Happy New Year! Product Management in 2012

2012Happy New Year! The last year has seen many changes in the world of product management. Yet, with all these changes, we can all expect ever more exciting trends, processes, and, especially, products in 2012!

A Look Back

In 2011, many of the prevailing trends we experienced were…

  • Increased focus on process for innovation and ideation
  • API’s, relationships, modular innovation, integration. You are not a true product unless you have an API.
  • Decreasing use of the free service / product business model. Growing on free is no longer the best policy. You can actually create a viable, sustainable business by charging customers money. (omg)
  • The new form factor — the tablet. While it has been around for sometime, the tablet (specifically, the iPad) has had a profound affect on not just tablet design, but all product design and product-consumer expectations of interaction — more intuitive, more touchy.

The Coming Year

It’s always fun to attempt to predict the future. Based on my interactions with the product management community, the following are my predictions for the big trends of 2012.

  • Offline. There will be a broad-based movement back to enabling the offline application, powered by HTML5, from document management to media consumption.
  • Death of XML. XML is on the wane, and JSON’s time has come. With all of the frameworks that have been developed to extract, transform, and transport XML, there will be great entrepreneurial opportunities in 2012 tooling-up JSON.
  • The number of product management roles will continue to grow. However, they will be filled by more and more junior people. These positions will also focus much more on the tactical side of product management (vs. the strategic).
  • In demand skills of the product manager of 2012 (and beyond)…
    • Tech / programming. There will be increasing need for technical experience or programming skills for product manager roles (even UX centric ones).
    • Statistics. Establishing and gathering metrics will become increasingly central to what it means to be a product manager. You need to demonstrate your value and make smarter decisions. (One of the key drivers has been the growth of Lean Methodology.)
  • Customer driven roadmapping will gain increasing momentum. And, mirroring that trend, but inward facing, more company-wide integrated product management will be taking shape.

What’s next?

What are your predictions and expected trends for product management in 2012?

Enjoy & thanks to everyone who followed, read, and participated in The Product Guy blog and The Product Group, new and old, in 2011! We are going to have a supremely awesome 2012!!! See you there!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

A Soapbox for Your Content

content-sharingIn a world where data is key and content is king, establishing unfettered access to all types of these commodities is critical to both existing and, even more importantly, emerging products and revenue streams — revenue streams that will shape and, more than likely, form the foundation of the future of our industry leading organizations.

To identify some content as unsharable because it isn’t currently being shared is counterproductive to today’s forward thinking product stack; modular innovation, from open API’s and portability to relationships of all sorts. Access to content, new or existing, both now, as well as going forward, will continue to drive innovation and new (and substantial) revenue streams.

More than a vision, centralizing, unifying, opening content up to everyone and thing within the organization is an absolute necessity for continued success in the hyper-changing landscape of our businesses.

Individually, as brands we have many strengths. But, together, working together, we have the ability to not merely adapt to the market, but forever change the future of content, the mediums through which it is consumed, and models that will serve to drive accelerating growth.

Today, a great deal of content is not shared. This is absolutely true. To those who question why, one could identify a sub-par database, a lackluster data model, a challenged infrastructure, or even artificial business impediments. We have all been confronted with large and extremely challenging hurdles.  These have impeded our abilities to attempt to explore opportunities for even marginal revenue paths, not to mention those streams that possess the potential to, through sharing, be larger than the whole, contributing to the revenue of all brands, multiplying the revenue generating power of all the content.

To abandon our efforts, or to consider slowing them down or even putting them on hold, is to begin to weaken the very foundation upon which we are building our companies’ futures, a foundation that must be able to withstand the turbo-charged change and innovation that is required for success and continued leadership. To alter our current course into a direction of less sharing and openness will only result in eventual and guaranteed catastrophic fracturing and failing.

The present, and the future, is sharing, discovering new content, simplifying the exercise of current products, and enabling the path to future ones. Content is already being consumed in ways many would never have imagined even a couple of years ago. Now is the time to do it right. Now is the time to build something that will stand the test of time. Now is the time to establish a new level of content quality. Now is the time to change ourselves from distributed organizations of distributed content into an ecosystem of distributable content, an ecosystem that reaches all present and future modes and methods of consumption.

Enjoy! …and Share!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

Prezi

Modular Innovation in the world of presentations spawning greater innovation.

via The Products

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

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Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

MTV Rocks Product Management

image As many of you know, I have been working at MTV Networks (MTVN) for a while. MTV Networks is an incredible company, spanning numerous familiar brands (MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon, …) with fantastic teams, and amazing jobs. And, we are aggressively enhancing and growing our Product Management organization.

If you are a product person (product manager, developer, project manager, …) in NYC who loves…

  • writing stories (the agile kind),
  • collecting business requirements,
  • working with your partners in technology and development, and
  • contributing to the cutting edge products that power MTVN and all its brands…

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…contact me at jeremydhorn+mtv@gmail.com with your resume attached.

Thanks & if you think you know of someone who would be interested, pass it on.

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy