Categories
Measure

Data Means Nothing

Two shoe salesmen were sent into “darkest Africa” to feel out the potential  shoe market. The first telegraphed home saying: it’s hopeless stop nobody here wears shoes. The second telegraphed back saying: it’s wonderful stop nobody has any shoes.

As Product Managers, we work with a lot of data. Sometimes we even hire a data scientist to go through our data and tell us what it means.

Framing is the lens through which we view data. Since we all have different brains (and hence different frames) the same data will always represent something different to different analysts. Data can be objective. Recommendations based on that data can never be.

Data can mean anything, therefore it means nothing.

How, then, can we extract meaning from a dataset? One very effective method is to look hidden assumptions.

Suppose your analytics show a temporary downtick in traffic during February. One might assume that this is simply a natural ebb, another may assume that February must be a low month in your industry, a third may assume that there was a technical error has since been resolved.

To extract meaning from these analytics, ask yourself:

What assumption am I making,
That I’m not aware I’m making,
That gives me what I see?

Challenging this assumption will help you learn something new about your product (a competitor launched, an industry event, a political influence), which you can then leverage to your advantage.

Props to Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander for inspiration.

Categories
Experiment Market Measure

Minimum Viable Marketing

We’ve all heard about lean product development principles: Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), measure its performance, and iterate.

We could apply this same principle to many Product disciplines. Take marketing, for example. Often, a Product team will hire a marketing manager or consultant and launch a campaign, aiming to reach as many eyes as possible.

Here’s another approach: A Minimum Viable Marketing (MVM) campaign.

Define a small campaign targeted only at the early adopters amongst your market segment, using words like Innovative, Pioneer, Breakthrough, Private, Limited, and Now. Choose just one channel to reach them on.

No need to build out every asset for every medium. No need to get the alignment just so. No need for pixel perfection. No need to wordsmith.

Since you’re starting small, take the time to get to know your audience. Talk with them, without any hint of self-promotion. Show them your marketing materials and gauge their thoughts and reactions.

Then iterate.

Categories
Focus Work

Be Quiet

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
— Walt Disney

Are you curious?

Curiosity and silence go together.

Curiosity is about searching and discovery. Things that get in the way of that are pride, arrogance, loudness, teaching, and even problem solving.

You can’t sell and be curious at the same time.

You need to be quiet.

Listen. Really listen. Empathise. Be quiet.

We have something new to learn from everyone: the elderly, our children, the arrogant, the meek.

In every conversation: Stop evaluating, and listen for something to learn.

 

Categories
Measure

Choosing the Right Metrics for Distributed Teams

There’s a temptation to burden remote workers with a tonne of metrics.

When managers don’t trust their staff to be productive at home, the staff are often closely scrutinised with daily standups, daily roundups, and to-the-minute time tracking.

Categories
Work

Office to Officeless

When espousing the benefits of Distributed Teams, as I often do, I’m often told “but Luke, remote work wouldn’t succeed in my business”. And do you know what? You’re right.

Is it possible to transition from office to officeless? Not with that attitude.