The Best Product Person of 2011 is…

The Best Product Person of 2011 nominations have begun!

To nominate someone you think should be recognized as The Best Product Person of 2011:

Submit your nomination’s…

  1. name,
  2. a paragraph as to why you think they are The Best Product Person of 2011, and
  3. how they can be contacted.

You must know the Product Person, as they can expect to be contacted by me to speak with them further for consideration as The Best Product Person.

And, yes, you can nominate yourself.

At the end of the year, the winner will be selected and they will receive “something special” (to be announced very soon).

Submit your nomination today!

I am looking forward to seeing how this turns out. And, do spread the word of this new contest — the more the merrier for everyone involved.

A Look Back…

The Best Product Person of 2010 is Giff Constable of Aprizi.

TBPP2010_alt-abrv-114Giff’s career path has traveled that of entrepreneur, artist, and investment banker — no doubt, all contributing to his outstanding product person success. He has spoken about cutting edge technology at major conferences like NRF and GDC, as well as through media outlets such as Business Week, New York Times, CNBC, NPR, ABC News, and Reuters. For more about Giff Constable, check out his blog @ http://giffconstable.com/.

Runner-up is Paul Gray of Brainmates. Paul Gray has spent ten years working in the entertainment, media and communications industries within Australia and Europe. Paul worked in both B2B and B2C roles for organizations including Disney, Foxtel, and British Telecom.

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Sketching a Path Forward

sketch-forwardDon’t debate the debaters, but instead, influence the influencers.

Product managers are leaders and influencers of features, ideas, and epic tasks. Some have direct and backed authority, many others have variants that are partial or merely implicit. Either way, to achieve the greatest success, do you rule with force? Or influence, and guide, and allow for shared discovery in support of your product’s end goals?

Functional Forms

When your designer says “no”… how do you get them to “yes”? Let’s look at this challenge with respect to a few designer types that many of us have had the pleasure and privilege of working with.

The Perfectionist
The Innovator

This week, let’s take a look at…

The Mixologist
The Standard Bearer

The Mixologist

The Mixologist may lack vision or a good stream of resources. No problem.

Influence the sources. If the sources are blogs, suggest other blogs more inline with your desired approaches. If the sources are people, work with them, share your vision, share your perspectives, recommendations, creativity, logic and reasoning. Build relationships and foster broad support from below. Tread lightly here; you do not want to offend The Mixologist by overstepping or allowing any of your relationship building to be construed as anything threatening.

When The Mixologist is aligned with your goals and proposing ideas you have pitched and sought, get your ego out of the way… #1 is always to achieve the business objective. And, if you have built sound relationships, the right people will know where the credit truly belongs. Oh yeah… and frequent lunches with The Mixologist help too.

The Standard Bearer

“Standards are great, because there are so many to choose from.”

There are a ton of standards out there. For every standard, there is another competing one. Identify the competition, share it around the organization. Build support for the new standard, or at least for a willingness to experiment with it. Let those new supporters become the advocates of the new thinking. Foster an environment where multiple ideas, multiple standards can co-exist and compete on objective measures. Encourage and reward the experimentation with competing standards as well as non-standard concepts. Standards are great; they can always be improved.

Designers are people, too.

Yep. And, they too, do not often fit a simple character description. Most designers are a mix of traits, some potentially described here.

Generally speaking, the best influencer, the one to really buddy up to, is statistics– they can often be your best influencer and supporter in most cases. Collect the data, find the data, and introduce the data (“your key influencer”) to your designer and together understand it, explore it, and challenge yourselves to build upon it.

Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing various examples and approaches in wielding strategic influence as a successful product manager.

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

From Sitelinks of Change to the 1

   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_sitelinks

On Design & Product Experience…

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google-improves-visibility-and-rankings-for-siteli.php
Witness the sitelinks of change.

03_soulseekr

On Modular Innovation…

http://techcocktail.com/online-dating-site-soulseekr-puts-your-social-data-to-good-use-2011-08
Find that special someone through the power of the relationships of Modular Innovation.

