2013 Product Powers Hall of Fame & Shame

Product Culture

We're now accepting 10-second nominations for the 2013 Product Powers Hall of Fame and Shame. Even if your loved/loathed product or service isn't new this past year, if you discovered it, fell in love with it, or developed a mutual enmity in 2013, nominate it here. What is that, you ask? As before, the goal is to assemble the " top product triumphs and gaffes of the past year as nominated by you. "

Setting Goals: Fall 2013

Product Manager in Heels

Looking forward to Fall 2013! As summer wraps up (sad, I know) I can't help but think of some of the things I am hoping to accomplish over the next few months!

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The Most Underrated Product Management Skill: Influence Without Authority

Sachin Rekhi

Product managers require a diverse set of skills to excel at their role, including design, technical, analytical, communication, and more. Yet there is one skill that I find is often underrated but critical for the success of a product manager. And that is the skill of influence without authority.

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How To Build Your Audience Well Before Launching Your Product

Sachin Rekhi

Most entrepreneurs assume that the marketing and audience building phase of their startup begins post product launch. Yet I’ve seen some startups successfully build their audience well before they reach this point.

Monetizing Analytics Features: Why Data Visualizations Will Never Be Enough

2013) demonstrated an unmet need in the market for visually stunning dashboards. MONETIZING ANALYTICS FEATURES: Why Data Visualizations. Will Never Be Enough. Go beyond basic embedded dashboards to diferentiate your. application and maximize the value of embedded analytics.

The Product Manager as the Quarterback of the Team

Sachin Rekhi

I usually summarize the role of the product manager as the CEO of their product. But I had a great conversation with a fellow product manager a couple of weeks ago who was telling me what he loved most about being a product manager was being the quarterback of the team.

Vision 107

Get to the User Goal

Pragmatic Marketing

Agile developers want user stories; product managers want to bring back stories from the market about users. What we really need, however, is to understand user goals. User stories are one of the most misunderstood and misapplied artifacts when implementing Agile development. At first glance, they look like requirements—and it can be very easy for a team to sit in a room and crank out a bunch of them when under the gun to generate work for the next sprint.

How Am I Going To Move My Product Forward Today?

Sachin Rekhi

The role of a product manager is a broad one and there are variety of tasks you could be involved with each day.

Top 10 Posts on Product Management from the Industry's Best

Sachin Rekhi

I thought I'd follow up my recent post on What is Product Management? with a summary of ten of the most informative and inspiring posts I've come across on the role from some of the greatest product leaders in the industry.

What is Product Management?

Sachin Rekhi

The role of product management in technology firms is a critically important one that is often misunderstood.

The Inputs to a Great Product Roadmap

Sachin Rekhi

I’m often asked how I think about coming up with the product roadmap for an upcoming release. To help answer this, I thought I’d share how my team recently went about thinking through the roadmap for an upcoming product we’re working on. Analysis of existing usage metrics.

3 Reasons Better Products Don't Always Win

Sachin Rekhi

One lesson entrepreneurs often learn the hard way is that even if they build a product that is better than the established players in the space, it doesn’t always result in them winning the market.

The Boundless Opportunities in Business Productivity Apps

Sachin Rekhi

The modern day business has come a long way in leveraging technology to enable global-scale collaboration, real-time communication, data-driven decision making, and so much more.

Evaluating a Product Manager's Portfolio

Sachin Rekhi

It's customary in the design world to evaluate a designer's existing portfolio as part of the interview process to get a better understanding of their work and the process they leverage to develop their designs.

How I Learn: By Carefully Studying the Products I Love

Sachin Rekhi

I’m often asked by fellow or aspiring product managers how best to master the craft. They are inevitably looking for classes or books they might read to pick up the basics of product management and product design.

Books 78

The Many Ways YouTube Encourages Content Discovery

Sachin Rekhi

YouTube sets the gold standard on creating an experience built from the ground up to strongly encourage content discovery.

Product Managers need to help stakeholders define the problems as opposed to solutions

All About Product Management

As a Product Manager I’m responsible for ensuring that stakeholders express their requests in terms of business problems as opposed to a pet feature, so that their real needs are met and do not get lost sight of when backlog items are aggregated into common themes as the product team figure out the best solution.

Blog 55

Weekly Digest Emails as an Effective Engagement Mechanic

Sachin Rekhi

I’m a firm believer that despite the growth of social networks and messaging app alternatives, email is far from dead as an important communication channel. Usage continues to grow with Google reporting over 425 million active users on Gmail and Microsoft with over 400 million on Outlook.com.

Why Write Requirements

Tyner Blain

There is a lot of advice out there for how to write requirements. There is not as much discussion about why to write requirements. Spend some time thinking about why you write requirements before you make decisions about how to write your requirements. Why Write Requirements?

My Favorite Product Management Tools

Sachin Rekhi

I thought I’d share my top ten favorite tools for helping me accomplish my day-to-day responsibilities as a product manager. These tools fall into three categories: collaboration, user feedback, and analytics. Collaboration.

How a Product Manager Can Listen to Their Users Every Day

Sachin Rekhi

In the ever evolving world of web and mobile products, it’s incredibly important to have a constant pulse on the sentiment, needs, and frustrations of your users.

Is Agile Really Cheaper?

Tyner Blain

There are several ways to answer the question “is agile cheaper than waterfall?” ” Here are two of my favorites: “It depends. Agile done well is cheaper, as long as you measure correctly.” ” “You’re asking the wrong question.

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Mastering Effective Communication as a Product Manager

Sachin Rekhi

Product managers spend much of their time communicating ideas, plans, designs, and tasks to their teams.

