Want to Improve? Ask for Real Feedback

Not the dreaded performance review, please no, I hope that we don’t have to succumb to that institutionalized excuse for feedback and performance. I have heard a variant of this throughout my corporate working life. Being on both sides of the equation, both as an employee who received feedback and as a manager who provided…

Engineering Versus Marketing Versus Product Management Driven Organizations

This blog will be a bit controversial.  Having worked in many organizations across hardware and software and services, I can see the conflict between product management and engineering.   When the balance between these two departments is just right, great products are produced and customers are listened to and are happy with the outcome.  All too…

Chemical Engineering is Dangerous

Danger, Danger! Will Robinson! Early one morning in October 1984, I walked into a dimly lit room, deep within the chemistry building at UC Berkeley.  Someone had only shown me this procedure earlier in the week. But I walked up to a strange apparatus, opened it and grabbed a container of a mysterious powder, carefully…

Manage the Whole Product Please

As you know, I am a stickler for product managers to focus both on strategy and execution.  While that may be cliche, I continue to run into stories about product managers who focus on one or the other but never quite the balance that their product needs.  I was chatting with an ex-colleague  after a crack…

Ugliest Man on Campus – Part 3 of a 3 Part Series on Hacking

The UMOC contest was sponsored by Alpha Phi Omega, and began as the “Ugliest Man on Campus” in 1953. The idea came to be when an APO brother from another chapter suggested that the MIT chapter might run an “Ugly Man on Campus” competition as a fundraiser for charity. Originally limited to men, the contest’s name…

Investment Trade-offs Between Go-To-Market and New Features

Imagine your most beloved Product Marketing leader arm–wrestling with your favorite Engineering leader. Does this really ever happen?  One of my most trusted leaders I have ever had the pleasure to work with once told me that you build products for the channels you plan to sell them through, optimizing the feature sets to provide customer…

Part 2 of 3: My Best Hacks at MIT – Still relevant in 2016

No, my buddies and I did not put the MIT fire department truck on the top of the dome.   One of the most infamous hacks when I was at MIT was the appearance of a balloon under the field at a Harvard University football game in 1982.  While none of my hacks (or hacks performed…

Can a Traditional On-Premise Product Morph to Multi-Tenant SaaS?

I have worked with enterprise software products that were either single tenant on-premise or were multi-tenant SaaS services.  There is no doubt in my mind that while many of us who have been in the industry 20+ year have worked with on-premise products, we became very comfortable with how to define, build, test, release, market,…

My Best Hacks at MIT – Still relevant in 2016 (1 of a 3 part series)

MIT is best known as the top engineering school in the world (yes I know there are a variety of close seconds…) and traditionally as a place where kids of blue-collar families went to increase their prospects in life through science, math and engineering.  I fit into that category particularly well.  Most MIT students did not…

Go Broad or Deep, What is best for New Job Seakers

This is a question I get asked a lot, more than I expect—by a large multiplier.  I have been asked by students in college, or those just about to graduate, or even folks in their 20’s that are looking for guidance on their next job opportunities and selection process.  We have all seen the very…

Insider Insights: High Performing Product Leadership Team

There is much talk about how an organization should drive product direction and execution.   I am currently involved with quite a few companies who are looking to tweak their performance in this area.  Product teams strive to provide the right direction and it is that critical analysis of the holistic product situation which is crucial.  Some think…

Top 8 Things I Think About When Road Biking

I am an avid road biker who really enjoys solo rides in the city, suburbs and off the grid back roads.   A family member recently commented that biking for such a long time at a stretch would seem very boring.   Au contraire, I find riding multiple hours at a time to be loaded…