Categories
Interact

Getting Serious

Have you ever played a “Serious Game”? The term refers to a video game which has been designed for a purpose other than entertainment.

Some of the “serious” games I’ve played explore themes like depression, ageing, innovation, empathy, and of course, education. Serious matters.

Serious games have a very clear purpose, and every single element of the game is designed to achieve this purpose. For example, if the goal is for a player to recognise the warning signs of occupational burnout, interactions will revolve around long-hours, anxiety, and sleep. The player is moved along a narrative from Point A to Point B.

We can use this same approach to create a user-flow “narrative” in our Products. What are our “serious” objectives? Who are our players, and where is their Point A and Point B?

Categories
Market

Dishonesty by Omission

Dishonesty is easy. Dishonesty by omission is even easier.

Sometimes, dishonesty disguises itself as innovation. For example, Google is dishonest about the user data it collects. This crafty monetisation strategy is easy to justify: Free Search, Better AI, etc. But it’s still dishonest, and it leaves a bad taste.

Facebook is another example of deceptive innovation, trading your privacy for profit. They’ve built an amazing product, but at what cost?

Apple understands this principle. Since they don’t compete in the big-data arena, they can uniquely offer their products as more private. They advertise this, knowing that privacy influences buying decisions.

User awareness of these ethically-grey practices is growing. As a result, there now exists a “Free-Pause” – a hesitation while our audience asks what’s in it for you?

There’s no need to throw away big-data innovations, but we must commit to being more transparent with our customers about how we make money.

How can you to set your audience’s cynical minds at ease?

Categories
Focus

Paper and Pen

Today I signed a contract to purchase land and build a house.

The very act of signing a contract, putting pen to paper, creates a mental shift. The brain shifts from good-idea mode, to get-it-done mode. Putting a commitment in ink creates a sense of imminence.

Writing it down makes it real.

Digital roadmaps and PDF contracts don’t quite cut it. If we are committed to shipping our Products, then we must find a blank piece of paper, then write down our goals and responsibilities.

What mid-to-long term project, sprint, or deadline are you working toward?

Sign it, date it, and frame it.

Categories
Ideate

What next?

We’ve all heard the pithy maxim “Do one thing, and do it well”.

This “Unix Philosophy” was invented by Ken Thompson in the context of modular software development. Later it was famously repurposed by Steve Jobs with a broader application.

Today, we apply this principle to lean Product Management. We aim to create Products that do one thing, really well.

So, when our Product is built, and our audience is engaged, and everything is sailing smoothly, we can be left wondering… “What next?”

One answer is to keep building more and more features, leaving our original lean intent behind. Another option:

Do the same thing, do it well, for someone else.

Take out your Business Model Canvas, and rethink your Customer Segment. You can repurpose your existing work, leverage your success, and create a whole new revenue stream with very little investment.

What are the use cases for your Product that you’ve intentionally avoided, which could open new revenue opportunities? Who are the people you have yet to reach?

Categories
Experiment Ideate

Momentum

I had a conversation with a close friend today. While we talked, a product idea surfaced. The more we explored the possibilities around this idea, the more excited we became.

This experience happens to everyone, frequently. But most of the time, that’s where the idea stops. Nobody is sure of the next steps, and even if you were, nobody thinks they have enough time, anyway.

So, what’s the next step for transforming an idea into a product?

Traditional Product Management might tell you to Validate your idea. That’s terrible advice. Validation this early only serves as a means of letting negativity and pessimism end your product before it started.

No! Trust your instinct. Back yourself. Worry about validation later.

A better first step is to open your calendar. Find just one day in which you can cancel all your other meetings, take the day off work, and create a prototype or MVP.

When that day is done, you’ll have a number of things: something visual, something usable, something to demo, something to validate. But more importantly, you’ll have momentum.