Month: December 2010

New Year’s Resolutions – A few simple ideas

Three New Year’s Resolution Ideas

Time to come up with a few New Year’s resolutions?  Here are three simple ideas.

1) Read well and read a lot

I like to ask people, usually within the first 5 minutes of meeting them, “what are you reading?” It’s not only an ice breaker but also insightful.

I was interviewing two candidates for senior product marketing positions at a company I worked not too long ago.  Candidate A taught MBA students part time.  I was impressed and skipped the question about books.  Candidate B gave me a shocker – “I don’t read much.  I think it is a waste of time to read business books.  They repeat the same thing over and over”.

Agreed life gets busy and you don’t have time for many things.  But how can you have such an attitude to reading? Managers who do not think it is necessary to read – it shows in your work.  After all, you are what you read.

Just pick up any book from that airport book store you pass by every week.  If you can get a Kindle or Nook or iPad or iPhone or whatever gadget that lets you read a book, go for it. You don’t even have to go to the airport! Shut down your computer and make a practice of reading at least one hour every day.  It is the most rewarding experience you will have since kinder garden. :)

Spread the reading virus to your colleagues too.  Start a book club at work and book a weekly lunch hour to discuss a chapter or two.  A few years ago, I worked for a manager who planned a book club meeting for the entire team every Tuesday at lunch hour.  I am thankful for that experience.   Your colleagues too will thank you if you start one!  Tip: Use that expense account you have to buy yourself a few good books every month! :)

Looking for recommendations? Here are 6 enjoyable contemporary business books from my bookshelf:

2) Write well

Struggling for words?  Fear not.   Help is here.  Writing establishes your identity.  It bring clarity and disciplines time for self reflection.  Brand consultants are passé.  Imagine if you could only put down your thoughts about product strategy in writing – in full sentences.  You wouldn’t need that boring slide deck with bullets and ugly pictures.  You’d have communicated in a powerful medium and made a huge impact on yourself and your organization.

Here are a few classics about writing.  Read one today!

3) Communicate visually

Put your whiteboards and flip charts to more use.  Stop those PowerPoint decks and think of better ways i.e. visual ways to communicate your ideas.  Make communication of your ideas a sharing, collaborative experience rather than a monologue or diktat.  Check out these books if you need help on how to get better at communicating visually:

That’s it folks.  Just three simple ideas – Read well, write well and present well!

Start filling your mind with thought provoking ideas from others, start writing your own ideas and present them to your colleagues – inspire them to greatness.  Happy New Year!

Prabhakar

Last chance: Help influence our 2011 content

Thanks to those of you who’ve already responded, but we’re still looking for additional input to help focus our content in 2011.

Tell us about some topics you’d like to see covered on this blog that aren’t covered already, or that you’d like to see more coverage of.

———–

Please fill out this SHORT, 4 QUESTION, ===>> SURVEY <<===

———–

I’ve already used one person’s responses to drive a blog post. She wanted to hear about how people got their first Product Management or Product Marketing position.

See, we really do listen. :-)

So go ahead, fill out the SURVEY.

Thanks,

Saeed

Welcome Prabhakar Gopalan

Just in time for the New Year, we’re adding another regular contributor to On Product Management.

Prabhakar is an experienced Product Manager and Product Marketer. He’s previously applied his skills at companies such as IBM, Novell,  Redhat and Computer Associates, but has recently decided to share his knowledge with more than one company at a time – yes, he’s joined the world of consulting and is the founder of Whole Mind Consulting.

Prabhakar is an active speaker, and his presentation — My PowerPoint Sucks, Now What? — was voted second (oh so close!) most popular presentation at ProductCamp Austin earlier this year.

Please join me in welcoming Prabhakar as a new voice on this blog. He had a guest post — The Need for Empathy in Product Management — earlier this month, and his first post as a regular contributor will be published later this week.

Saeed

Time to go, Time to go, Time to go

We’ll have a couple of posts next week, but this is the last one for this week.

This song parody is sung to the tune of Let it Snow. For those not familiar with the song, I’ve embedded that video at the bottom.

Time to go, Time to go, Time to go

Our value proposition is frightful
And our demos are never delightful
Our prospects always say “No”,
It’s time to go, time to go, time to go

I find startups really exciting
And options always make it enticing
But dysfunction abounds don’t you know
I’ll take it slow, take it slow, take it slow

I know a VC who’s been investing
In a startup that he’s suggesting
Is going to be the next Facebook
It’s worth a look, worth a look, worth a look

So, they just closed a huge Series B
Their user count is growing rapidly
Sounds like the VC was right
Should I bite, should I bite, should I bite?

I continue with my investigation
But keep hitting prevarication
Who thought it would take a real sleuth
To find the truth, find the truth, find the truth

Turns out they have no strategy
Their infrastructure is overcapacity
And no clear plan for revenue
Oh déjà vu, déjà vu, déjà vu

I’ve decided its time for a change
I won’t work for people who are deranged
I’m taking extended PTO*
It’s time to go, time to go, time to go.

* PTO = Personal Time Off

Worth Repeating: 12 Days After GA

snowflakes

It’s that time of year. This was originally posted almost exactly 2 years ago. I tried to come up with a new seasonal spoof — I may still yet — but in the mean time, here’s one to tide you over.

—–

On the first day after GA, my team reported to me:

A bug in the installer.

On the second day after GA, my team reported to me:

Two corrupt downloads
And a bug in the installer.

On the third day after GA, my team reported to me:

Three evals pending,
Two corrupt downloads
And a bug in the installer.

On the fourth day after GA, my team reported to me:

Four angry prospects,
Three evals pending,
Two corrupt downloads
And a bug in the installer.

On the fifth day after GA, my team reported to me:

Five suspect leads,
Four angry prospects,
Three evals pending,
Two corrupt downloads
And a bug in the installer.

On the sixth day after GA, my team reported to me:

Six critical patches
Five suspect leads
Four angry prospects
Three evals pending
Two corrupt downloads
And a bug in the installer.

On the seventh day after GA, my team reported to me:

Seven production crashes
Six critical patches
Five suspect leads
Four angry prospects
Three evals pending
Two corrupt downloads
And a bug in the installer.

On the eighth day after GA, my team reported to me:

Eight proofs of concept
Seven production crashes
Six critical patches
Five suspect leads
Four angry prospects
Three evals pending
Two corrupt downloads
And a bug in the installer.

On the ninth day after GA, my team reported to me:

Nine sales reps selling
Eight proofs of concept
Seven production crashes
Six critical patches
Five suspect leads
Four angry prospects
Three evals pending
Two corrupt downloads
And a bug in the installer.

On the tenth day after GA, my team reported to me:

Ten new requirements
Nine sales reps selling
Eight proofs of concept
Seven production crashes
Six critical patches
Five suspect leads
Four angry prospects
Three evals pending
Two corrupt downloads
And a bug in the installer.

On the eleventh day after GA, my team reported to me:

Eleven requests for info
Ten new requirements
Nine sales reps selling
Eight proofs of concept
Seven production crashes
Six critical patches
Five suspect leads
Four angry prospects
Three evals pending
Two corrupt downloads
And a bug in the installer.

On the twelfth day after GA, my team reported to me:

Twelve deals a pending
Eleven requests for info
Ten new requirements
Nine sales reps selling
Eight proofs of concept
Seven production crashes
Six critical patches
Five suspect leads
Four angry prospects
Three evals pending
Two corrupt downloads
And a bug in the installer.

Saeed

P.S. Check out another version of this song – The Twelve Days before my PM Christmas — on Outside-In View blog. Saw it after I originally (re)posted my own.