Being a product manager is tough work. You’re constantly balancing out the needs of the business, the needs of the users and the capabilities and bandwidth of engineering to move the product forward and to make it more successful. It takes a lot of smarts, enthusiasm, communication, persuasion, editorial skill and courage to do the job well. (There are other traits, but those strike me first.) Products need strong product managers to thrive and succeed. Product managers need to have a clear vision of where the product needs to go and what resonates with users to reach that success. The product manager truly is their brother’s keeper.
Over the last day and a half I’ve watched three impressive talks from some of the smartest product people in the world and I wanted to share them with you here.
Fred Wilson‘s 10 Principles of Successful Web Apps
This is a great talk where venture capitalist Fred Wilson (investor in Foursquare, Twitter, Delicious, others) outlines the 10 essentials to making a successful web application. Every product manager should be considering how their product stacks up to these ten things. His ten essentials are:
- Instant Utility
- Software as Media
- Less is More
- Make it Programmable
- Make it Personal
Fred Wilson at the Future of Web Apps Miami 2010
Jack Dorsey: 3 Keys to Twitter’s Success
In this talk, Twitter co-founder talks about the four keys to Twitter’s success (he says 3 but then throws in a bonus fourth at the end.) They’re powerful tools for any product manager in the product design and definition phases as well as the ongoing evolution of the product itself.
His 4 keys to Twitter’s success are:
- Draw, get your ideas out of your head and in front of others.
- Luck, understand when the market is ready for your idea.
- Iterate, take tons of feedback, edit like crazy and refine your product.
- Know when to stop, know when a product is finished instead of adding feature after feature.
Kathy Sierra on Creating Awesome Users
Kathy Sierra gives a great talk on how our focus can’t be on our product, service or company; but rather on our users and how we can move them from frustrated first-timers to passionate advocates who spread our product effortlessly to their social circles. Here’s her recipe for creating awesome users.