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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Building Frames: Mental Models for Product Management

Adapted from a presentation originally shared at Yeshiva University’s Katz School of Science and Health.

When starting as a Product Manager, knowing the responsibilities and goals is only the first step. The responsibilities of a PM can vary drastically from team to team or project to project. It is important to have different ways of thinking about the role in order to properly orient yourself. This is a sample of my toolkit that serves as a baseline for how I think about the Product Manager role and any problem, feature request, or new initiative I encounter.

CEO of the Product

One of the common mental models for thinking about product management. Being the CEO of the Product sounds enticing, but it is important to consider what this does not mean.

This model does not mean you will be:

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Reading 6 Hours Per Day

Warren Buffet spends five to six hours reading every day. I’m always trying to read more, but this quote made me think more specifically about how much and what I am reading. This is my ideal breakdown for reading in a day:

Current events, business news, and related research3 hours
Fun, relaxing read (fiction, well written business books or case studies)1 hour
Social media1 hour
Growth reading (academic papers, books outside my core focus)1 hour

Newsletters – June, 2020

Email newsletters (in addition to a well curated Twitter feed) are the best way to stay aware of current events, learn from subject matter experts, and broaden one’s understanding of key issues. Newsletters are growing in popularity for a reason!

This is my list of newsletters I currently subscribe to:

Stratechery by Ben Thompson

Sinocism by Bill Simmons

Money Stuff by Matt Levine

Two Truths and a Take by Alex Danco

The Diff by Byrne Hobart

Benedict’s Newsletter by Benedict Evans

I also try to sample a new newsletter every month or so. The Diff was a recent sample that I’m definitely sticking with. Currently, I’m also subscribed to Lenny Rachitsky’s newsletter.

I don’t recommend all of these to everyone, but, if they match with your interests, all of the above are worth checking out.