Product Strategy Means Saying No | Inside Intercom

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StartUP Product‘s insight:

When selecting features, identifying bad ideas and killing them isn’t the hard part.  Identifying good or even great ideas and still saying ‘no’ because they’re not the right fit for the product is.

Check out this amusing and practical article, with 12 arguments you’ll find you have to defend against as a product manager.  My personal favorite:  But it’ll only take a few minutes.

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Engineering Where the Most Opportunity Exists >

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This blog on “Design Software” is not going to be about a review of what exists, but rather in what I feel is missing in the current offerings from so…

StartUP Product‘s insight:

– The best chance for a product to be developed to strike the balance between obtaining the highest performance, lowest cost, and any other requirement exist at the earliest stages of development.
– The ability to consider multiple concepts and measure/simulate performance against requirements early, i.e. before any detail design activities begin, maximizes the opportunity for a product to be successful.
– In other words: the best concept yields the best product.

So if the best potential for success is in the concept development phase, where are the conceptual engineering software tools?

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To Invent Like Edison, Learn to Collaborate/ Design News

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A new book by Thomas Edison’s great-grandniece takes on the notion that he was a lone-wolf inventor and replaces it with an image of a man who ascribed great value to the ideas of colleagues.

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Edison “viewed collaboration as the beating heart of his laboratories, a sustaining resource that fueled the knowledge assets of his sprawling innovation empire.”

Encourage diverse viewpoints

  • In a real collaboration, there should be a focus on learning from others and leveraging their strengths
  • it’s very important that they learn someone else’s language and see the problem from their perspective (cross-functional)

Consider at least three options

  • consider multiple options

Always consider the customer

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Process Is Process — Product Design

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Do you know what this image is? It’s a screen shot from an old game called Katamari Damacy. When you play this game, you control what is ess…

StartUP Product‘s insight:

byHenry Modisett in Product Design @henrymodis

Process Is Processproduct designers with good process…

  • absorb all the seemingly unrelated and arbitrary things around them and allow them to evolve their design process
  • collect ideas and methodologies so that they can apply a high-level interdisciplinary philosophy to modern product design

Design process is about applying different ways of thinking:

  • The Artist — Design is about creating

I want to be invested in my work on a cosmic level and believe that every product decision I make means something not only to me but to the user.

This conviction should always be the core of design process: Create because you love to create.

  • The Engineer — Design is about solving problems

The ability to create something beautiful comes out of the ability to craft it because understanding the process of building allows us to innovate. Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus art movement.

  • The Businessman — Design is about selling

A product is something that satisfies a want or a need. It’s much easier to find one small market problem and attack it, than try to attack 10 at the same time.

  • The Allegorist — Design is about telling about stories

Every time a user interacts with a product, their experience becomes a story. From their first interaction with your brand to them signing up and paying. When designing the user experience for a product from scratch it is good to frame it like a real story.

  • The Architect — Design is about creating spaces

We should learn how to create spaces to guide and encourage behavior. The point is that every space has attributes that form behavior.

Process is Process

Design process is about how we think and function. We should always try to apply different methodologies and philosophies to our own work because we are changing the world. It’s our responsibility to do good work. Let process be process and create something.

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Minimum Viable Product vs. Minimum Delightful Product | Startup Blender

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Minimum Viable Product revisited

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Mentioned on Global Product Management Talk discussion with @NickCoster regarding Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and Minimum Marketable Product (MMP) distinction

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Cognitive Overhead, Or Why Your Product Isn’t As Simple As You Think | TechCrunch

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Editor’s Note: David Lieb is co-founder and CEO of Bump, creators of the popular app that lets people share contact information, photos, and other content by bumping their phones together. Bump has been downloaded more than 130 million times.

StartUP Product‘s insight:

  • mass market is comprised mostly of people who sit in the middle of the tech-adopter bell curve, and since they aren’t product designers, computer programmers, and tech bloggers, they require an even higher degree of simplicity.
  • product builders should first and foremost minimize the Cognitive Overhead of their products, even though it often comes at the cost of simplicity in other areas.

How To make Cognitively Simple Products

  1. Put your user in the middle of your flow. If they are part of the flow, they have a better vantage point to see what’s going on.
  2. Give people real-time feedback.
  3. let your user understand and appreciate what your service is doing for them.
  4. Test on the young, old … and drunk.
  5. Let people use your product, and then ask them to tell you what it does.

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#ProdMgmtTalk on Human Centered Design with Chris Pacione, CEO, LUMA Insititute

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Chris Pacione, CEO, LUMA Institute, Will Discuss The Practice Of Human-Centered Design For Preparing People, Teams, And Entire Organizations To Increase Innovation

Human Centered Design: Chris Pacione, CEO, LUMA Insititute 04/08 by ProdMgmtTalk | Blog Talk Radio

Human Centered Design: Chris Pacione, CEO, LUMA Insititute 04/08 by ProdMgmtTalk | Blog Talk Radio


Monday, April 8, 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.
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Curated Content:

The Global Product Management Talk features an expert guest discussing pre-posted questions with Cindy F. Solomon, co-hosts, and Twitter participants broadcast live over BlogTalkRadio. The transcript of Tweets and podcast are available following the event for on-demand consumption on the web, iTunes, Google Play and mobile devices. More information available at Get reminders and listen live by following

What is #ProdMgmtTalk?
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Want to reach target audience of Product Professionals? Sponsor Global Product Management Talk!

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Our format: we post questions Q1, Q2, Q3 Please answer using A1, A2, A3

Questions for Discussion:
PreQ: Please introduce yourself, where you are tweeting from & your involvement with #prodmgmt #prodmgmttalk

Q1 Are you someone who strives to maintain the status quo? Or are you someone who wants to make things better?

Q2 Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why? Why now?

Q3 If so, do you consider yourself innovative? You know, fluent in it. Do you consider yourself good at it, something you have enough expertise in, in order to apply this expertise consistently and successfully most of the time?

Q4 How many people would say they know what it even means to be competent in innovation? If someone, or some organization on the whole is good at innovation, what *exactly* are they good at?

Q5 Do you consider yourself a designer? Why? Why not?

About Chris Pacione

As a Co-Founder and CEO of LUMA Institute, Chris leads a highly skilled, multidisciplinary team of practitioners located around the world who are passionate about preparing organizations to be more innovative. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of design and innovation in the US, Europe and Asia and is co-author of the book, “Innovating for People”.

Prior to LUMA Institute, Chris co-founded BodyMedia, Inc., one of the early pioneers in wearable health monitoring, and headed up experience design and customer marketing.

Chris’s work has been cited in numerous national and international publications including Business Week, the NY times, Wired Magazine and Fast Company as well as several popular books about design and innovation including “In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World” and “The Design of Things to Come: How Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Products.”

He holds several IDEA Gold Medal Awards sponsored by Business Week and the Industrial Designers Society of America and has been awarded numerous US and EU patents for his work.
Pittsburgh, PA
Email: chris at

#ProdMgmtTalk with Rich Mironov, Startup Product Executive & Author

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Rich Mironov, Seasoned Product Executive, Start-up Entrepreneur, Author, Technologist, And Founder Of Product Camp Silicon Valley
Rich Mironov, Seasoned Product Executive, Start-up Entrepreneur, Author, Technologist, And Founder Of Product Camp Silicon Valley

Rich Mironov, Startup Product Executive & Author 03/25 by ProdMgmtTalk | Blog Talk Radio

Rich Mironov, Seasoned Product Executive, Start-up Entrepreneur, Author, Technologist, And Founder Of Product Camp Silicon Valley, Discusses The Evolution of Product Camps, Product Management, And His Next Book

Listen to internet radio with ProdMgmtTalk on Blog Talk Radio

Silicon Valley is bubbling up with people who have the right ideas and are seeking out customers in contrast to an engineering driven approach of “build it and they will come.” Rich Mironov says “Great product management thinking is to ask “How do we get urgently needed validated ideas and product concepts that customers want to buy before we get down the road in product development?”

“I’m looking forward to a free-wheeling session with passionately opinionated members of the product management community to talk about what’s transpired in the world of product management since the last time I was on the show a year ago,” shares Rich.