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

The Pixel Perfectionist

pixel-pefectDon’t debate the debaters, but instead, influence the influencers.

Product managers are leaders and influencers of features, ideas, and epic tasks. Some have direct and backed authority, many others have variants that are partial or merely implicit. Either way, to achieve the greatest success, do you rule with force? Or influence, and guide, and allow for shared discovery in support of your product’s end goals?

Functional Forms

When your designer says “no”… how do you get them to “yes”? Let’s look at this challenge with respect to a few designer types that many of us have had the pleasure and privilege of working with.

The Perfectionist
The Innovator
The Mixologist
The Standard Barer

The Perfectionist

Perhaps your idea isn’t perfect, or is suffering from The Perfectionist’s attempt for design perfection. Or, perhaps, the design is spiraling into endless edge case bottomless pits of despair.

The Perfectionist can be difficult to influence by anyone less perfect than themselves (nearly everyone else). You may recognize The Perfectionist by these additional traits…

  • Has to be in control
  • Gets carried away with the details
  • Frequently criticizes others
  • Refuses to hear criticism
  • Checks up on other people’s work
  • Has a hard time making choices

Leverage the Peer Group

At their core, The Perfectionist seeks acceptance and approval. Encourage praise from their peers and coworkers for their work; satisfaction breeds productivity and openness to more ideas (especially those that may have received firm “no’s” in the past)

Create an environment that rewards good ideas. Perfectionism can often be curbed through healthy, time-constrained competition – encourage speed and near perfection over 100% and lagging delivery. A mix of some competition with other individuals / groups coupled with tracking and metrics can help lower the individual’s reservations about taking risks while simultaneously establishing a structure for setting and achieving more realistic goals.

The Innovator

Innovator may find your ideas too bland and normal… that’s fine, provide avenues for their creative spirit.

The Innovator can be pushing the limits of design so far that their designs lose the ability to communicate form and function, usable value. The Innovator often seeks to inspire, rather than motivate – motivate the product users to action, to buy, to come back.

Set objective, measurable goals. For example, change the challenge from improving usability by moving the login button to a new location, to increase the rate of logins by 20% and time on the website by 40% for each logged in user. When you redefine the problem in these terms, you then empower The Innovator to iterate, to innovate, to dazzle, to do whatever they can envision… as long, at the end of the day, the goals are met.

Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing various examples and approaches in wielding strategic influence as a successful product manager. Next week, we will look at …

The Mixologist
The Standard Barer

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

From More Debt to Savory Gojee

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

01_debt

On Starting Up…

http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2011/07/financings-options-venture-debt.html
Upgrade your finances at just the right time with the right bit of debt.

02_gojee

On Design & Product Experience…

http://www.fuelyourcreativity.com/meet-gojee-have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too/
Savor the delectable experience of Gojee

03_webapp

On Modular Innovation…

http://highscalability.com/blog/2011/7/26/web-20-killed-the-middleware-star.html
Share the messaging and solve it with modular innovation.

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

Prezi

Modular Innovation in the world of presentations spawning greater innovation.

via The Products

Serving Customers, Seeking LocalBonus & Sending More September!

theproductgroup_logo_200909_thumb752
balsamiq_logo2_thumb263333
sunshine_suites_logo
RymaLogoHighRes257_thumb5222

Thank you to everyone who made it to our latest roundtable meet-up of The Product Group at MTV Networks / Viacom, as well as to our sponsors, Balsamiq Studios, Sunshine Suites, and Ryma Technology Solutions.

IMG_1092 IMG_1089 IMG_1088

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

Featured Product: LocalBonus
exploring the product, its challenges and successes, from leveraging less to building their base
(thanks to LocalBonus Product Person: Derek Webster)

Being a Good Customer of Mine
from wasting time to communicating vision

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, September 1st @ 7PM
RSVP Now!

And, stay tuned for more announcements about September’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.