The Value Equation of Productivity Applications

Sachin Rekhi

My passion has always been in building productivity apps for consumers and small businesses. The productivity space is a tough one though with thousands of applications but very few breakout success stories.

How I use Mint, Personal Capital, and Wealthfront to Manage my Finances

Sachin Rekhi

I’m a big believer in Marc Andreessen’s view that software is eating the world and more and more of our daily lives will be improved by technology running brilliant software. One sector in which we are already seeing this shift is personal finance.

Process for Prioritising the Product Backlog

All About Product Management

I’ve spent the past year bringing a new product to market, as a consultant Head of Product for a start-up business unit that’s owned by a multi-national. I had the opportunity to pretty much start at the beginning: pulling together the vision, setting up a product council/steering group, talking to users about the initial concepts and shape the overall product direction. After launching V1 of the product I ran a number of prioritisation meetings with key business stakeholders.

The Best Startups Minimize Their Dimensions of Innovation

Sachin Rekhi

The best startups choose a main dimension or two of innovation and invest significant effort to truly differentiate themselves from the rest of the market along that dimension.

Considerations in Designing a Developer Platform

Sachin Rekhi

The meteoric rise of developer platforms over the last seven years has been impressive to watch and a major boon to the social and mobile ecosystems.

Three Important Criteria for Evaluating Your Next Startup

Sachin Rekhi

When evaluating a startup idea, it's important to leverage the collective wisdom of what makes a startup successful, including evaluating the market opportunity, understanding how your product will significantly improve upon what already exists, evaluating the team's strengths, understanding your user acquisition strategy, and critiquing the business model. These are all critical criteria that are indeed important in understanding the potential for success of your next venture. However, in addition to these standard criteria, I'd like to suggest three additional ones that have become extremely important in my own evaluation of startup ideas. Passion. I cannot underscore enough the importance of passion when picking your startup idea. Startups are undoubtedly tough and there will most certainly be rough patches in your startup journey. And if the only reason you are working on a specific idea is because you thought it might make a good business, then it'll be extremely difficult to recover from these low points and have the right level of grit and persistence needed to make your startup successful. The extremely high number of startup "pivots" these days in my mind is a reflection of this exact issue. However, if your idea is a true passion for the entire founding team, then even the most insurmountable challenges will be tractable. When your work feels like your true calling, you'll most certainly give it 110% and not "pivot" at the first sight of potential failure. Why Now. Gus Tai from Trinity Ventures taught me to always ask this when evaluating a startup idea: why is now the right time to pursue this opportunity? Maybe it's because new technology has emerged to make your product possible. Maybe it's a broader industry trend or change in consumer behavior that makes this opportunity now attractive. Or maybe new user acquisition channels have emerged to enable you to easily reach the target customers of your product offering. Whatever the reason, it's best to understand what has changed in the ecosystem to enable you to be successful right now. And if you can't think of any reason why this idea didn't exist before, it's usually prudent to dig deeper as you are not likely the first to have thought of this idea and there may be reasons you don't yet understand for why your idea may not be successful. Unfair Advantage. The cost of starting a technology business has significantly decreased in the past decade, making it trivial for anyone to take a supposedly good idea and copy it. Think of the thousands of Groupon clones that were quickly created after Groupon's initial success. What then becomes important is not just your initial entry into the market, but how your startup will continue to have an unfair advantage in the space, creating a moat between you and all the would-be competitors. Your unfair advantage could be specific expertise on your team that is uniquely capable of addressing the problem space. Or access to core IP that cannot be easily replicated. Or even first mover advantage with quickly built up network efforts that are difficult to recreate. Whatever it is, make sure an unfair advantage exists for why your team will be able to dominate the market.

The most important words in product management

Product Management and Strategic Marketing

This blog is in memory of Dave Fulton, a dear colleague and a fellow BPMA member who passed away two years ago from Leukemia. Dave was a product manager whose blog was called “Fulton Ventures” One of his last blogs discussed the two most important words in product management: Why? and No!

Product Management needs to tackle objections before they are raised at steering group meetings.

All About Product Management

As a product manager I need to tackle objections before they arise at the product steering group meeting so that key decisions are made in a timely fashion. The smart product manager will have individually briefed the members of the product council prior to his/her presentation to learn of any issues and resolve them, so he's not caught by surprise."

Presentation: What is Product Management?

Sachin Rekhi

I recently gave this presentation on product management at LinkedIn that I thought was worth sharing more broadly. Product management in my mind boils down to owning the vision, design, and execution of your product. I start the presentation by detailing what it means to own each of these areas of your product and their associated key responsibilities. But to be a truly great product manager you must go beyond excelling at each of these functional responsibilities.

How is SaaS Changing Product Management – A Research Thesis

Tyner Blain

Paddy Barrett in Ireland is preparing his Master’s thesis on Product Management and would like to interview (USA) state-side product managers for his primary research. It would be awesome if you could help him, and help us all. My Connection.

Making Connected a Successful Acquisition

Sachin Rekhi

Last week we announced the launch of LinkedIn Contacts , a smarter way to stay in touch with your most important relationships, based on the acquisition of Ada and I’s startup Connected by LinkedIn. The launch received positive feedback not only for being a better way to manage your professional relationships, but equally for being a successful acquisition story. I received the following note from a fellow entrepreneur and many like it: “Congrats on the launch of LinkedIn Contacts!

Lessons Learned from Connected

Sachin Rekhi

As it’s been over a year since the acquisition of Connected by LinkedIn , I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the most important lessons I learned as a founder of Connected. Connected has been by far the most rewarding, successful, and fun startup adventure I’ve had to date, full of experiences I hope to repeat as well as mistakes that I hope to avoid in the future. The importance of complementary skills amongst founders.