I’ve had some great conversations recently about product management. This post is a collection of those [highly disparate] notes.

  • On Shaping Products: Iconic products have a shape. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are known for their unique takes on the feed. Tinder is about swiping. Messenger apps all have a very specific structure. Products shape around a core and adjacent user problem. To understand the shape your product should take, it’s critical to understand those problems and resulting customer funnel.
  • On Major Releases: Making large changes to a product in market is filled with anxiety and excitement. The former because large changes are necessary, but their success or failure is hard to pinpoint to one specific improvement. Many use this argument to focus on small incremental changes over time. I’m not dogmatic about either approach - but writing off one approach is a fools errand. There is a time and place for large releases. When it’s overapplied, it becomes an easy target. But without it, a startup can end up spinning wheels towards local maximums.
  • On Decision Confidence: Much has been written about decisionmaking frameworks. One I like to use often is the decision confidence rule - if you have 80% of information to make a decision, it’s time to make the call. Any more work will be diminishing returns. I find so many product managers scared to use their own earned instinct. This signals a lack of confidence in their own decisions.