Product management in a nutshell

Product management is tough to describe. I summarize the role as FSO – Figure Stuff Out.

It can include concepting, research, pricing, strategy, business development, marketing, UX design. In my roles at Amazon, Microsoft and Aol, despite having “product” in my title, the focus of the roles was very different. In large companies, it can even vary from team to team. Nascent products often have each person span more areas, whereas established products have more discrete roles.

At startups, one person usually covers most or all of these roles. The specific division of labor depends on the skills of the team and the needs of the company. These shift rapidly as the company grows or pivots.

My product philosophy is different from the prevailing view in Silicon Valley. Products should be driven by how people live and work (or will work), not purely based on technology. There are many products that have failed because they were driven by a virtually exclusive focus on technology. Google Glass and Google Wave are notable examples.

Of course, we need the technology to enable these ideas.

Technology + Psychology = Great products.

I ran a series of classes on product management. This 11-week course covered every aspect of product management. Even if you are focused on a specific area, like research, it helps to understand how pieces work together.

  • Product 101 Deck
  • Putting the M in MVP Deck
  • Principles of design and UX Deck
  • Qualitative research Deck
  • Quantitative research Deck
  • Designing surveys Deck
  • Pricing w/ guest Adam Crouch, VP of New Markets, Poshmark Deck
  • Pricing continued DeckĀ 
  • Business development
  • Working with media Deck
  • Product design exercise

These decks provide an outline of what was discussed in each session. The live sessions contain more deal. Check back here to see when the next series will run.

I work with companies on a consulting basis on all of these topics. (Both startups and large companies.)

I also run 2-day, customized corporate training sessions. If you’re interested, please email me at