Shower Thoughts, Inner Circles, Networks and Prioritization
Monthly Review from January
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 endowment effect is the psychological finding that people value things they own more than things they don’t. So, once you have something, you feel like it is worth more than when you don’t have it. Once you recognize the endowment effect or loss aversion, you will begin to see it more frequently. Hopefully you can more easily identify it in yourself as well. When are you holding onto things or valuing your own possessions (or ideas) more simply because you have them already?
Working on the right thing is one of the most important aspects of product development. It is one of the key roles of product management. So understanding the right framework for getting our priorities correct is critical for all product managers and product teams. We can’t overlook the broader strategic prioritization framework while we’re considering how to prioritize within our products. So don’t miss the forest for the trees, or the strategy for the backlog.
Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore is a classic for good reason. The principles are as relevant today as they were 20 years ago. And while the companies continually change, the need to understand that our marketing, sales, and product development need to adapt in order to meet the needs of the right group of customers at the right time will always be constant.
I know that this is the case for me. I count on my daily time in the shower or walking to let my mind wander for a bit. It is always my most creative time of the day. From the WP article:
“Research shows that what is known as the “shower effect” also can occur outside the shower, and many of our best thoughts don’t happen at work or school — but occur while going about our days with ideas incubating in the background.
In a 2019 study, 98 professional writers and 87 physicists recorded their most creative idea each day, as well as what they were doing and thinking when it struck them.
While most of the ideas occurred at work, 20 percent of their most meaningful ideas came while doing something else — washing dishes or taking a shower. Notably, the ideas the writers and physicists had away from their jobs were self-assessed to be just as creative and important as the ones they had at work.”
I find this fascinating to read about and think about. Because our minds are so complex and intriguing.
“Even if there is a very strong neurological similarity between memories and experiences, we know that they can’t be exactly the same. “People don’t get confused between them,” said Serra Favila, a postdoctoral scientist at Columbia University and the lead author of a recent Nature Communications study. Her team’s work has identified at least one of the ways in which memories and perceptions of images are assembled differently at the neurological level.”
Pricing and packaging are difficult because most people and companies don’t know how to do them well. But with the right data and right strategy, we can create the right pricing and packaging for our products and the right framework to ensure we are exchanging value with our customers in the best way. Marcos and Kyle discuss pricing, strategy, and more. You won’t want to miss this excellent discussion!
Inventing, Launching, and Positioning New Products - A Conversation with Inventor and Founder Eli Packouz
Finding the right product-market fit comes down to solving a meaningful problem that people care about and are willing to pay for. Eli and Kyle discuss his journey inventing and launching multiple products across different industries, lessons learned, and how to ensure you not only find the right product-market fit, but have the right people involved along the way.
“You are never going to be ready, you are only going to be less unprepared.”
The idea of a network has been coming up for me more and more this month. Just how impactful the right connection at the right moment can be. And you never know when that can happen. So I enjoyed this podcast that touched on that topic along with several others.
If you think about the people in your life, it's likely that they share a lot in common with you. Maybe they like the same kinds of food, or enjoy the same hobbies. But, if you dig a little deeper, you may find that they share much more: they might make the same amount of money as you, or share the same race. This week, we talk with economists Luigi Pistaferri and Matthew Jackson about why we often surround ourselves with people who are just like us — and how we can transform our lives by pushing back against this phenomenon.
I recently finished this book and it was excellent. If you want to know more about Tolkien’s second age of Middle Earth, you’ll learn a lot and enjoy it. And also see why so many of us were really upset about Rings of Power and just how far outside of the actual timeline it strayed.
I’m a sucker for Roman history and concrete. I find all of this history fascinating, which is why some of the recent discoveries around Roman concrete are so cool. My wife and I recently got back from a trip to Rome, so count this as doubly cool. Romans apparently used a special type of limestone in their concrete, and also hot-mixed it, making it incredibly durable. It still blows my mind they were doing this over 2000 years ago, and then we lost the knowledge of concrete making until recently!
“The team then produced samples of what’s called “hot-mixed concrete” using both Roman and modern methods. After the materials hardened, the scientists deliberately cracked the samples and ran water through the cracks.
For the sample using ancient mixing techniques, ‘the cracks had completely healed’ within two weeks, and water no longer flowed through the material. The lime clasts had aided in a chemical process that resulted in ‘self-healing.’ Meanwhile, an identical chunk of concrete without the lime-clast structure never healed, and the water just kept flowing through the sample.
The difference is that scientists believe the Roman process involved a highly chemically reactive form of lime called quicklime that aided in the self-healing process. That lime form is not used to make concrete today.”