• Three types of wanting

    March 26, 2020 by

    If you’re building a product, it better be something that people want. That much is obvious. But it turns out that this concept of “wanting” is enormously complex — and there are lots of ways to misunderstand it. Here are three types of “want”. Type 1 wanting: the passions The first kind of desire is… Read more

  • When to kill your product

    March 23, 2020 by

    Product axiom: you should maximize your chances of getting lucky. Corollary: you should minimize the time you’re spending on branches that aren’t going to work. How do you do that? You kill branches that aren’t going to work. How do you know when a branch is not going to work? Right. That’s a good question… Read more

  • Good strategy is design

    March 20, 2020 by

    Good strategy is design, and design is about fitting various pieces together so they work as a coherent whole. Richard Rumelt: Good Strategy, Bad Strategy

  • Product strategy: understanding chain-link logic

    March 19, 2020 by

    This work-in-progress post is part of a set on the topic of mission, vision, and strategy. “A system has chain-link logic,” says Richard Rumelt in Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, “when its performance is limited by its weakest subunit, or link.” Rumelt’s example: the space shuttle Challenger‘s performance was limited by the rubber o-rings that sealed the… Read more

  • Great missions are great except for when they’re not

    March 18, 2020 by

    This work-in-progress post is part of a set on the topic of mission, vision, and strategy. There are some ways in which a strongly mission-oriented company culture can be bad, or perceived as bad by outsiders. Those include: Ya’ll are weird. You say things that are outside the Overton window. Ya’ll think the same way,… Read more

  • A portal to great missions

    March 17, 2020 by

    This work-in-progress post is part of a set on the topic of mission, vision, and strategy. It’s widely agreed that if you want your company or team to do great things, it’s all but necessary to have a great mission. And yet the vast majority of companies and teams either don’t have anything like a… Read more

  • Outline – Vision, Mission, Strategy

    March 16, 2020 by

    I’ve been thinking about Vision, Mission, and Strategy — for both individuals and organizations. I’m also trying to figure out how to increase the quality of the stuff I put on this blog while maintaining low cost (time and pain) of writing. Today’s experiment: modularize planning. I’ll make a little outline / wish list of… Read more

  • Four criteria for a good vision

    March 10, 2020 by

    A vision can ignite and align an organization. Here are four criteria by which to evaluate a vision statement: Does it inspire? A good vision activates people. It’s something that, on Day 1 and Day 1000, can be called into mind to generate motivation to continue. Does it guide? A good vision has a perspective.… Read more

  • Ken Blanchard’s personal vision framework

    March 4, 2020 by

    Ken Blanchard is a big believer in the power of the vision to activate and align members of an organization. He also believes that vision is important for individuals in their personal lives. In this video (which is a bit heavy on the Christian) he offers a framework for developing a personal vision. He says:… Read more

  • Astronaut Garrett Reisman on how Elon Musk makes decisions

    February 29, 2020 by

    Garret Reisman worked with Musk for 7 years at SpaceX. Here’s what he said about how Musk makes decisions at SpaceX: He measures pretty much every major decision by whether it brings the day when we have a self-sustainable colony on Mars sooner or later. Every single decision he makes, he makes it through that… Read more

  • Do you like LinkedIn’s endorsements feature?

    February 26, 2020 by

    I’m preparing for product management interviews. I’ll publish some of my case practice here on the blog. The following is based on a practice question given by Lewis Lin in his book Decode and Conquer. For this exercise, let’s assume that:— I’m applying for a senior-level (equivalent to Google’s L6) product management role at a… Read more

  • Design Scorecard: a framework for giving feedback

    February 24, 2020 by

    This is a framework to use when you’re looking at a proposed solution to a well-defined design problem, and your goal is to provide feedback so that the solution can be improved. A typical scenario would be a design critique meeting in which the designer in charge of a problem is showing recent work and… Read more

  • How to frame a product design problem: the SSUN framework

    February 21, 2020 by

    I’m preparing for product management interviews. Like all PMs I love frameworks, and a fun thing about interview prep is that I get to quickly try out lots of frameworks and even invent new ones where what’s out there isn’t working for me. A popular framework for product design cases is Lewis Lin’s CIRCLES Method.… Read more

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