🔱 #6 - What is Product management, Vincent Van Tensorflow and more...
Plus, studies from app tracking and a featured article from one of you!
Hello Fellow Learners,
I’ve a confession to make. I’m struggling to define product management, elegantly. I have a list, but as I talk to more and more of you, the scope of product management seems to grow.
Some define product management as the general business structure within a company that supports and manages all the activities related to developing, marketing and selling a product — or even more than one — all through its lifecycle.
While others define it as the role and function within an organization that is responsible for a product’s overall success.
The shortest definition is that of ‘mini-CEO’ — folks in charge of making the product successful.
While those are broad and over-arching in their definitions, I feel that they do not really sell the purpose of product management. Where we only held the customer-representative & value-optimization role, we’re now looked up for more than just that.
I think PMs hold these additional roles (apart from the usual ones we know):
Aggregator of marginal gains
Supplementary role in the team
Aggregator of marginal gains
The aggregation of marginal gains theory states that if you’re able to achieve 1% growth in every area of your product, you’ll make tremendous gains in the overall product improvement.
While it is tempting to do big features that:
a. give marketing teams the ammunition to effectively market the product
b. give the development team bragging rights
you are better off building smaller improvements that take lesser effort. There needs to be balance, of course.
Supplementary role in the team
In new teams, while leading from the 10k feet, sometimes you need to come down and get your hands dirty. Whether that means building a dashboard for yourself or your team or helping the team writing out the technical specs (to the best of your abilities), playing the supplementary role in the team is required.
Ofcourse, that doesn’t mean you take ownership of the role. Just fill the gaps temporarily, till the replacement is added.
Evangelism or ambassador-ship of not only the product, but the people and the practices, not just with the customers, but with other internal business functions. This role banks on the product managers having their network of influence. Highlighting achievements and success stories of process/product implementation will improve the morale of the team.
Product managers are traveling salesmen of the digital world. They sell their product, their team, their process to anyone listening and create a hype about them. Humility is key here — do not get carried away and make it about yourself. Remember, all you did was facilitate the outcome.
I have this so far as the definition of product management:
Product management is building & growing a product in such a way that the product, the team that built and grew it and the product manager themselves grow. It is doing whatever it takes to make the product & the team successful, efficiently and quickly.
What do you think? Can we describe product management better, more succinctly?
Vincent Van Tensorflow?
I never thought this to be possible, but AI can now generate beautiful paintings. Not this:
But something really beautiful like this:
You can check the images out on:
and get one printed and shipped to your home too!
The reason that I’m surprised is because art, as it stands, has no rules — being subjective. Even the first image that I shared, to some, might invoke a sense of confusion or depth. But with the ones I’m seeing on the 1seecondpainting website (and you can generate new images btw), it’s extremely realistic. It’s almost human.
And yes, I know you can make fake people now (https://this-person-does-not-exist.com/en). But the human body has rules, that a machine can eventually identify. Art - there are none, per se… there are styles that you can copy, but it this mix is welcome.
Progressive Education of Features in Your UI
It feels like the de facto method for educating users is this: show them how to do it once, and then assume they'll remember it for life.
When phrased like that, it sounds obscene—yet I'd guess that 99% of all onboarding happens this way.
There are many reasons why this may be an ineffective means of educating users:
🧠 Difficulty of task
i.e., impossible to learn with only one exposure.
⏱ Frequency of repetition
i.e., only using the feature once per year.
🤯 Cognitive overload
i.e., the user is already bored and unable to learn more
👋 Lack of willingness to learn
i.e., the user doesn't see why they should learn it, so doesn't.
There are alternatives: here's a beautiful example of a more progressive type of education.
While composing an email, you can swipe to accept suggested content. But instead of just telling you about this feature, they show you a 'swipe' prompt, until you've actually used it twice.
Then, the third time you go to use it, they hide the prompt.
A nuance here worth noting is that the progression is tied to usage, and not exposure.
Or rather: as you use the feature more, they take the stabilisers off.
Use this the next time you build these ‘stabilisers’ in your UI.
Updates on some of the past explorations
I wrote about capturing the information that is being tracked (using the beta of DuckDuckGo app tracking feature). Unfortunately, capturing the data is a very involved process, outside of my limited technical capabilities. However, I was able to find a few studies that looked into this:
Another article shows how much data Google knows about you:
Product Thought of the Week
The auto posting system is down, temporarily. Unexpected Wordpress upgrade, causing some of my APIs to fail. Will fix it this week.
Featured Article of the Week
Last week, I started the young-authors exposure program (kidding!). I got an underwhelming response for that, but I guess you guys will take a while to engage. Maybe this newsletter is too long.
Irrespective, the show must go on… I’ve hunted down a subscriber and their Medium content. Stephen Kung writes about how he transitioned from Graphics to UX:
Thank you for reading! See you next week.