Living life fully mindful of the end, Steve Jobs

“So much creativity and connection has been (and will continue to be) facilitated by his genius. I am touched and inspired by his life.” –post on Wired

Spot on my friend.
We already miss him.
Bigger than life, but somehow you still understood him.
A real pro at understanding connections.
I hate cancer.

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The adventures of being a lemonader (aka product professional)

I’ve been studying for certification and attending productIt's the attitude best practices seminars, meeting other product professionals and comparing notes. Below (in no order) is what I’ve heard regarding creating, rewarding and optimizing a culture of product innovation.

These are from us, product professionals. We rock!

  • Product professionals should be inquisitive, curious, good listeners, determined, observant of patterns, lemonaders, passionate, strategic and leaders.
  • Listening too literally to the market will kill you. Say “Let’s run a test” instead.
  • Fail fast,  learn fast. You’re more successful this way.
  • It’s important to know who you AREN’T targeting.
  • Do a Win Analysis at least as often as a Loss Analysis. You get more return leveraging what you’re good at doing.
  • Learn to pivot whenever necessary.
  • It’s no place to learn with the customer.
  • Evidence/facts trump opinion in a product culture.
  • Determine the difference regarding Total Addressable/Total Available markets. This brings a level of clarity to what is truly possible.
  • “We” are NOT the customers – go find a real customer to determine their needs.
  •  Define success and measure it.  Metrics are key and critical. How else to know if you are on the right track?
  • Set expectations often and early so “others” don’t set them for you.
  • Innovation is creative destruction.
  • Think in leaps, iterate in steps.
  • You can conduct 100 focus groups and you’ll never get an iPhone.
  • Make inferences and test them within your markets. Use social as much as possible, but watch credibility.
  • You, the product professional, are the expert. Act like one – be the leader and the champion. Lead with knowledge. Be the industry go-to person.
  • If you continue to improve a product enough, you’ll eventually ruin it.
  • A PM* must be out there with customers in order to be believable by senior management – Marty Cagan. *I include PrdMktg.
  • Design is how it all works. We are in the era of the experience. – Jobs
  • Don’t fall in love – Zuckerman
  • Nothing is what happens if too many have to agree – Seth Godin
  • One accurate measurement is worth more than 1K expert opinions – Grace Hopper

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May You Change the Future

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. – Steve Jobs

I wrote about connecting the dots in an earlier blog post.  When I came across the Forbes article today ( I knew I had the right subject with which to return to writing.

Now what?

If I look forward, trying to connect my “dots” – this what I see.  It’s clear that I must pay attention to the possibilities and the outside influences, but how do I choose where I go? It is not clear.

It all makes sense in retrospect. If I look the other way – backwards the “dots” (opportunities, jobs, products, bosses, friendships, successes and failures) make a pattern. They show a movement forward towards the goal, the almost constant learning and adjusting, the trust building. I’ve seen that I learned to trust my inner voice, I am capable, very capable of discerning the best way. Funny that, your colleagues actually may learn to trust and value your leadership before you yourself do.

Product professionals are very special people. I am very glad to be counted as one. We can do a lot of creative things, even if we have to burn the midnight oil to find the time to get to them. There’s always the paperwork, the reports to be generated, the emails to be answered. The launch to be done.

I think looking backwards helps us in product to decide HOW to move forward, to choose the best path. Once you’ve seen the pattern, you’re spot on.

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Blogger Holiday

I am away, unplugged,  or studying for my certification. I promise to in the autumn. Happy summer in the meanwhile!

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Social Marketing Impacts Product Professionals

Social Marketing KeySharing these thoughts after several days conversing with social marketing explorers, all great conversations. This is the coolest use of the internet!

This post is short; knee-deep in a certification course. Back to the full posts next week.

Explore: How does social marketing impact product marketing and product management?


Will social marketing and social media techniques/tools impact new product development and products in-life?  I forecast massive shock-waves if social marketing is ignored by product professionals. This is a fundamental shift in communicating with and listening to the customer, necessary skills in the product professional toolkit.

  • Gen Y will drive social further than we can imagine. It’s part of their DNA, how they connect, communicate and decide which products they buy. Boomers aren’t that much different.
  • This is a global phenomenon. People talk about themselves, politics and products on the intranet using social.
  • Product professionals create successful products; immediate feedback helps with this.
  • Social conversations can provide immediate product feedback, among other benefits. The information is out there, use it.


Is social marketing mature enough to integrate its use (asking B2B specifically)? Yes, the medium may morph, new players arise and analytics methods change because the smart people are fiddling and tweaking (continuous improvement). No excuse for not engaging.

  • Start with a plan – what goals do you want to accomplish, not what tool to use.
  • It is always easier to make your mistakes when everyone else is learning too.
  • Fundamental organizational fine-tuning may be required.
  • Social is new and it takes time to get it [right].
  • If you are authentic, your customers will forgive you.

I believe now is the time to get into social or be OK forever eating your competitions’ dust.  Think the internet in the ‘90’s. It wasn’t always so pretty but it was an adventure and those with the most flexibility and capacity to learn and innovate are still with us.

How-to and use-suggestions in later posts. Pil sung!

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The Nimble Product Marketing Blackbelt

Sparring is essential to enhance martial arts skills. As soon as possible in a match, the practitioner formulates a game plan towards winning. It is critical to anticipate the actions of the opponent, to size up the adversary. Watching – the artist decides what skills and methods are favored by the competitor.  While done, the master knows that the initial plan of moves is not how the match will turn out. The opponent wants to win just as much and formulates a plan of their own.

The sparring practitioner uses rapid test-and-learn change techniques in order to adjust and offset moves the opponent is telescoping. It’s the ultimate in immediate feedback loops! The plan provides the framework, the feedback the win.

An experienced martial artist looks for signs to predict what their opponent’s next move might be; alert. The master sees the opponent’s next punch/kick is coming; observant. The master blocks the attempt and counters while maintaining momentum; responsive. His game plan changes; adaptive. The process continues.

The successful sparring master is always in the present moment – attentive, perceptive, nimble and agile in both mind and body.

The take-away for 21stcentury product marketing professionals?

Don’t dwell in the past or plan too far in the future – agility depends on this

I do not advocate an adversarial attitude, rather discover adaptability instead. Learn that adaptability and agility (the ability to react/change direction efficiently/learn/adjust) are within the present. Plan too far in the future and you will miss the signs, risking loss of balance and speed.

The differentiator today is how we manage the process of marketing, just as it is for the successful sparring master who manages the process of sparring. The proof is in the outcomes.

Excellent, pil sung. Wear the blue belt with pride.

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