From Memorializing the Day to Driving Success

Every week I read thousands of blog posts. For your weekend enjoyment, here are some of those highlights. What are you reading this weekend?

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On Starting Up…

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219690
Drive your product to success with just a few monetary tweaks.

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On Design & Product Experience…

http://inspirationfeed.com/2011/05/60-user-interface-calendar-inspirations-and-downloads/
Enjoy the extra days; soak in these designs.

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On Modular Innovation…

http://blog.programmableweb.com/2011/05/23/attracting-developers-to-your-api/
Honor those with the right API.

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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A Pair of Billion Dollar Shoes

Who says where product people have to begin their careers? Passion and the desire to improve and create products can come from anywhere… such as a tech writer. Nils Davis’ journey is one of a tech writer crossing over to the product side, and doing so superbly.

In the second part of our series speaking with Nils Davis we take a look at what constitutes today’s efforts and desires of this amazing product person.

In the now…

> Whose shoes would you like to walk in for a day? why?
My experience has been in startups. I would love to stand for a few days in the shoes of the product manager for a billion dollar product and learn about the issues and realities of running a product like that. At this rate, one day our company will be that big and I’ll have that experience.

> What excites you about your current products?
I am one of the target end-users for our product, so I use the product myself daily and that’s honestly very thrilling to use your own product. I also think that the opportunity to really improve the world by reducing the waste and errors in the new product development process is within our grasp as a company, and our vision for doing that is compelling and powerful.

> What do you like most -and least – about being a product manager?
As a product manager the role is very diverse, with lots of things to do every day, always switching gears – between customers to brief, sales people to help out, white papers to edit, demos to create, and features to prioritize. This environment of rapid-fire interactions makes it harder to get into the mindset for doing “longer form” type of work. I love doing that longer form stuff, but the structure of the PM’s day makes it hard.

Also, as a PM I have a lot of power and influence as to what will go in the product, how we talk about it, and where we focus our time. But at the same time, my wishes and dreams for the product far exceed my resource capacity to execute, so I have to have a lot of patience, which is not always easy.

In Addition

Over the next few weeks, I will share more of my interview with Nils Davis, as well as other fascinating product people!

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring Nils Davis, or any other of the upcoming product person interviews, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

From Dispersed Creativity to Monetizing with Modular Innovation

Every week I read thousands of blog posts. For your weekend enjoyment, here are some of those highlights. What are you reading this weekend?

02_food

On Design & Product Experience…

http://designm.ag/inspiration/26-web-designs-for-the-food-industry
Taste the latest in online food.

03_monetize

On Modular Innovation…

http://blog.programmableweb.com/2011/05/16/how-canadas-yellowapi-is-helping-developers-monetize-their-applications/
Breath life into those smaller apps with a little bit of monetizing Modular Innovation.

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

Nils Davis’ Journey from Tech Writer to Product Person

Who says where product people have to begin their careers?  Passion and the desire to improve and create products can come from anywhere… such as a tech writer.  Nils Davis’ journey is one of a tech writer crossing over to the product side, and doing so superbly.
 
In this first part of our series speaking with Nils, let’s take a look into where his journey began… Tech Writer.

Getting to here…

> What key people helped shape you into the product manager you are today?
At a previous company I found a good role model in the VP of Products, who had also founded a company before. Even well after he had a big staff of PMs doing the day to day work, his command of product details, competitive positioning and the vision for the product continued to inspire me.

> How did you decide to become a product manager?
I was working as a tech writer for a software company, and I kept seeing ways that we could improve the way the product worked, how we talked about it in the market and the way we sold it. When the current product manager left, I moved into that position. My career transitioned into product management because I saw a need that I wanted to fulfill. It took several years for me to figure out what being a product manager actually entailed “officially”.

> What inspires you in your day-to-day work?
As a product manager, I feel my #1 allegiance is to the product itself – to make it as good as it can be at solving customer problems. My inspiration comes from the knowledge that customers, the market, and the company are benefiting from having a terrific product.  And because I’m in the target market for my product (it’s for product managers and planners) I get a thrill from using the capabilities on a day-to-day basis that we have spent months and years developing.

In Addition

Over the next few weeks, I will share more of my interview with Nils Davis, as well as other fascinating product people! 
 
Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring Nils Davis, or any other of the upcoming product person interviews, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.
 
Enjoy!
 
Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

New Learning, Novel Visions & Now June!

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Thank you to everyone who made it to our latest, maxed-out, roundtable meet-up of The Product Group at Dogpatch Labs, as well as to our sponsors, Balsamiq Studios, Sunshine Suites, and Ryma Technology Solutions.

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Over the course of the night a few of the highlights were…

Featured Product: TouchGraph
exploring the product, its challenges and successes, from visualizing connections to reaching new customers
(thanks to TouchGraph Product Person: Alex Shapiro)

Product Management Learning
from great books to moderating success

The Product Group meet-ups are an opportunity for Product People (managers, strategists, marketers, etc.) to come together to meet, interact, and network in a roundtable setting. It’s awesome to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational gathering.

