Hacking Product Management

50872 2020-03-20 16:09

How to define, design, and sell a product that people like to use? How to manage self and a team to deliver results effectively? Here are the answers from industry leaders and renowned professors.

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  • Product Management
    • Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products? - Habits make you do things like no brainers. Businesses that know how to cultivate customer habits have a significant competitive advantage over others. The Hook Model teaches us how to form a user habit in four steps: trigger, action, variable reward and investment.
    • Telemetry Product Management Framework - A key role of product management is to make sure product development efforts are focused. The telemetry spreadsheet helps you visualize the roadmap, balance resource allocation, and hence keeps the project on track.
    • The Hierarchy of Engagement - To maximize the chances of building an enduring non-transactional customer company, we should build enduring engagement in three levels - growing engaged users, retaining users, and self-perpetuating.
    • Elements of Value - When customers evaluate a product or a service, they weigh the perceived value against the asking price. Products and services deliver fundamental elements of value that address four kinds of needs: functional, emotional, life-changing, and social impact.
    • MMRs, neutralizers, differentiators - There are three types of product features: MMRs, neutralizers, and differentiators. Customers often provide feedback on MMRs and neutralizers. The product management team must take responsibility for reinforcing the startup’s differentiator.
    • The 9x Effect - Companies often overweight their new product by a factor of 3 while consumers overweight the old product’s benefits by a factor of 3. So you have to be 9x better than the existing alternatives to win their market, which is called The 9x Effect.
    • 4 Guidelines for Website User Experience - To deliver a better website user experience, we concluded four guidelines from the book Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: start with simple navigation; make an impressive home page; use visual hierarchies to present information; improve mobile loading speed.
    • Change Aversion - People hate new changes in a product they are already familiar with. To avoid change aversion, you can let users understand in advance and afterward, allow them to switch, ask them to give feedback, and finally remember to follow-through.
  • Strategy and Decision Making
    • Good Strategy, Bad Strategy 1 - A good strategy is often surprising but reasonable. A bad strategy is a formalism. Here are four hallmarks to detect bad strategies: fluff; failure to face the challenge; mistaking goals for strategy; bad strategic objectives.
    • Good Strategy, Bad Strategy 2 - Bad strategies are easier to be made in terms of three facts: it’s painful to make a choice; people like to follow templates without thinking; people tend to misbelieve that a positive attitude and a strong desire can earn them everything they want.
    • The Second Curve - When you know where you should go, it is too late to go there; if you always keep your original path, you will miss the road to the future.
    • Case Study: Amazon acquiring Whole Foods - Driven by the goal to take a cut of all economic activity, Amazon decides to develop grocery services. However, its grocery business has no first-and-best customer due to cost disadvantage. By acquiring Whole Foods, Amazon is buying more than a retailer - it’s buying a customer.
  • Marketing
    • What is a Market? - If two people buy the same product for the same reason but have no way they could reference each other, they are not part of the same market.
    • TAL and the Chasm
    • Why take niche-and-next approach? - If the goal is to take over the mainstream market, why should we focus on the niche market in the beginning? First, You have to satisfy your customers so that they can be reference-able to others. Second, pragmatists favor market leaders. So be a big fish in a small pond.
    • Growth Phase 1: PMF - According to Ryan Holiday, to begin with PMF, we need to start with MVP and evolve with feedback, use data and information to back PMF, understand the needs of customers as early as possible and develop answers with the Socrates method.
    • Growth Phase 2: growth hack - How to find your growth hack? Ryan Holiday has some advice for you. Target a few hundred or a thousand key people, not millions. Do not target all people - target the right people. Focus on new user sign-ups instead of awareness. Use growth techniques.
    • Growth Team - A growth team is a team with the responsibility to measure and improve the flow of users. There are three mandatory skills of a growth leader: building growth models, developing experimentation models and creating customer acquisition channels.
    • AARRR Model - AARRR is a startup metrics developed by Dave McClure: Acquisition - how do users find you? Activation - do users have a great first experience? Retention - do users come back? Referral - do users tell others? Revenue - how do you make money?
    • Buyer Persona - To better sell products, you need to know your customers better. A generic buyer profile doesn’t help in knowing his buying decision. The most effective way to build buyer personas is to interview buyers who have weighed their options but finally made the decision you expect.
