Product Guy

Maker of digital products

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What I’m Reading June 19, 2016

10 Psychological Techniques for Engaging Your Users

Came across this article in my ongoing search for metrics around if and how much Easter Eggs increase Engagement. Ten solid recommendations around implementing the first step in Nir Eyal’s four step cycle in Hooked, the trigger. It’s also shocking to find-out that 65% of a sample population would shock someone electrically if they were told to do so by the correct authority figure. The comments on achievement are insightful and can be applied to both B2C or B2B site.

The Experience is the Product

Peter Merholz talk and post reminds us that in front of all the great technology and best business plans is the user experience. I’m also a believe that teams shouldn’t be organized around a code base but rather around a part of the experience as Merholz points out. This is usually illustrated in the marketplace model where there’s a team built around the buyer side and one around the seller side. This model can also be effectively applied to any other site such as a publisher where the teams might be aligned around editorial, video & photos, social and advertising. The other note that Merholz touches is that design is the key ingredient to effecting desired behaviour. For tactical examples building in the desired behaviour see the article above.

The Right Way to Use Analytics Isn’t for Planning

As one of the commenters notes this article talks about an idea that’s been around for awhile, data analysis tells us what’s happened rather than what’s going to happen and in a world of increasingly rapid change past trends are less likely to be signs of future predictors. More than ever there are constably changing perspectives from business leaders and data analysis is the tool that can support or refute these perspectives from being actioned. This point is well articulated by Jeremy Stanley in his post below, Doing Data Science Right – Your Most Common Questions Answered. Why I’ve included this read is that the authors of this article and Stanley point to the need to have people within the analytics/data science/business intelligence team that can work with a lot of ambiguity and still provide actionable recommendations. Great analytics teams produce the weekly traffic report but their real value is providing the insight on the perspective of that week, whether supporting it or not.

What I’m Reading June 12, 2016

An incumbent’s guide to digital disruption

Largely a retelling of Clayton Christensen’s the Innovator’s Dilemma this piece provides some good examples of how publishers struggle with the coming on the online era and how some embraced it despite the early signs that this attitude would not protect their core business. There is a good framework provided to determine where the description lifecycle is in a given industry and where your organization might fall. A quick read to help us remember that complacency is the chair of demise.

The Key Ingredient to Disrupting with Machine Learning

Tom Tunguz looks at what the key ingredients are for machine learning and artificial Intelligence, specifically advanced algorithms and data sets. His hypothesis is that Google and Facebook have pretty much corned the market for B2C in both these areas but there is still lots of greenfield for B2B in this space. Inspiring read for those focused on the B2B space.

The Truth About Customer Experience

This article provides a good framework for how to review and how to improve your customer experience. Although written from the standpoint of the services industry the methodology can still be effectively applied in the online industry. A key take away, remembering to always ensure all the participants are at the table when reviewing practices as you never know where an insight might come from and an inspired simple solution. There are also some management organizational alignment recommendations to scale the customer improvement process. One bank required board members and executives to call five dissatisfied customers a month. That’s getting to know your customer from the top down.

Drew Houston of Dropbox: Figure Out the Things You Don’t Know

A quick read with the founder of Dropbox in Q&A format where he talks about the importance of digging into what you don’t know and always be reading. Which is of course why you’re here.

What I’m Reading June 5, 2016

The Product Manager’s Guide to Continuous Delivery and DevOps

A straightforward look at what is meant by continuous delivery by Suzie Price at Mind the Product. Suzie outline the differences between Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Continuous Deployment and DevOps. Believe it or not all organizations are not building software with the DevOps mindset and my office has just started started down the path of Continuous Integration with the end gail of being fully DevOps. There’s also some great additional reading at the end of the article.

Startup and Pendulum Swings Through Ideas, Time, Fame and Money

This podcast is part of the Andeerson Horowitz a16z series and features Marc Andeerson and Balaji Srinivasan talking about everything from why a VC would invest in a startup to whether or not the Stanford student audience they we speaking to should stay in school. On the note of why a VC would invest in a startup Marc offers the view that there are three elements that VCs look at and usually each VC falls into one of these buckets as to why they’d invest in a copy. The three being market, product and team. Listening to this podcast is like getting a free ticket to see game seven of the NBA playoffs. Court side.

The Broken Window Theory In Design and Product Development

Drawing a parallel between the theory that permitting petty crime in a neighbourhood will beget more violent crime Tobias van Schneider discusses how permitting shortcuts to meet delivery dates will beget poor quality product. Most of us have seen this to be true as sites grow in traffic and age only to repeat the reframe ‘we’ll fix that in the next release’ so as to meet a delivery date. It reminds me of the story that Marty Cagan told in his book Inspired where eBay was almost brought to it’s knees in the early days because the organization was focused on growth rather than growth and scalability. This could prove to be a good analogy when selling quality together with speed to executives.

Mary Meeker – Internet Trends 2016

Okay, this is likely included in everyone’s week wrap-up or if you haven’t already read this I suggest you click-thru now. I call it the annual Super Bowl of the internet and Meeker provides not only great insight into online trends but also a good overview of the state of the economy. In fact some of the most interesting information I found this year is where the global GDP in the last 6 of 8 years has been below 20 year averages and the commodity price index is at its lowest level since the year 2000. Also shocking, on the advertising side is Google’s share of the $60B in US online ad spend is close to $30B or 50%.

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