 Mini Conference: June 19th.

Software vs. Services: Why Striking the Balance is Just the Beginning | ExtensionEngine, LLC

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See on Scoop.itProdmgmt

Global Product Management Talk‘s insight:

Lah describes a typical early stage VC-backed startup as having a “3-1-6″ model, in which

30% of revenue is from the core software product,

10% is from support fees, and the remaining

60% from professional services.

a mature product company will often have a “6-3-1″ model which is almost the inverse distribution.

60% from core software product

30% from support fees

10% from professional services

The key takeaway is that your professional services team can have as much of an impact on your customer’s brand experience as your product itself. In fact, for the first part of the engagement, your professional services team IS YOUR BRAND. You’ve got to balance the mix between service and software so that you get the numbers right.  But getting the people, process, and culture right is even more important. In the end, if your customers have a positive experience with your services organization, they are likely to buy more products.  And if you don’t take the right approach with this important 10% of your business, you could be screwing up the remaining 90%.

See on

7 Unexpected Things I Discovered About Customer Experiences

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If you’re new to the field of customer experience management, what would you expect? Read on to see what surprised Selwa Lukoskie in her first experiences in writing about CX.

StartUP Product‘s insight:

customer experience (CX)

CX is a multifaceted discipline. CX – like UX and customer service – is actually an entire discipline, equipped with scientific research, data, metrics, experts, thought leaders, etc.

“According to Harley Manning, vice president and research director at Forrester Research, customer experience is:

how customers perceive their interactions with a company along each step of a customer journey, from discovery, to purchase and use, to getting service.”

“A company may perceive to have given a good overall customer experience, but that’s only one side of the equation. A customer’s perception is what really matters. No matter what kind of experience you think you gave a customer, they may have perceived something entirely different. This makes the definition of CX – and its metrics – not just multifaceted, but also ambiguous.”

See on

Key Takeaways from the Marketing and Getting Traction Panel at Startup Product Summit SF

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By Michelle Sun

Here are the notes for the Marketing and Getting Traction Section at Startup Product Summit SF. Omissions and errors are mine (please let me know if you find any, thank you!), credit for the wisdom is entirely the speakers’.

Eric Kim
Eric Kim

“Your Product is your Marketing, and You are Your Product” – Eric Kim, Co-Founder & CEO, Twylah

Essential foundations of a personal brand:

    • Thought leadership by expressing yourself around themes you want to be recognized for.
    • Story-telling: Personal brand comes from not just conveying facts but weaving a story.
    • Content-marketing: Convey something of value to your audience. Your content should be educating, inspiring or calling to action.  Identify a segment of audience and project content that’s valuable to that segment.
  • How to cultivate personal brand:
    • Engagement.  Have a conversation around the topics you are interested in.
    • Community.  Allow and encourage interaction and discussion amongst your audience.
    • Custserv: Show the love by being responsive to customer / audience feedback.  Quoted Buffer as a good example of incorporating customer happiness as a core of the product.
  • How to leverage the brand to help or make a business
    • Ask: call to action.
    • Upsell: selling premium content or related services.
    • Downsell: lower barrier by decreasing the length of commitment.
  • Building a brand is about developing relationship. By consistently laying the foundations, it enables the individual to deliver authority, credibility and familiarity
  • How to get content to right people when first starting out.
    • Content/audience fit.  Publish content and people have something to respond to
    • #hashtag on Twitter is a great way to reach out to audience, outside of the followers count
    • Brainstorm by asking questions. What are the three things that define you, that you’re passionate about, that you can create or curate
  • Trustworthiness springs from familiarity and human touch.  An individual’s brand identity is something that builds up and follows him over the course of his life and career.