    • CAC / LTV / PBP - Customer Acquisition Cost is the cost to convert a customer to buy a product/service. Lifetime Value is the estimated net profit we can make from a customer. Payback Period refers to the period of time required to recoup the funds expended in an investment.
    • Lean Analytics: Simplified - Data and metrics play a vital role in business. The book Lean Analytics suggests some metrics for start-up founders to assess their success. By choosing the metrics more effectively, the entrepreneur can navigate through the unknown more effectively.
    • Lean Analytics: Slides
    • Mobile Analytics Metrics
    • How to run a tech community? - Why do people need the tech community? What is the value proposition of it? What are the interesting examples we can learn from? Why does it align with your blockchain company?
    • SaaS Sales Performance Metrics - David Schneider, ServiceNow’s President of Customer Ops, shares his sales performance metrics for SaaS companies that are aiming for hyper-scale.
    • Persuasive Copywriting - Copywriting is the simplest and most direct way of impressing your customers. Persuasive copywriting = three means of persuasion + copywriting. Three means of persuasion are emotion, logic, and credibility.
    • 6 Elements to Create Sticky Ideas - Why some stories managed to spread quickly, live long and prosper? In Made to Stick, Heath brothers summarize six elements to create sticky ideas – Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Story, SUCCES for short.
  • People Management
    • Tips for First-time Managers - Julie Zhuo, the vice president of product design at Facebook, based on her own experiences as a first-time manager, gives some useful advice on how to become a good manager in her book The Making of a Manager.
    • Managerial Leverage - Managerial leverages can maximize the output of an organization. Those leverages are information gathering, information-giving, decision-making, nudging and being a role model.
    • Task-Relevant Maturity - A manager’s most important responsibility is to elicit top performance from his subordinates. Unfortunately, one management style does not fit all. A fundamental variable to find the best management style is task-relevant maturity (TRM) of the subordinates.
    • Managers and Bozos - Steve Jobs coined the phrase “bozo management”. Bozos referred to the professional managers who know how to manage but don’t know how to DO anything. It turns out the best managers are great individual contributors who never ever want to be a manger but decide to be one.
    • 3 Skills to Boost Group Performance - It is a common misbelief that the performance of a group hinges on the average capacity of its members. The truth is, the interaction and communication among group members are much more impactful. From the book The Culture Code, we conclude three skills to improve group performance: creating a safe working environment, showing your vulnerabilities, establishing a common purpose.
    • Making progress 30km/day - The Amundsen team successfully reached the South Pole first and won the competition with the Scott team. The success of the Amundsen team lies in their abundant resources and making progress 30km per day no matter what the weather is.
    • Good to Great - Leading a company to leap from good to great is like pushing a giant flywheel to breakthrough. Disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action are indispensable.
    • Bikeshedding - Bikeshedding refers to the fact that members of an organization give disproportionate weight to trivial issues. To overcome the bikeshedding, we should have a clear agenda of the meeting and not mix complex topics with easy ones.
    • Ownership - The authors of the book Extreme Ownership were once task unit leaders of US Navy SEAL in Iraq. They draw on their experiences in the battlefields and conclude five rules for successfully leading a Navy SEAL team, providing useful references for any organization.
    • Building momentum for startup - The acceleration of rockets takes a propeller, and the acceleration of startups take the similar. There are two propellers: 1. Listen to the customer. 2. fast execution. How to achieve these two? Here is the answer from Suhail Doshi.
  • UX Research
    • How Dropbox scale its design research - Dropbox’s design research team grew from 4 members to 30+ today. How do they scale the efforts healthily, even when the headcount for the team is limited? More researches usually mean more harm if they are done improperly.
  • Communication
    • Nonviolent Communication - Judgments and violence are tragic expressions of unmet needs. Nonviolent communication can improve communication quality by valuing everyone’s needs. It is NOT about being nice or making others do what we want.
    • Tailoring the arguments for persuading the decision maker - To improve the chances of success in persuading decision-makers, the way of message delivering should be considered carefully. There are five decision-making categories and they should be treated with different strategies.
    • Bullshit Detector - North Americans bullshit the most. Develop your mental device to detect deception, dishonesty, corruption, fraud, insincerity, hypocrisy and falsity.
