Day-to-day Product Management Inspiration

generate_creative_inspiration[1]Out of the hundreds of nominations, and amazing finalists, the 7th annual winner of The Best Product Person is … Chris Butler.

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy and The Product Group.

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Getting to here…

> What inspires you in your day-to-day work?

My ongoing study in complexity and systems thinking inspires me. Right now I am going through some online courses by the Santa Fe Institute. It shows us that what we used to think was very simple or ordinary really isn’t. We just chose to not understand the way things worked wholly. We ignored the nuance of life.

For software to eat the world it needs to augment and improve the complex way that we all interact with each other. The times we don’t you will see crappy software, poorly designed hardware and things that just don’t work. The Cynefin framework has been one way to think about this when looking at new problems.

More to Come

Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Chris Butler.

Thank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2017 has begun!  Nominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!

http://TheBestProductPerson.com

And, don’t forget, take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (http://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).

TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded  Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.

TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.

For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

About ‘The Product Group’

The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )

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Biggest Product Regret

Out of the hundreds of nominations, and amazing finalists, the 7th annual winner of The Best Product Person is … Chris Butler.

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy and The Product Group.

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Getting to here…

> What’s your biggest product regret?

My biggest product regret is eventually moving on from a product when changing jobs or projects. Every product I have ever worked on had more things to do for it. More things to learn. I think that need really drives me today when trying to understand what is most important so the things I regret are smaller.

In particular, the restaurant SaaS named Complete Seating I helped start was not a perfect solution by any means, but really focused on the key problems of how the restaurant front of house operated. I wish we could have kept working on it.

More to Come

Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Chris Butler.

Thank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2017 has begun!  Nominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!

http://TheBestProductPerson.com

And, don’t forget, take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (http://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).

TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded  Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.

TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.

For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

About ‘The Product Group’

The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )

Deciding to be a Product Manager

Out of the hundreds of nominations, and amazing finalists, the 7th annual winner of The Best Product Person is … Chris Butler.

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy and The Product Group.

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Getting to here…

> How did you decide to become a product manager?

I had thought originally I would be an engineer out of college. While interviewing for a program manager position at Microsoft I was intrigued by the questions I was asked while interviewing. One question in particular was ‘how would you design a washer/dryer for someone that was sight impaired?’

The reason why I stayed in product while trying out business development and evangelism is that it has the right mix of partnership and execution. Even when I worked in a BD role it was very product focused, sometimes whether the product team liked it or not.

More to Come

Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Chris Butler.

Amazon.com Gift Cards - In a Gift Box - Free One-Day ShippingThank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2017 has begun!  The individual who first nominates TBPP is also awarded!  This year, the first nominator of Chris received a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.comNominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!

http://TheBestProductPerson.com

And, don’t forget, take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (http://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).

TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded  Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.

TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.

For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

About ‘The Product Group’

The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )

Key Mentorship in Product Management

Out of the hundreds of nominations, and amazing finalists, the 7th annual winner of The Best Product Person is … Chris Butler.

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy and The Product Group.

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Getting to here…

> What key people helped shape you into the product manager you are today?

The core of product management was something that I learned at Microsoft. We would joke that program managers aren’t useful for the first two years. They do an amazing job training and supporting the new product people. I was right out of college.

A particularly great manager I had started as someone I worked with as a peer. Liz Yang was a development lead on a team of mine and then moved to GPM where I worked for her. She is the model of what I use as a great manager. She would challenge me to grow, give me the chance to learn, and truly cared about helping me succeed in my career (both while I was at Microsoft and longer term). Besides generally caring about my growth, she really made the 1:1 important.

When I think about the people that have become voices in my head I think of John Boyd and Venkatesh Rao that runs the Ribbonfarm blog.

Boyd was the great granddaddy of agile with the OODA loop. His presentations while in the US military and the research path he took to that point is fascinating. It is taking everything before him from a military strategy standpoint and boiling it down to key ways to think about strategy.