Key Takeaways from the Design Thinking and Rapid Prototyping Panel at Startup Product Summit SF

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By Michelle Sun

I had the privilege to attend the first Startup Product Summit in SF on Feb 7, 2013. It was a great lineup of speakers and a full room of buzzing energy and great conversation.  Without further adieu, I’d like to share some key learnings of each panel.

Please let me know if I omitted or made any errors in the references. Credit for the good stuff is entirely the speakers’ (link to twitter handles are included on each name).

Turning Mediocre Products into Awesome Products” – Jonathan Smiley, Partner & Design Lead, ZURB

  • Ideation and iteration can ”turn mediocre products into awesome products”.
  • Discussed a full spectrum of research from market-driven (focus group, survey) to user-driven (remote teaching, usability teaching)
  • Importance of sketching, a lot, aim for speed and volume, then critique
  • Advice to the audience: ”do 10 more sketches ( more ideation is always better ), build 1 more prototype, get 1 more round of feedback, ask 5 more customers”

“Being a UX Team of One” – Vince Baskerville, Product, Lithium & Co-Founder, TripLingo

1. Internal politics is a common challenge as a UX team/professional.  Learn to manage expectation of different internal stakeholders and keep everyone in the loop.

2. Don’t listen to what customers are saying.  Users’ claims are often unreliable.  See what they are doing.  Understand the underlying issue.

“Validate Your MVP on Paper” – Poornima Vijayashanker, Founder & CEO, BizeeBee & Femgineer

– 2 Reasons MVP Fail
1. Fail to figure out how to provide a simple value proposition that differentiates your product from your competition
2. Fail to figure out who their early adopter are.

– Early adopters are people who aren’t using the competitor’s product. Don’t want to take time to switch over.

– Steps on usability testing

  1. Explain the problem. What you are testing. How they are helping. Get them excited about the idea.
  2. Set expectations. Make them comfortable.
  3. Communicate intention (what exactly are you testing and specific feedback you are looking for).
  4. Thank them for their time. Follow up regularly.

Poornima’s slides are available here.

“Everyone’s Customers Are Wrong” – Evan Hamilton, Head of Community, UserVoice

  • Data doesn’t tell the whole story.  Analytics are bandaids because we can’t watch our customers.
  • People don’t tell the whole story.  Identify who the users are, where the feedback are from.  Are they: paying/freeloaders? Using product in the intended way? Using main features? Early adopters / ‘tech fanatics’ (who are not likely to stay on a product for the long haul)?
  • Combine data and customer stories.  Customer feedback / feature suggestion usually leads from a deeper issue.  Find out what the actual problem is by understanding the underlying need.
  • Don’t lose track of your creative mind by getting lost in data rat-hole.  Don’t chase 1% when you can get 15%.  Not just A/B, but try something crazy.  Try big bold things along with incremental fine-tunes.

“Designing for Everyone: The Craft of Picking or Killing a Concept” –Miki Setlur, Product Designer, Evernote

  • Everyone use product in many different ways.  A useful strategy is to segment users into business, partners (e.g., app stores for Evernote’s case) and users.
  • Figure out what each segment cares the most about: Business / Partners – acquisition, retention, engagement, revenue.  Users – being faster, better, happier.
  • Case study on how Evenote’s design process stroke balance between business goals (monetizing) while being sensitive to user experience and goals (finding things faster).

Other relevant points 

How to access willingness to pay during pre-product interviews.  Get the first dollar within the trial period.  Provide clear value proposition from the get-go.

How to get good feedback.  Be specific in what feedback are you looking for.  Instead of asking in general ‘what do you think of the prototype’, ask whether they are confused on what stage, what was confusing.

Tips on prototyping. Put more emphasis on story telling than illustrating.
For remote testing, use keynote as prototyping tool, screencast the keynote.

On the tension between product vs. business goals in roadmapping a product.  Early stage products make sense to focus on product.  Once reached product market fit, it makes sense to lead with business goals such as, acquiring, converting, retention customers.
Also mentioned was a tool called Impact Mapping.

Read on:

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.