Don’t forget to ask yourself…

/ponder by striatic;

When I first thought of starting this blog, I didn’t realize that it would take a day with 25 hours (thank you daylight savings) for me to publish my first post. All the advice I’ve received about blogging has been “just do it”… write it, publish it and then learn from the reaction (if there is one).

Let me start by describing this blog and the subject matter I hope to cover in my posts. I decided to call this blog is called buy, use, love because I felt the need to create a place to analyze and hopefully, discuss products and services that…

  1. Customers buy in droves
  2. Customers use all the time and miss when they can’t
  3. Inspire customers to proclaim their love to everyone who will listen

I have a hunch that if I study and write about such products and services, from many different domains, I will stumble upon some universal themes that underlie true product/service greatness. I also figure that even if no one ever reads this blog, I could look back at these posts whenever I need some inspiration to inform my daily decisions as a Product Manager.

I also wanted to write today about something that I feel all Product Managers have to confront and reconcile at an early stage. PMs are constantly making decisions about strategy but most often, they need to ask someone else in their organizations to fund and execute on their vision. This often leads to a strong pressure to decide by committee in order to guarantee the support of stakeholders.

Well, I read this HBR blog post by Peter Bregman today that made a powerful argument to resist the pressure and trust oneself and one’s instincts. There is no question in my mind that all good Product Managers shun hubris and seek out the data to inform their decision making but unfortunately, there is never enough data in the past to accurately predict the future. Sometimes the data points to a ‘faster horse’ approach which inevitably leads to an also-ran product. I’m reminded of this blog post from that talks about understanding your customers instead of merely listening to them.

I am a consumer myself and I desire products that are easy to buy, use and love. So, as I publish this inaugural post, I sincerely hope that the Product Managers of the world can find a way credibly bring their own insights and instincts to the table and avoid the pressure to merely collate requests from customers and internal stakeholders. Making magic takes more than just making peace, don’t forget to ask yourself what the solution ought to be.

Author: Ravi Akella

Software and Web Product Manager, living the life in the Pacific NW.

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