Rao is originally an academic (a 2nd generation Boydian acolyte?) that sold out and became a management consultant. I love the long form topics he takes on in his blog. They are interpretations of what Boyd has talked about for the next generation of technology. He has written books I highly recommend including the The Gervais Principle, Tempo, Be Slightly Evil, among other things. His short fiction is pretty great too.

More to Come

Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Chris Butler.

Amazon.com Gift Cards - In a Gift Box - Free One-Day ShippingThank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2017 has begun!  The individual who first nominates TBPP is also awarded!  This year, the first nominator of Chris received a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.comNominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!

http://TheBestProductPerson.com

And, don’t forget, take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (http://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).

TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded  Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.

TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.

For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

About ‘The Product Group’

The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )

The Best Product Person of 2016 is…

TBPP2016_alt-abrv-114Out of the hundreds of nominations, and amazing finalists, the 7th annual winner of The Best Product Person is … Chris Butler.

chrisbutlerThe Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy and The Product Group.

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Chris has over 15 years of experience in leading product, BD and strategy. His product experience includes lead and director positions at Horizons Digital Group, Complete Seating (founder), Dash Navigation and Microsoft. He has also held BD roles (with product responsibilities) at KAYAK, Waze and Zvents. Chris can currently be found at Philosophie Group serving as Senior Product Strategist.  He graduated from Boston University with a Computer Systems Engineering degree.

Watch and learn more about Chris…

More to Come

Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Chris Butler.

Amazon.com Gift Cards - In a Gift Box - Free One-Day ShippingThank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2017 has begun!  The individual who first nominates TBPP is also awarded!  This year, the first nominator of Chris received a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.comNominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!

http://TheBestProductPerson.com

And, don’t forget, take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2016: Chris Butler. (tweet)

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (http://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).

TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded  Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.

TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.

For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

About ‘The Product Group’

The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )

From Action Inducing Websites to Mainstream Modular Innovation

Every week I read thousands of blog posts. Here, for your weekend enjoyment, are some highlights from my recent reading, for you.

01_sean-ellis

On Starting Up…

http://venturehacks.com/articles/sean-ellis-interview
Some simple advice on bringing your product to market.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://webdesignledger.com/inspiration/30-website-navigations-that-make-you-wanna-click-it
A showcase of action inducing websites.

02_clickable
03_echo-jskit

On Modular Innovation…

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/12/15/js-kit-echo
The increased participation the mainstream in Modular Innovation via such products as the newly rebranded Echo.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

00_logo …So echoed Darrell Silver, one of the four co-founders of CommandShift3, as he explained one of the guiding mantras of CommandShift3.com and with whom I had the great pleasure of being able to sit down and speak with recently at his cool downtown digs. We discussed a range of topics, from the ideas and processes that led to the CommandShift3 web site to what features its community of users can expect to see as the product evolves.

CommandShift3 had 1mm page views within the first month after launching. A large factor in achieving this number most definitely comes from their keen attention to the User eXperience.

How did CommandShift3 zero in on such a rockin’ User eXperience?

Darrell best described their product experience design process as…

“iterating through to simplicity”

When the CommandShift3 group approached designing the User eXperience, simplicity was always in the forefront of their thinking. Every decision revolved around this guiding rule, from the potential use of tabs to where and if to use AJAX.

The Screenshot

One of the early challenges faced, one that can almost be a metaphor for the iterate-to-simplicity process, was with respect to the display of the websites that participate in the voting.

How do you size the screenshots correctly?
How do you present the most necessary information at each stage? What is that necessary information?

Through iterating on this problem, they were able to zero in on the solution that you see today. You can observe that the screenshot starts at the largest allowable (and necessary) size, with minimal labeling. The first screenshot presented, has already been reduced slightly in size to accommodate space and address the need for simplicity — presenting just the information necessary to make a voting decision.

01_side_by_side

Occasionally, to make a voting decision more detail may be needed and is achievable by way of the zoom button.

02_zoom

As the screenshot progresses through the process, clearly less information is needed. The image goes from big to smaller to smaller.

03_bottom

Everything Simpler

Darrell is quick to point out that, while the iterate-to-simplicity process may be most evident in the screenshots, it was universally applied to every aspect of what they did. In this sense, you can see many of the creative influences of CommandShift3 on other sites that they feel epitomize a professional simplicity and/or found ways to present just the most necessary information, such as…

Darrell and the rest of CommandShift3 understood that they were designing for the design community — and this audience always notices every last detail.

Some more of those details…

  • URLs. They needed to be short, simple and bookmark-able.
  • Colors. They understood that the CommandShift3 audience would instantly spot if a color was slightly off or if there was some other mismatch.

“Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.” the philosophy expressed by Darrell Silver in my interview and shared by the other founders (Erin Sparling, Lee Semel, and Amit Gupta) that led them all down a path – of creating a cool product with an awesome (and, in some cases, addictive) User eXperience.

Quick Fact:
Do you know what was the initial inspiration for CommandShift3.com? (click here to find out)

On the Competition…

Another part of CommandShift3’s success was that they were able to identify a completely unserved need within the designer community and come up with a very fun and entirely unique product.

04_homepage

More recently, some competition has been emerging. The most notable competition comes from Technorati founder, David Sifry in the form of OKorKO.com. You can read more about it here.

05_okorko

Obviously, by just comparing the homepages of CommandShift3 and OKorKO, CommandShift3 remains in a league of its own.

Despite my attempts at getting Darrell to dive into a compare and contrast session or spark a more spirited debate about CommandShift3’s competition, Darrel, flattered, began and concluded his assessment of the competitive landscape when he, with a smile, said, “they have a great idea.”

Time for Making Money!

Nope, and not at all, explains Darrell. CommandShift3 never had any kind aspirations for the level of success that they are currently experiencing — their goal, their singular goal, was, and remains, to serve the under-served design community and provide them with an interactive, online product and community that is both fun and useful. Basically, all they currently appear to care about is not money, but staying focused on the near-term and building a “community that opens up communication channels and lowers the barrier to great design.”

Coming Soon…

Darrel points out that CommandShift3 is all about serving the community. They are a “small team doing something that the Internet allows. That is what gives them the ability to do what they want to do and what other people want them to do.” CommandShift3 won’t “win by locking people in,” but by “being focused and responding to the audience; and being the audience.”

As far as Modular Innovations and data portability, Darrell made it very clear that what mattered first and foremost was SERVING (his emphasis) a community. Evolving within an environment of Modular Innovation and allowing for all sorts of data portability are seen to be very much inline with their community “service.” It was made clear that, as aspects of the site are tweaked and CommandShift3 evolves, people can rest assured that they will be able to own and control the content that they create and contribute to the community at-large. And, as Darrell succinctly put it, “we will absolutely — how could you not be open to letting people keep their data and make it more modular — you are SERVING a community.”

Some of the new features (and tweaks) CommandShift3 will be serving and you can expect to see soon are…

  • Flagging and ranking favorite sites
  • Browsing your “battle” history
  • Looking at what other people like (or don’t like)
  • Observing how popularity of a website changes as the design of that site changes
  • Tweaking some of the language on the site details page to be less confusing. Don’t worry, they are on it.
  • …and a lot more cool stuff.

Printing Screens

CommandShift3, the team that has given new, and social, life to the Print-Screen ‘button’, has truly identified an, until now, unheeded call for a strong, interactive community for all designers and their fans. They have created a product that is fun to experience, interact with, and share through, as well as great for research or exploration, or even testing out new concepts on a large audience.

I had a great time speaking with Darrell Silver and (we all — the fans of CommandShift3) look forward to the many great things coming soon from CommandShift3.

Enjoy & if you haven’t already done so… go and check out CommandShift3.com! & Have Fun!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy