Industry News

YouEye Raises $3M For Its Webcam-Based Usability Testing Service With Emotion Recognition | TechCrunch

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TechCrunch is a leading technology media property, dedicated to obsessively profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products, and breaking tech news.

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Kyle Henderson, CEO and Co-Founder at YouEye, is presenting tonight at Startup Product Talks Meetup at Atlassian in San Francisco.

Join us!

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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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The Silent Partner

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Jason Goldman helped build Google and Twitter into what they are today — but few outside of tech’s inner circle know his name . On shunning the spotlight in a star-obsessed industry.

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Jason Goldman Regarding “Product Managers”

He was explaining the product manager’s role, and not exactly overselling it.

  • You’re the one that types the meeting notes,
  • the one that is over-communicating the schedule,
  • the one that goes and takes the meeting with the person no one else wants to meet with,” he said of his early work in the field.
  • You’re just doing a lot of grunt work to make things run smoother.”

His first jobs were in user support, “in understanding how people use software,” he remembered. “It’s a great path into project management. You don’t have to be a designer, you don’t have to be an engineer.”

Product managers are sometimes said to oversee discrete components of a company, like feudal lords in a kingdom. But for many P.M.s, Goldman’s assessment is closer to reality.

“Everybody says the project manager is the C.E.O. of their project, and I think that’s total bullshit,” says Josh Elman, a former manager at Facebook and Twitter, the latter under Goldman.  “The real heart of a product manager is the guy who sits in the back of the raft with the oar.”

 “Goldman was much more interested in talking to people and finding the thing that would help them do whatever it was they were having trouble with.”
  • Troubleshooting behind the counter is perfect training for a product guy, overworked and unsung. If it sounds less plush than the chief executive’s chair, that’s because it is.
At strategy sessions, he said, the C.E.O. would articulate a broad but pithy vision, and sit down to applause.
  • “I’m the guy who stands up next, and says what does that mean in terms of what we’re building over the next six months,” he said.
  • That’s the gritty work of fielding questions, farming out assignments and reconciling disagreements.
  • “Your presentation doesn’t sound as good. Your presentation doesn’t have grand, inspiring goals,” Goldman went on.
  • “You’re the guy who stands up and says, next week we’re going to fix a bunch of bugs.
  • You’re the person that’s managing the fallout from the grand vision.”
Product managers, in this view, are agnostic to the idea, so long as they’re assiduous in its completion. They’re almost the inverse of how we conceptualize the ideal C.E.O.
  • “He wasn’t the idea guy, as maybe some product people are,” Williams told me of Goldman.
  • “He’s not necessarily defining what we need to do, he’s just making sure it got done. I don’t know that it’s a typical relationship, but it’s probably not super uncommon,” Williams added.
In a boardroom crowded with idea guys, where “the very notion of what the product was would evolve,” said Goldman, “owning the whatness of the product” might sound humdrum, but it was by most accounts critical.
…humility: a rare quality in chief executives, but vital in product management
 Shepherding products to fruition is like working your way up to Bowser, protracted, hard-fought and without many hosannas.
“The industry’s very focused on telling hero narratives,” he told me.
It’s not that I think that it’s bad for people to have a public persona.
The part that I think is damaging, or unhelpful, is when it seems like there are these visionary C.E.O.s who come up with genius ideas, and then it’s just building a team that allows for those ideas to come forth into the world.”
Williams tends to agree. “I don’t want to say founders are overrated, but there are certainly a lot of people who are underrated. And Jason was definitely in that camp,” he said.
 “Startups are run by people who do what’s necessary at the time it’s needed. A lot of time that’s unglamorous work. A lot of times that’s not heroic work. Is that heroic? Is that standing on a stage in a black turtleneck, in front of 20,000 people talking about the future of phones?
But that’s how companies are built. That person who did that for the iPhone launch at Apple, we don’t know who he is. All we know is that Steve Jobs came up with the iPhone. But he didn’t ship it. The person who bought the donuts did.”

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Blueseed Sets Sail 12 Miles Off Shore of Silicon Valley

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: PALO ALTO, Calif. (April 1, 2013) — Blueseed, the ambitious venture that has been working on launching a ship for startup entrepreneurs in international waters off the coast of Silicon Valley, has finally set sail.

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Interesting that they release this press on April first…!

  • Blueseed One accommodates 50 entrepreneurs, satisfying Minimum Viable Product requirements in the novel category of seafaring startup communities
  • Blueseed is a startup community located on a ship 12 miles off the shore of Silicon Valley, in international waters outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
  • Future plans for the community include launching a reality show to compete with Shark Tank. Blueseed’s competitive advantage? The sharks are real.
  • Listen to Dan Dascalescu on the Global Product Management Talk discussing The Need For Visa-free Technology Incubators And Why Seasteading Is A Viable Solution

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When TED Lost Control of Its Crowd – Harvard Business Review

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Business management magazine, blogs, case studies, articles, books, and webinars from Harvard Business Review, addressing today’s topics and challenges in business management.

Global Product Management Talk‘s insight:

The comments are as valuable as the article (or more), i.e.


* "when we foster relationships with open minds and scientific rigor, good things can happen." Kevin Folta via Emily McManus


* What we need is a general evolution in critical thought. That will take some time.


* this new social and digital era (actually, life) is not perfect, is it? It’s just … real, connected, and being present to what is.


* people who are charismatic and persuasive are celebrated by the media even when they are wrong, because a good story sells, and real scientists tend to be nuanced and boring. jisaacstone


* you can avoid these problems in your own business by taking the time to think through which functions should have more openness/autonomy and which functions should have more control/protection.  Lex Sisney


* Only once we become a society that welcomes and values learning, more than knowing will we really be able to progress forward.  Hbksloss


* "Process not just product."

Yes, when I look at the companies that had advantages in the 80s, they were ones who had a lock in on suppliers, land, capital, etc. When I look at the companies that are winning today, they have a lock on reinvention and process (Amazon being one of the best examples of this).



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Steve Jobs Had It Wrong: Why You Should Look To Consumers For Product Innovation

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It has long been asserted (famously, by Steve Jobs) that customers can’t tell you what your next product should be. Companies create and customers consume.

StartUP Product‘s insight:

To be competitive, brands need to look outward and cultivate the communities of creative customers that are shaping the future of their products.

Developers have been using APIs and open source software for many years to increase the pace of innovation. Consumer product companies can mimic these more open systems. Just look at companies like Sifteo or Lapka that have created physical products connected to software that are designed to be remixed into new applications.

Bottom Line for extending engagement and product narrative:

People embrace what they influence, so more open and transparent brands will become the most loved and talked about as well.

Questions for discussion:

How can you enable customer influence and manage user creativity without losing control and focus on development cycles and roadmap…?

Is it possible to nurture creative customer communities in parallel with developer communities?  Remember User Groups that had love/hate for the developers?

How do you enable creative consumers without canabalizing next versions?

What are the most effective tools for managing crowdsourced feedback and ideas that enable more than marketing content and engagement incentives?

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