Global Media & Entertainment at Amazon

For a lecture in the Business Strategy undergraduate capstone course at Baruch in July 2021, I wrote the below 1 page case study. In the Amazon fashion, I had all of the students read the case during our class, we walked through it answering questions from the students, and then we continued to the discussion questions. I was very impressed with the students, and sharing in case it helps create more great discussions.

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My Personal Productivity System – Getting Sh*t Done in 2021

I was stuck inside for a rainy Memorial Day Weekend in NJ, thinking a lot about how I could make the most of my time. This inevitably comes down to the tools and systems I use to prioritize my work and get shit done. I wanted to document how I’m working right now, as it is always a work in progress. The best productivity system is simply what works for you – none of this should be proscriptive, but this is what works for me right now.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to manage myself and my work, since reading Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders and thinking too much about GTD in undergrad. I’ve used everything from a Hipster PDA to Omnifocus to text files. Still, updating my tools and systems is typically on my “not a priority” list these days. Despite the popularity of thoughtbois, working on your personal productivity system has extreme diminishing returns.

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Newsletters – May, 2021

About a year ago, I shared the newsletters I subscribe to. I still think newsletters, in addition to a properly curated Twitter feed, are the best way to both stay up to date on relevant news. They are also a great mechanism to support a continuous growth mindset.

There have never been more high quality newsletters as there are right now. Still, as part of how I put Inbox Zero into practice, I avoid subscribing to any newsletter I won’t be reading thoroughly. I am quick to unsubscribe if I find a newsletter is not providing the right ROI for the time invested to read it. With that bar, the newsletters I’m currently reading are all highly recommended if they line up with your interests or career.

New to the list are Not Boring and Lenny’s Newsletter (the latter I was trying out in June 2020). Anything I should be reading not on the list? Let me know.

Optimistic Notes Heading Into 2021

Generally, I am not optimistic about the short term future of the US or the world. I’m not writing songs about it, but there are large problems I don’t see a clear path to resolving. Still, as we head into 2021, there are a few areas where I am cautiously optimistic.

Finance

Unlike most FinTech companies that are creating a better UX for the same services of old, companies like Stripe, Affirm, and Pipe are building creative, new solutions. These companies will enable new opportunities for entrepreneurs and consumers. When everything is online, everything is data. Internet-native financial engineers are just getting started making use of this data, and I’m excited for what it could mean. Pipe looks like it could be capital-as-a-service at scale, helping companies grow and founders maintain equity, and Affirm is making it easier for both sides of large transactions. Stripe truly seems to just be getting started building the financial rails of the internet. As similar product offerings mature to become more accessible, I’m optimistic the global impact, especially from supporting or enabling small businesses, will be significant. Stripe’s continued global focus alone is responsible for much of this optimism.

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All Usage is Not Created Equal

Every product manager needs a detailed understanding of how their product is used. In a desire to be data-driven*, most PMs jump to Google Analytics or its equivalent (I have a problem with how ‘data-driven’ is used when it comes to product management, but that’s another post). To really understand how your product is being used, you can’t just rely on the raw data. You’ll need a framework to understand the data, the right metrics, and anecdotes to paint a fuller picture.

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