After years working on wireframes and prototypes, it's exciting to design a product that lives inside a conversation, says x.ai's Dennis Mortensen.
In Summary: Amy is a bot that schedules meetings via email. For many, she is the first genuine AI product we've encountered.
Discussing the challenges his team encountered bringing Amy to life, Dennis discovered how ambiguous, counter-intuitive and downright dishonest we can be when interacting with our fellow human beings. The team spent a year defining the concept of time and most of their funding annotating the data they had painstakingly collected.
Next was the skills challenge. Instead of hiring a UI/UX designer, Dennis created the role of AI Interaction Designer to own the 'voice' of Amy by crafting dialogue models, scenarios and emotions such as empathy and politeness.
Finally there was the issue of 'fallback.' What should Amy say when she simply doesn't know? Overall, a fascinating glimpse into the PM challenges of the products of the future.
Don't get caught in the present, says William Gill.
In Summary: We live in the present but the future always comes around quicker than we think and great product teams don’t get stuck iterating their current product forever. What new technology might change the way you do business or build your product?
William uses the 3 Horizon Model to evaluate whether he is spending enough time thinking about the future. For any given product, PMs should spend around 25% of their time maintaining the product they have in the market right now. This is Horizon One.
Good PMs spend around 65% of their time working on the second horizon: the next product and at least 10% of their time thinking about the longer-term future: Horizon Three.
Where are we going, what are we trying to achieve, what’s coming next? PMs can only choose what to focus on today by thinking about it in terms of the future.
Anshu Sharma's Stack Fallacy is more relevant than ever for Product Managers.
In Summary: The history of product innovation shows us that companies who ignore the user in favour of the technology fail. They fail because they fall victim to what is known as the ‘stack fallacy.’
First coined by Anshu Sharma, it describes how companies overstate the importance of their layer of the technology stack and overlook the importance of the layers higher up the stack, particularly the one that touches the user.
Stack fallacy caused telcos to dismiss WhatsApp as a simple app that sat above their layer of the stack and meant that Google struggled to build a compelling social network despite owning our email graph and our interest data via search.
It's far easier to innovate down the stack as you yourself are a natural customer of the lower layers so know what users need. Success in any given market always comes down to the same fundamental question “Who understands the user better?” Knowing what to build is 100 times more important than knowing how.
Beware the comfort of numbers, says TradeGecko's Evgeny Lazarenko.
In Summary: Just because something has a number attached to it, doesn’t always make it true, valid, or relevant. Data has become the opium of modern tech companies and it's easy to cripple ourselves with information that doesn’t matter.
Contrary to popular belief, retention rate isn’t as useful a metric as churn rate. It’s good to be aware of it but it’s far less actionable, compared to other metrics.
Having high Net Promoter Score is meaningless in itself. A recent analysis found no support for the claim that NPS is a reliable indicator of a company’s ability to grow.
If you want to use data right, experiment with different types of analysis for different features of your product, in different stages of its life cycle.
Understanding the science of happiness helps us design products that elicit emotion, says Sachin Rekhi.
In Summary: The science of happiness tells us it's the result of 4 chemicals being released into our brains. These chemicals are dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin.
Dopamine is the exciting feeling we get when we are about to be rewarded. Serotonin flows when we feel confident and take pride in our work. Oxytocin is released when we feel trust, it's also released in response to the physical touch of a loved one. Laughing and crying releases small bursts of endorphin, as does physical distress.
How can we leverage this knowledge to build more delightful products? By helping users feel a sense of accomplishment for completing tasks, we can trigger dopamine. Likewise, social networks can trigger the release of serotonin as our sense of importance increases when we get likes and our network expands.