Product Roadmaps, Mechanical Watches, and the Science of Fun
Monthly Wrap from February
Another month, another host of great articles, listens, books and other finds from Product Thinking and around the internet. Here’s what you may have missed.
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The Messiness of Doing The Work
The creation process is always messy. We can’t avoid it. As we work to dig and uncover the right things to do, those of us doing the work are often down in the hole shoveling mud. But that is how we eventually get to the right thing.
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Product Roadmaps: What Are They Good For?
Product roadmaps are a critical part of any product and organization. If you’re just operating out of Jira, delivering features, with only a rough idea of why, then you may be missing the opportunity to really deliver the best value to your company and users.
A roadmap won’t fix everything (and is often the source of its own problems), but having a product vision and strategy that you can communicate, prioritize against, and ultimately deliver on through your roadmap, will make you a much better product manager and a better product organization.
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Zone to Win: Book Review
The book Zone to Win by Geoffrey Moore offers good insight into the need for separating zones in an organization. Using the three horizons framework, it makes sense to allow different types of innovations to operate differently.
While the focus of the book is clearly on larger companies (Microsoft and Salesforce are the two companies used as case studies), many of the principles apply to any organization.
Fat, Sugar, Salt … You’ve Been Thinking About Food All Wrong (Wired)
This was a really great read about the food we eat and how systemic the problems are.
“It wasn’t just ingredients that made a food unhealthy, Monteiro thought. It was the whole system: how the food was processed, how quickly we ate it, and the way it was sold and marketed…Every day from breakfast to dinner you are consuming something that was engineered to be overconsumed…Overconsumption of ultra-processed food has been linked to all kinds of health issues: colorectal and breast cancer, obesity, depression, and all-cause mortality.”
Here's why you should make a habit of having more fun (NPR)
I think this is timely and important for all of us, myself included. It is so easy to stay focused and serious all the time.
“Science has just begun to study the importance of fun and play, so there's not a strict definition. But Rucker writes that fun generally involves doing something active and intentional (as opposed to mindlessly watching TV), often includes other people, is something you choose for yourself, and can give a thrill that transcends the ordinary.”
Product Development, Launches, and Lifecycle Management - A Conversation with Founder Karthik Suresh
Karthik worked at large companies like KCG and Facebook, and saw the difficulty of managing go-to-market and product launches. Which is partly why he co-founded Ignition, a hub for planning, executing, and measuring GTM launches. In this episode, we discuss product positioning, messaging, and taking products to market. We also discuss doing things that align with our purposes and personal long-term goals rather than just working for the sake of work.
Prioritization, Focus, and Strategy - A Conversation with Entrepreneur Michelle Nedelec
Finding a market need, solving difficult problems, and scaling a business around those solutions. That’s the journey Michelle has taken in her business. We discuss productizing software and solutions, prioritization and focus, creating a strategy before tactics, and appropriate segmentation for products and businesses.
Product Discovery and Managing Company Procedures - A Conversation with CEO and Founder Owen McGab Enaohwo
What started as a problem in his agency business eventually became an idea and product to help other companies manage their processes and procedures. In this episode, Owen and Kyle discuss product discovery, customer interviews, and process documentation.
10 Iconic Watches Every Enthusiast Loves
I’ve been diving deeply into mechanical watches this year, and have been soaking up as much information as I can. Podcasts have been a big source of that. If you’re interested in understanding more about the fascinating world of watches and watchmaking, I’m including a few interesting introduction episodes here. This one is about some of the most iconic watches in the world and why they are so loved.
Horology with Cameron Weiss
Continuing with the theme of watches, Cameron has his own microbrand, Weiss Watch Company, that creates and sells pretty cool mechanical watches. He trained in Switzerland and now plies his craft here in the US.
Upgrade by Blake Crouch
I recently finished Upgrade by Blake Crouch, who is one of my favorite authors. Two of my favorite books are Recursion and Dark Matter. While this one doesn’t quite live up to the other two, it is still a really good read and I agree with where it gets to in the end.
Keeping with my theme of watches for this month, I picked up a really great watch from a microbrand out of New York, Brew Watches. It is a meca-quartz movment, meaning it is a hybrid between mechanical and quartz (battery). It is just a beautiful design and we may be changing this newsletter to a watch newsletter soon.