If you are a Product Person and are interested in having your product featured or participating as a featured guest expert at an upcoming meetup of The Product Group, contact me.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone at our next meetup …

Thursday, June 2nd @ 7PM
RSVP Now!

And, stay tuned for more announcements about June’s Featured Product.

If you would like to attend our next meet-up, RSVP today or visit our group webpage at…

http://meetup.com/TheProductGroup

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

P.S. Interested in becoming a sponsor or host of The Product Group? contact me.

More Companies are Becoming Modular Innovation Enablers

dokdoklogo_thumb154Email will be with us for a good time longer. DokDok, along with founder Bruno Morency, is seeking to evolve this often cumbersome communication mechanism, solving the often onerous challenge of exchanging documents via file attachment, tracking them, versioning them, facilitating interaction with them, and extending this vision to facilitate other products.

In Part 4, of this 4 part series, I sat down with Bruno to understand how he sees Modular Innovation (MI) affecting DokDok and how his startup is shaping the MI landscape.

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On Modular Innovation

TPG: Describe the benefits of this product for the average online user. (or, why should the average user care)
Bruno: We see the need for such an email API has follows: Conversations, collaboration and document exchange happens in email on a daily basis. Unfortunately, complementary apps such as CRM, document management, collaboration and project management ignore most of it or ask you to forward and bcc every single emails you want to view from their app.

TPG: Describe the benefits of this product for the application developer (and their online products).
Bruno: Many applications like CRM, wikis and task managers let you "attach" documents to clients, pages or tasks. Developers need to spend a lot of time adding those features and for users, it’s a burden to keep those documents updated. It’s not publicly available yet but we’ll offer these developers an API to use documents found in their users mailbox instead of building their own file management functionality.

We provide a unique email API that makes it easy for application developers to retrieve that information and leverage it in applications. Everyone can keep using email as the daily communication tool with the benefit of great apps that leverage those conversations and document exchange.

bunch of modular innovation TPG: Modular Innovation.  Tell me how you see each of the following contributing (when applicable), and to what degree, to the consumer’s online experience.

  • Sharability of content (if shareable, can you control to which people different information is shareable)
  • Flexibility (can a user and/or developer customize their experience/interaction with the product)
  • Interoperability (from / to 3rd party apps; redundancy; etc.)
  • Portability (does a user ‘own’ the content that they create/contribute; what parts do they own; can they download it; save it; etc.)
  • Convenience (can a user access the product/content from a diverse variety of access points; to what degree does the product automatically remember user settings, etc.)

Bruno: One important thing about DokDok is it’s not a new container for documents, it’s an "enabler" for the documents scattered in your mailbox. In that sense, we see DokDok bringing sharability, flexibility, interoperability and convenience to email.

TPG: How do you see your product evolving with respect to the trends of Modular Innovation?
Bruno: Your presentation of these trends of Modular Innovation is very interesting and fits really well with how innovation happens in technology. There’s been a lot of innovation to develop tools that are basically buckets for digital content and then to make these buckets "connectable". For document sharing, it’s pointless to build yet another platform to exchange and share documents. There’s hundreds if not thousands of these all promising the end of attachments with no success. The big universal bucket of electronic documents is email. Unfortunately, email is really bad at many things, managing shared documents being one of them. That’s what we’re after, bringing sharability, flexibility and interoperability to email attachments.

TPG: Any plans to integrate with other online products?
Bruno: That API was initially built out of our own need for an HTTP based way to query data from an email account. After talking with other developers, we realized there was more interest for this than the Gmail contextual gadget we built it for.

It can be used to query any email account accessible through IMAP (it’s not only Gmail/Google Apps).

What we did isn’t replicating IMAP connections in an HTTP context, we created a set of high-level calls that abstract a lot of the low-level email-specific details. For example, getting the history of messages exchanged with a contact is one simple call, you don’t need to worry about searches within numerous folders found in the mailbox.

And…

Since I originally spoke with Bruno DokDok has made many exciting strides in its product, especially in its continued embrace of the trends of Modular Innovation. Excitingly, DokDok has made available its Email API to enable all applications to leverage users’ emails as a data source. For more, visit http://dokdok.com/email-api .

We can all expect to see many more great things in the coming years from DokDok as they continue to expand to more platforms (hopefully, we will start seeing it, by default, built-in to more of our favorite apps) while enabling other products to leverage their experience through its awesome API’s.

Part 1: DokDok: Who’s there?
Part 2: More than Just Email Being Brought to the Future
Part 3: DokDok… It’s Advice!
Part 4: More Companies are Becoming Modular Innovation Enablers

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss out on any other insightful posts and series from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy