Entrepreneurs

Not exclusively for entrepreneurs, but rather those heavily involved in the startup community or independent projects.

Ideas Are Cheap

An early wake up call in my product career was the stark reality of who makes product decisions within companies. Foolishly I believed that the strategy involved with launching a successful product starts and ends with product managers. Needless to say, 20-something year old me learned a few things about how companies operate very quickly.

Strategy is unequivocally the fun part of product management, but what most executives will never admit is that it is also the easy part. When something is fun, easy, and promises glory, there is absolutely no shortage of people willing to claw and grab at the opportunity to make a name for themselves. Young ambitious product managers will quickly find that their aspirations to steer a company will be reduced to a sandbox of things nobody else cares to bother with.

I originally found this to be a soul crushing reality, but things are not

Culture Over Rules

Technology startups are often dominated by Caucasian males preaching the importance of culture. This irony should be lost on no one... in the boom of entrepreneurship and investing, the intangible concept of togetherness became an undeniable metric for success. As VCs have continued to emphasize the importance of employee happiness, it's been clear that we've undergone a fundamental shift away from the suit-and-tie offices which once dominated American professionalism.

The importance of company culture has no lack of advocates. Those in traditional work environments may associate tech culture with ball pits and ping pong tables, but the significance of company culture goes far beyond short-term relief and happiness. Companies such as Airbnb openly preach prioritizing culture, and in doing so these pioneers recognize core beliefs as a primary prerequisite for success.

In the context of the workplace, culture should be considered a counter-argument to strict rule enforcement. While both culture

Will Product Go The Way Of Marketing?

I'm not too crazy about marketing people. It's not that I dislike marketing as a concept... on the contrary, I have nothing but respect for the concept of subtly manipulating the human mind. Thus it is naturally frustrating to watch the concept of marketing move away from calculated campaigns, and more into the realm of Mailchimp and Social Media junkies. If the ability to use Facebook tops your list of tangible skills, chances are I wouldn't trust you to define my company's voice.

I'm assuming that undergrad marketing programs consist of more than introductory Instagram classes. Where then, are these concepts being applied? From the outside looking in, a case can be made that marketing is the discipline of deploying microsites and unapologetic sales messaging.

I can only imagine how CMOs who meticulously shaped brands feel about a workforce striving for a bare-minimum understanding of their field. Yet I can

The Ruin Of Feeling Powerless

I woke up one August morning to find a letter waiting on my dining room table. The only words were "I love you. I believe."

It was from my girlfriend. It had been a long few months of tireless work for the both of us, and we often found ourselves wondering if things would ever get better. It seemed like a hopeful low point in our lives as we were both consumed by timelines and obligations.

Little did we know that August was just the beginning of a 6 month stretch that would slowly take its toll on our lives.

Burning Out

Everything is Fine

A while back Kieran Tie struck a chord with me in an article he wrote about the subject.

Burning out is more common than we think; it's a topic that doesn't fair well in the "everything is fine" blueprint for western civilization. Burnout can

How To Interview Product Managers

From the perspective of a Product Manager, it's amazing how different PM interviews can be between organizations.

While there are a fair share of rigorous hiring processes, what catches my surprise is how many startups simply do too little to vet a PM. Those who are proud of their work would much prefer a way to display this than an easy offer.

Here's my 2 cents:

Let Them Speak

Most of the intangibles that come with being a PM are often revealed when a candidate speaks to their own accomplishments. When given the steering wheel, which aspects of their products do they speak to?

Having a PM describe their own successes will reveal what they perceive goes into making a successful product:

  • Speaking to the challenges that were presented and the features they proposed to fix them are indicative of strategic thinkers.

  • Detailing the struggles of a team or organization