I just finished reading The Messy Middle by Scott Belsky and highly recommend it for product managers at both startups and established tech firms. Scott Belsky shares his lessons learned optimizing and enduring the messy and unsexy middle every product goes through before (hopefully) thriving. He does a great job of sharing lessons from his own experience founding Behance and navigating Adobe post acquisition, as well from the many startups he has worked with as an investor or advisor, including Pinterest, Airbnb, Periscope, Square, and more.
It's a difficult book to summarize because it's organized as 100+ mini-essays that succinctly teach a specific best practice around optimizing your team, your product, and yourself. But what I loved most was that Scott brought a far more human lens to creating winning products than traditional product best practices. I wanted to share 5 such non-obvious lessons that really stem from Scott's deep understanding of human behavior, human psychology, and human intuition.
After spending over a decade in product management in organizations large and small, I've come to believe that great product management is 60% substance and 40% style.
The substance of product management is the hard skills you need to learn and excel at to build great products: customer discovery, prioritizing a roadmap, deriving insights from data, and so much more. But equally important is the soft skills needed to get things done: effective communication, influence without authority, executive management, and more. I call this the style of product management. I find that the best product managers spend about 60% of their time on the substance of product management, while the remaining 40% is spent on the style of product management.
Video: Developing a Continuous Feedback Loop
Slides: Developing a Continuous Feedback Loop
Essay: Designing Your Product's Continuous Feedback Loop
Earlier this year True Ventures invited to me to speak at True University, their annual conference for portfolio companies. I decided to expand upon an essay I originally wrote in 2016 about developing a continuous feedback loop for your product with detailed case studies of how I have implemented such a feedback loop for my current startup, Notejoy, as well as while leading LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Wanted to share the video, slides, and original essay from that talk.
Podcast on SoundCloud
Ravi Sapata recently interviewed me for his Yours Productly podcast in a mega 2 hour discussion on my journey building Notejoy, the collaborative notes app for your entire team, that we launched just a few months back.
Today I’m excited to announce the launch of the productivity app my co-founder Ada and I have been building over the last 2 years. Meet Notejoy, a better way to organize team docs.