Pushy sales people. Marketing claims that hover somewhere between an overreach and an outright lie. You know the kind of company I am talking about. Sadly, there are too many organizations that encourage employees to do or say anything to grow, grow, grow sales. I am sure you can imagine the closed-door conversations: “Who cares? Sam, just get the money!”
What? Love and business? Yep. It is a concept I explain in Lovability, my new book — it means building a product that customers love and a business where people can do meaningful work and be happy doing it. The word “lovability” sounds friendly, but achieving it is not easy. It requires honoring a deep responsibility to yourself and your co-workers.
“Comedy is not pretty!” That is the title of an old Steve Martin special and I have to agree with the sentiment. When you tell a joke you need to be ready for laughs and also prepare for the worst. Some nights, the audience might roll in the aisles with laughter. The next night? Tough crowd, tough crowd.
An individual feature usually does not have a significant impact on your customers. But when a group of related features come together to deliver a new product experience — that is when you truly create something special. And you need a way to group all that related work together to represent a larger theme.
I do not believe in luck. I appreciate good fortune, but it is just not reliable enough to call a friend. Luck has no place in business because it is an unpredictable force. Crossing your fingers and hoping for the best will not get the job done. So what is predictable? Hard work, perseverance, and one more trait that might surprise you.
Being a fully distributed company means we can hire the best people regardless of where they live. We receive hundreds of resumes every week from applicants all over the world. But I am still surprised to see the incredible number of “gurus” who are applying for open roles at Aha! — I mean, what are the odds?
Product managers are a loud bunch. We are accustomed to leading and leaders are open with their beliefs. Perhaps that is why there are so many heated discussions about development methodologies. But no matter which one you follow, the intention behind it is usually the same — to get more done.
A friend just recently helped raise money for a fin-tech startup. Exciting times with lots of numbers to watch. Especially when it relates to having money in the bank to push that end-of-business death cliff out another 18 months. But all he could talk about was that it was an “up round.” (Barely, but still up.) I reminded him that for private companies there is one number that people obsess over, often causing more harm than good — valuation.
Is product management the new “it” job? It’s starting to look that way. More and more business students are considering it as a dream job. And I can understand why. Product management offers the opportunity to build something meaningful. But I can think of another meaningful dream job for product managers — Customer Success. Before you conjure up images of phone banks and call scripts, keep reading.
I have read and written a lot of product manager job descriptions over the years. One word every job has in common — “data.” Managing it, understanding it, presenting it. It is clear that data is vital to product management. You cannot have a successful product or business without it. But who wants to spend hours entering and manipulating data in spreadsheets?
“Think like grandpa?” That may sound like backward advice. Times have changed. What could our grandparents possibly have to say about running a business today? Well, I think they have plenty to say.
So you are putting in another late night at the office. Tied up in meetings all day with no time to get to your real work. And just now catching up on 15 “urgent” emails from your boss. You are giving your best, most heartfelt effort — but it never seems to be enough. If love is truly evidenced by our actions, then you are showing plenty of it to your company leaders. But do they love you back?
People are unhappy at work. That is obvious. In a recent post I strongly suggested that leaders have a responsibility — to treat everyone with respect, set a positive example for the team, and create a framework for what success looks like. But what happens when leaders do not own up to that responsibility?
You can probably spot the signs. Sunday night blues. Feelings of “am I really making a difference.” I am not talking about the occasional bad day. No, this is an everyday pit-in-your-stomach malaise. You are miserable at work. Thankfully, it has been a while since I felt that way.