Mariya Yao
Mariya Yao

“Make Your Numbers Go Up: How to Optimize for Conversion & Retention on Mobile” – Mariya Yao, Founder & Product Strategist, Xanadu Mobile

  • When thinking about optimizing metrics in a product, there is a dichotomy of:
    • Local maxima: am I building the product right?  What should we A/B test?  What platform? How to improve retention?
    • Global maxima: am I building the right product?  Am I in right market?
  • Two strategies in evaluating a global maxima:
    • Benchmarking.  Top down approach that starts with the overall industry landscape.
      • How do mobile users spend their time? What are the fastest growing app categories? What apps have most loyal users? Why do certain apps retain well and how do I use that into my app? What are the most profitable apps segment? Where in the world are smartphones adopted the fastest?
      • What are the trends/opportunities?
      • Where are the danger zones? Why have companies failed there?
      • What can people do on mobile they weren’t able to do before?
      • Why are people loyal to these apps?
    • Behavior. Bottom up approach.
      • Apps are either creating or replacing behavior: A case study on Foursquare and Instagram.
      • Foursquare was creating a new behavior (check-in) that has no prior parallel, which explains the pivot from check-in in 2009 to explore in 2012. When creating a behavior, focus on delivering value or providing strong incentives such as saved money, time or exclusive/perks.
      • In pre-Instagram era, 76% of people were using their phones to take photos. Mariya examined a detailed flow of taking a photo and sharing on facebook, and contrasted it with how Instagram made the process significantly shorter and easier.
  • Are you solving a problem or a nuisance?  A common pitfall in startups is that they are building a company that is solving a nuisance instead of a problem.  When solving a nuisance, in order for such product to succeed, the product needs to be better than the existing solution by magnitudes (eg, everyone complains about Craigslist but in the end tolerates it). A good way to distinguish between problem and nuisance is: Have they [the users] paid for a solution before, or spent a lot of time finding a solution or making a solution themselves]?


Guillaume Decugis
Guillaume Decugis

“Reach Escape Velocity through Lean Content Marketing” – Guillaume Decugis, Co-Founder & CEO,

  • ”Content marketing is practice of creating content relevant to your brand to gain greater visibility in search results and in social channels” – JD Lasica, Social Meida Biz
  • 4 strategies that lean content has worked for
    • Leverage SlideShare’s natural distribution to share your vision: Despite having a relatively small followers count,’s content on SlideShare has gathered significant views.
    • Guest post to get distribution for your idea. Identify blogs in your niche and segment which are interesting.
    • Answer Quora questions that related to your field.  Answering on Quora is like blogging for a known, existing and savvy audience, who already have questions.
    • Content curation.  Starting point, leverage what you already do (read), express your expertise & develop it, helps you identify original topics for content creation.  If you don’t know what content to create, start with curation.


Leo Wilder
Leo Wilder

“Monetization: How Buffer went from Idea to Revenue in 7 weeks & 50K users in 8 months” 

  • Leo shared three key stories/lessons from building Buffer so far.
    • Validate first, code later.  The story of Joel, cofounder of Buffer, validated his idea of Buffer before writing a line of backend code, by putting up a landing page and testing clicks on sign up and pricing.
    • Working with percentages.  When doing business development and getting press, Leo suggests anchoring expectations with percentages (out of 10 emails, expect ~20-40% response rate), to avoid frustration and improve resilience in mindset.  He talked about the mindset helped him write 350 guest posts in the first 9 months of running Buffer, and getting press every 3 weeks.
    • Experiment with pricing.  He encourages the audience to test frequently pricing plans and points what works for the product, while always be great to existing users.



Jameson Detweiler

Jameson Detweiler

“Launching and Getting Users” – Jameson Detweiler, Co-Founder & CEO, LaunchRock

  • Jameson told his journey of first 42 days of running LaunchRock, from StartupWeekend to launching on Day 5, getting on TechCrunch on Day 7 and campaign at SXSW on Day 42.
  • How to effectively launch and get users:
    • Be sexy [ beautifully designed product ], flirtatious [ LaunchRock’s traction is in part thanks to the wait between users’ signing up and the product is ready ], exotic [ build something new and unique ].
    • Be targeted and specific in the value proposition; that makes it easy for people to talk about your brand.
    • Be nice to press: do the related research, and make it easy for the press to write about you.
    • Launch and listen to customer feedback.
    • Be authentic when telling your story.


Notes on other panels:

About The Author

Michelle Sun is a product enthusiast and python developer.  She worked at Bump Technologies as a Product Data Analyst and graduated from the inaugural class of Hackbright Academy. Prior to Hackbright, she founded a mobile loyalty startup. She began her career as an investment research analyst. When she is not busy coding away these days, she enjoys blogging, practicing vinyasa yoga and reading about behavioral psychology. Follow her on Twitter at @michellelsun and her blog.