Stories and musings by Nis Frome
Cofounder & Head of Experimentation at Alpha
If you’re a corporate accountant in Minneapolis, MN, you probably have a lot in common with corporate accountants in Austin, TX. But if you’re a product manager, you’ll likely find that a product manager at a company just down the road has a completely different set of skills and responsibilities. Few can speak to the industry’s evolution and fragmentation better than Brent Tworetzky.
I think it’s critical for founders to remain vigilant. The "that’s-below-my-pay-grade" attitude can set any founder and startup on a wayward path. Getting our hands dirty keeps us grounded, literally and figuratively.
When I talk to struggling content teams, I encourage them to put every ongoing effort on hold and to instead focus their attention toward a single objective that requires them to collaborate more with sales teams. Rather than continue focusing on top of funnel – which frequently isn’t going to be an ROI driver any time soon – I tell content teams to understand and then drive whatever change in beliefs or behaviors prospective buyers need to undergo in order to become customers.
Every product team tries to prioritize features that most significantly drive sales and retention. Few however realize that reporting dashboards present exactly that opportunity and emphasize it accordingly. That’s because product teams are typically focused on end users while sales teams interface with actual buyers and decision makers. This ‘misalignment’ is almost always benign, except when it comes to the critical feature of reporting.
A lot has been written about Snapchat’s design choices and how they led to the company’s explosive growth and eventual IPO. There’s an overall sentiment that, as one writer put it, “it’s not surprising [that Snapchat is] so popular with kiddos, [as it gives] them their own walled garden that their parents can’t reach.” It’s an interesting but rigid argument that I think is missing some critical nuance for product and design leaders seeking actionable takeaways. There aren’t two static groups of outsiders and insiders, but rather a powerful and fluid experience of transcending from one group to the other.
Customers seek outcomes – not tools or services – and it’s the marketing and sales teams’ objective to prove that they can enable prospective buyers to achieve such outcomes. To that end, every company has one obvious and yet rarely-utilized tactic. Leveraging their product usage dataset to identify and underscore best practices for the industry is the easiest win in all of content marketing.
“Would I want another company to post this exact content on their own website?”
“The success of your startup is determined before you ship a single line of code.”
It would certainly seem intuitive that being innovative requires your company to first undergo “big” structural changes. But once you stop thinking in terms of designing products and begin thinking in terms of designing activities, you just may find that customer-centricity isn’t foreign after all.
Insights into corporate culture, the nature of user research, and product management processes.
Having frequently witnessed the back-and-forth between product teams and research groups, it is clear that there is no shortage of misconceptions and miscommunication between the two. Only a thorough analysis of some critical nuances in statistics and product management can help us bridge the gap.
We like to think that ideas are judged at face value. That ‘brilliant’ and seasoned investors can look at any idea or product and say ‘this is going to be big.’ But everything we know about human nature says the opposite.
Faculty and students have tried to make sense of the Tech Renaissance in an attempt to pinpoint the levers and pulleys behind the scenes. Their efforts aren’t in a vacuum — they want to better understand the nature of the environment so they can sustain it.
What if instead of having sophisticated marketers advertise, spam groups on LinkedIn, and pass out data sheets, tech organizations drove brand evangelism by having their developers answer questions on Stack Overflow and fork projects on GitHub?
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