As we work through the pandemic, its important to understand the overall implications of each action and its over effect on the global system as whole.
There is a lot of buzz about innovation and the need for companies to relevant to constant industry changes. How do you manage innovation? There are several approaches out there. The Strategyzer team came up with a concept to plan out an innovation portfolio which can be done continuously to stay on top of the market. This captured in the book The Invincible Company. Below is an example of the portfolio map used in this process.
Another approach that is also useful is the 3-Box Solution. Where products are grouped into Past, current and future buckets. The concept is captured in the book - 3 Box Solution.
There are many other books and articles on this topic but these are two options to start with.
There is always debates around the role of Product Owners versus those of Product Managers. Many present the idea that Product Managers are strategic while Product Owners are tactical, mainly focusing on writing users stories and managing the backlog of features per sprint. Is this true? looking at the responsibilities of Product Owners rom Scrum.org, There are two elements that stands out. 1. the Product Owner is accountable for the product and 2. he/she has ownership of the product. This means the individual would interact with customers and other stakeholders to define the vision of the product and then work with the scrum development teams to prioritize and deliver on this vision.
While Scrum does not speak directly about strategy, marketing, sales and other activities, it is pretty obvious that the Product Owner would be involved in these roles as the accountable party for product success. One cannot properly manage a backlog and prioritize features if not being fully involved in the strategic intent of the product. Ultimately, it's fairly clear that Product Owners are bona fide Product Managers and in fact more. An example is given of ex-Apple CEO Steve Jobs as the ultimate Product Owner. The following video provides a good overview of the product owner role..
What is your take on this debate? feel free to share your comments openly..
Are you curious about using your phone as a regular computer? With the speed and specifications for Smartphones nowadays, technically, this is very possible. The question is; How do we realize this solution? Are the drivers for this (1) Economics, (2) Convenience and/or (3) consolidation?
While the phone specifications have gone up, the price for Laptops have come down significantly, so one could easily just buy a low cost Chromebook to handle duties that require larger screens. However, there could be more to this situation. Take the Apple ecosystem for example; An iPhone is roughly $1000, the MacBook Air is another $1000 or more. If you buy both, one is looking at $2000 minimum in cost. However, if someone came up with a solution that sells an upgraded iPhone experience on a laptop for $300 that may be appealing. Of course, the argument could be made that an iPad could do the trick but a good iPad setup is about the same cost as a MacBook anyway.
This is topic worth exploring more in the coming months. There are some good data points:
1. The Smartphone is a critical piece of equipment for pretty much everyone across all social spectrums - Which means its foundational.
2. Several concepts have actually gotten crowd funded on Kickstarter.com in recent times which implies there is a market looking for a suitable solution. The solutions vary from Laptop style to more of desktop type designs.
A tablet is also something that has value but in the case of needing an essential solution; is it the most critical upgrade to a phone?
The Samsung DEX is one of the mainstream solutions out there but of course it only works with Samsung Phones. How could this be widely available for pretty much any phone?
Here is a promising foldable solution - cost about $55.00
The Nexjack Desktop solution is just $19 but only works with Samsung Phones at this time.
Here is a video sample of how this could be done.. There are other ways but this kind of a desktop approach with the idea of it being portable.
Other perspectives in Part 1 of this topic - http://www.larklandmorley.com/home/computing-with-a-single-device-especially-a-smartphone
There is clearly a lot of chatter around driverless cars or in fact flying cars? This technology is actually developing rapidly and Tesla has shown a lot of practical progress in this area. Where do you think this is headed? Feel free to comment here.
There is a lot of buzz around going to Mars to establish a colony. Electric Cars thanks to Tesla and others are really taking off. One of the big challenges is whole question of energy storage density and distance. What if there is a solution for this? It seems this startup in the San Francisco area - Ardica is on to a very feasible solution.
This fuel source is called Alane which Aluminium Hydride. Ardica's focus is on making this process much more efficient which would significantly revolutionize the green energy industry. The implication here is to have more robust clean energy options which can minimize the need for legacy fuels.
We are excited!!!
Many times having a conversation, the question comes up; what is your profession? Mentioning the words "Product Management" many times has the follow up question; What is that? People are familiar with Project Management and so on. To give a quick layman summary of Product Management; We could say that "Product Management is the domain of owning the full life cycle of products. Spanning from conceiving the product, developing, supporting and retiring." Every product that is created has some form of a Product Manager (some companies use terms like Program Manager etc.) owning and driving the process. This could be a Jetliner or even a new toothbrush.
Product Managers tend to have a mix of Business and Technical skills. The technical skills are important to understand what problem the product solves and how. Business Skills helps to develop a big picture view especially to satisfy the corporate requirements for profit. Product Managers are also real Entrepreneurs always looking for opportunities to drive new business ideas. How does one become a Product Manager?
