Growing Pains

In the last newsletter I spoke about the differences between large and small product companies, and how different they are and how different type of people thrive (and struggle) at each. However, I did not talk about the case where a small company quickly grows into a...

Does Size Matter?

Two questions I get a lot are: “Is now the time to join one of the cool new startups?” and “The startup I’m at isn’t doing so well, should I join one of the big guys that’s hiring so aggressively right now?” I’ve worked in all sized companies, from brand new startups,...

Corporate Hubris

“Hubris: The false pride that comes before the fall” – Wikipedia I probably get more questions from product people about Google than any other company. With their astounding success, it seems everyone wants to emulate them. Regular readers of my blog and...

Death of a Salesman

For as far back as I can remember, it wasn’t enough to have a good product, you also needed a strong sales person to get the customer to actually commit and sign the check. In fact, the lack of skilled sales people was and remains the limiting factor for many...

Outwit-Outlast-Outplay

Sometimes being a product manager can feel like being on Survivor, and worrying about your product team voting you out at the next product council. Product management is hard. Leading a product team is hard. You make countless decisions, and not all of them will be...

Managing Up

One of the most common questions I get from product managers, usually working at large companies, is how to manage their managers? They are frustrated with their manager. Not that they don’t like their manager, but that they feel like the sands keep shifting, their...

Does Company Culture Matter?

Company culture is one of those vague concepts that can mean different things to different people. I use the term here to capture the company philosophy in terms of how it treats its employees, customers and partners, and the impact this has on product teams. These...

Google as the New HP

Silicon Valley is all about creating products, and I would argue that no company in history has done that better than HP. HP had an absolutely unmatched record of consistent product innovation in a wide range of markets. That’s why they’ve personified Silicon Valley...

Patton’s Advice for Product Managers

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” – General George S. Patton, Jr. Patton was quite a character. From what I know of him, it sounds like he would have been quite a product manager. He’s the...

Startup Product Management

I’ve been working with quite a few startups over the past few years, usually in an advisory capacity, but sometimes more directly involved. Startups are essentially all about new product creation, so they’re a terrific place for product managers to do their thing, and...