Remember the user, says Skype's Shomila Malik.
In Summary: Intelligent products today (like bots or search) incorporate knowledge, understanding and assistance. Over time they will need to include human attributes such as creativity, emotion and self-awareness.
But, as products progress through the stages, what was once considered intelligent becomes ordinary. Many of the 'intelligent’ products currently available have low usage despite their technical sophistication.
Products will only survive if they address real user needs. A so-called 'intelligent' product must combine attributes like assistance, understanding and creativity in a way that creates superpower benefits for its users.
Blake Bartlett discusses product best practices with Facebook’s Yoav Shapira and Craig Daniel of join.me.
In Summary: The unique skillset required for a successful Product Manager is hard to assess in an interview. Even if someone has done it before, they might not be a perfect fit at your company. You have to look through their history and walk through real-world scenarios.
Craig tends to value creative thinkers who can make decisions, iterate and 'move the ball' down the field. For him, it’s about diligence, focus and prioritisation.
Yoav has never hired a Product Manager directly from school and feels the role is too hard for recent graduates to grasp. His advice to prospective PMs? Go deep before going broad and patience is key. Don’t confine yourself only to Product Management at this stage. You can't be certain of the exact trajectory of your career.
Often, the industry decides, says Ellen Chisa.
In Summary: Being 'good' at product isn’t always about your skills or even your experience. It's as much about whether your employer is perceived as a strong 'product organisation.'
Success as a Product Manager may be due to your team or even the space you work in. Instead of trying to figure this out, most people in the industry rely on where you work when evaluating you.
Ellen had a tough time convincing others of her value when moving on from Microsoft. Her PM friends at Google never had this problem. This all changed when she joined Kickstarter. Suddenly, she was considered 'good' once more.
Ellen's advice? Try not to worry about if you’re 'good' right now. Focus instead on what you’ve learned and what you're going to learn next.
Axial's Giff Constable talks tactics.
In Summary: When Neo was acquired by Pivotal, new teams were constantly coming together, expectations were different and people became frustrated and disappointed at the lack of cohesion and progress.
Giff's solution? Implement a written team 'working agreement' that covered methods (like agile, recurring meetings and story writing) and responsibilities (like work in process limits, testing and deployment).
Every new team brought together had to review the document and agree on the items. In addition, teams were asked to periodically revisit it.
Although it didn't solve all personnel issues, the working agreement delivered instant results. Complaints from miscommunication and unmet expectations dropped significantly.
The best way to preserve a low-politics culture is to keep everything as visible and explicit as possible. This applies to working methods as much as it applies to company vision.
Anti-growth hacks, from UsabilityHour's Craig Morrison.
In Summary: With his tongue firmly wedged in his cheek, Craig lists the most effective ways to confuse, irritate and generally dissuade anyone from converting from your product's landing page.
Tried and tested tactics include writing obscure headlines that say nothing about what your product does, incorporating hi-res images that take forever to download and placing so calls to action on the page it's unclear what the users is being asked to do.
If you're spending money on any kind of marketing or advertising and your landing page doesn’t convince people to sign up, 100% of that effort and investment will be wasted.