The typical default answer on becoming a Product Manager is to consider getting an MBA. This can be useful if available but certainly not required. It's better to focus on the skill sets that will make one an effective product manager. Here are some key skills to consider with some bias to the technology industry:
1. Leadership - Be visionary with influencing others (using data and not force!!)
2. Strategy - Understand the business reasons to build a product - Create business Cases and Roadmaps
3. Customer Focus - Have good relationships with customers to understand needs
4. Communications - Being able to communicate at various levels and context
5. Analytical Skills - Being able to analyze and solve problems
6. Technology - Being able to understand the architecture of technical solutions
7. Marketing - Converting the product features into a conversation around tangible benefits
Ultimately, your job is to conceive and champion products to success. How does one get training on Product Management? Before we get into recommended training programs, one shortcut is to find a good product manager and get mentoring from them.
Here are the training options:
1. MBA Degree - While this degree does not teach product management directly, it does provide good foundations on the various business topics. Not worth taking a $120K MBA degree just to be a Product Manager but there many cheaper options especially online (Examples such as WGU and some Indian accredited universities also offer MBAs online very affordable). One advantage is that in some companies and cultures, the MBA can help to move into executive management roles. Btw, in silicon valley, notable technology founders does not have MBAs and in many cases no degrees.
2. Individual Courses - Since we know the skills required to be a good Product Manager; taking individual courses especially online can help with this process. The advent of MOOC platforms will make this process much easier. Youtube has lots of free videos on business topics including product management.
3. Specialized Product Management Courses - There are several courses available nowadays that teaches Product Management within a few months. Examples would be General Assembly, Singularity University and 280 Group. There are several others which covers in-person or online delivery.
4. Books - Assuming one could get mentoring from a good Product Manager, there are some good books that could help fill gaps in skill sets and also depending on the individuals learning styles. A good example is Product Management for Dummies.
In summary, Product Management is a great profession which has been around for a long time but has been labeled with different names along the way. It's a very rewarding and exciting field, so make an assessment and see if it's the right fit for you. The ideal situation is to find a Product Management mentor or coach that can help to accelerate the process. In the mean time here is a great course on udemy.com to learn the ropes - Product Roadmap 101.
What do you think of product management? Share your thoughts.
Heraclitus stated "The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change -". We all know this is so true. Even in modern times, we can see the big difference between now and 20 years ago or even more recent times. Sometimes, change can actually create chaos or the unwillingness to accept change could be detrimental.
It would be great to get out front with a good system that enables real change in a systematic way and enables a win-win scenario in any given situation. One good framework that can be very helpful is the Kotter 8-Step Process for change management.
How would you like to have a landline phone and not worried about the extra monthly bill? Well, this is possible today with various options (the assumption here is that an Internet service is in place). My preferred approach is the following.
1. Get a free Google Account - This provides a free email address too
2. Request a free Google Voice Number - Typically Call with the US and Canada for free
3. Get a regular home phone from the store (Walmart, Amazon.com etc)
4. Get the OBI200 from Obitalk for about $50.00 (one time spend and no follow up)
5. Connect things up and now there is a working home or business phone..
This may not be valid to get emergency services, so make sure to validate that..
The other benefits would be for businesses or individuals outside North America that would like to communicate with businesses or individuals frequently. This could be done for free and those in North America can call this number for free without any issues with dial codes and long distance cost.
Alternatively, Magic Jack is another option for setting up a cheap home or business phone service (learn More)..
Enjoy the new service and share your experience with us..
I have always been a fan of having a single device for basic computing needs. Practically, its not too hard to do this with a Phone in a desktop scenario or a tablet with a keyboard case. an example is the Clamcase for Ipads or the Samsung Dex Dock. For using a phone in a laptop setting, it becomes a little more challenging.
There are two products that seem to have make it to the commercial stage. Those are the Mirabook and Sentio Superbook. These are very promising and useful but they still require a cable connection to the laptop shell. What if we could have this done as wireless or incorporate the phone seamless into the laptop?
Apple did file a patent on this concept over a year ago. Here is an example of how it looks
Find out more on this concept from Apple on Engadget. Considering the Wireless option, we know that Bluetooth is simple for Keyboard and Mouse. It seems then that the display aspects could be the challenge but with Miracast and Chromecast, it should be possible to mirror the display wirelessly to a laptop style device. This means, one could have the phone close by and still be productive as a laptop. Be able to take calls easily without having to unplug the cabling.
The argument could be made that with Laptops so cheap; what is the point of doing this? Well, it's very possible to make this device cheaper than a comparable laptop. For example, the new Iphone Xs just released 9/12/2018, is very powerful and cost roughly US$1000+. Therefore, buying a laptop shell for US$300 or little more could still provide a premium experience much better than a regular $300 laptop. Also in emerging markets, it could also lower the cost to have productive computing capabilities since the prices could be contained.
Alternatively, one could make there own solution using an older laptop shell - See example with Macbook Mod.
Lets hope creativity steps in here. What do you think of this concept?
Check out the latest discussion - http://www.larklandmorley.com/home/the-smartphone-as-the-only-personal-computer