    • Small Talking - Initiating a conversation with strangers is the biggest social fear. Actually, people often appreciate it when you make an effort to speak with them. Here we provide some ideas on how to start a small talk, what we should talk about and how to end it in a courteous way.
    • Exactly What to Say: Keywords for Impacts - There are several keywords and templates of sentences that can help you influence people. For example, a sentence like “I’m not sure it’s for you, but” is a non-intrusive recommendation. Saying “are you open-minded to do something” can encourage people to do something.
  • Managing Self
    • Time Management: Principles - It is very inspiring to learn time management from system admins (SAs) because we share the same challenges such as endless interruptions, simultaneous projects, and rush requests. SAs’ principles of time management may solve your problem of time management.
    • Time Management: Focus - Focus is the best friend of productivity. A fundamental work we can do to stay focused is to de-clutter our brain. Always be aware of stress and sleep level. Remember an un-distracting environment is necessary. Deal with interruptions effectively.
    • Time Management: Routines - Routines are useful tools in time management since they enable us to think once and do many. A routine can be anything in real life that has certain patterns. Try to develop your own routines!
    • Time Management: Cycle System - The key to perfect follow-through is the cycle system. It is called the cycle because it repeats every day and the output of one day is the input to the next. Three tools are used in the process - a to-do list, a calendar and a list of long-term goals.
    • Time Management: Cycle System in Action - The cycle system enables people to follow through. It suggests every day should start with your to-do list, hours needed and plans. The secrets also lie in writing down goals and scheduling things with the calendar, instead of your brain.
    • Work-life balance - Some job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged on a day-to-day basis with a young family. We should be careful with time frame and approach balance in a balanced way.
    • How to Get Rich? - How to get rich without getting lucky? Naval Ravikant summarized a few tips for you. Seek wealth instead of money or status. Understand that ethical wealth creation is possible. Ignore people playing status games. You’re not going to get rich renting out your time. You must own equity.
    • Taking truly restful breaks - People will burn out when having too much pressure. A truly restful break can help them to recover willpower and the power of attention. To take truly restful breaks, you need to fully switch off, take short breaks early and often and get out of the office.
    • Loving long with healthy diets - American Journal of Medicine says, disease, not age, is the most significant cause of death among over-100-year-old patients. And diets tend to the primary reason for disease. People often underestimate how food affects their physical and mental health.
    • Productivity Tips from Professionals - MIT surveyed nearly 20,000 professionals from around the world - 50% from North America, 21% from Europe, 19% from Asia, and the rest from Australia, South America, and Africa. Takeaways are …
  • Business Model
    • Stages of Company Building - Initial Product > PMF > GTM Scale & Consistency > Org Building > Enduring Public Company
    • Economic Moat - An economic moat is the ability to maintain advantages over its competitors. It can provide protection for business’ long-term profits and market share. Technology is not an economic moat as it will always be duplicated.
    • Why Startups Have to Innovate? - Why startups have to innovate? Anna Karenina principle answers this question. Each successful company earns a monopoly by solving a unique problem whereas all failed are the same. If a startup does not innovate but copy from the market leader, people will not buy it.
    • Intangible Economy - The intangible economy is rising. It has three characteristics: Intangible assets can expand rapidly. Intangible assets are high-risk and irrecoverable investments. Intangible assets are easy to be duplicated.
    • Infinite Game - Business can operate like an Infinite Game and the ultimate goal of participants is to stay in the game as long as possible. In order to achieve that, businesses should get back to long-term thinking. In the book The Infinite Game, the author suggests companies need to have a Just Cause, build trusting teams, be flexible to changes, and learn from worthy rivals so as to gain advantages in the game.
  • Leadership
    • Start with Why - People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it. Simon Sinek coined a phrase ‘Golden Circle’ which has three tiers, from core to exterior - why, how, and what. However, average leaders think from what, how, to why.
  • Corporate Ladder
    • Sponsor - Successful Caucasian men receive more career guidance than women and multicultural professionals even though more women have mentors than men. The reason is mentors can not help with promotions but sponsors can.
    • 12 Habits that can Boost Women’s Promotion - There are 12 habits American women think would be helpful to their promotions. For example, remember to claim your achievements often because others will not notice and reward your contributions unless you say it. Also, you need to be aware that expertise is not the only criteria.


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