Data Informed Product Management

Last month I was invited to give a talk at Google Campus and Product School. I talked about how product managers can use data to evaluate the health of our products, ship the right product or features and define a roadmap and strategy. But hey… not everything is about data.

It was a nice experience, not only for having the opportunity of sharing my passion but to meet other colleagues.

Check the presentation:

Provocative competence

Just read the article “Please make yourself uncomfortable” from Ken Norton where Frank Barrett captures one essential aspect of leadership in this quote:

“The goal is the opposite of conformity: a leader’s job is to create the discrepancy and dissonance that trigger people to move away from habitual positions and repetitive patterns.”

Well, the article it is not purely about leadership, it talks about product management and jazz and how making innovative products requires the ability to surrender to the unknown, to follow the music wherever that goes. Tt’s a recommended reading (together with this letter from Slack CEO).

But this article made me reflect again on mediocrity and leadership. Mediocrity can arise in many forms: managers remaining silent or providing optimistic or filtered information (check Nokia case), employees evaluated subjectively, relaxed accountability (for them and for their employees) or managers playing it safe and shooting for staying under the radar.

Rise the bar since day 0. Kick your hiring standards up a notch and don’t settle for less. And continue doing it every single day, restlessly. That should be the norm and it should be defended regularly and vigilantly.



Not a big fan of scaling frameworks

This post is about Agile Scaling frameworks. But it could be applied to any kind of scaling framework in an organization.

I am not a big fan of frameworks. We should reflect on our challenges and areas for improvements, instead of look into what framework to use. Scaling frameworks are just inspiration. But the real focus should be the people. For scaling an organization, for pushing a transformation we need to know and understand the people and their interactions. An organizational change will come only if its individuals change.

Several years ago I spent a lot of hours thinking about frameworks and practices. I did not know what framework to use. And I remember a wise man telling me: “Do not force anything. Start with a clean slate and the organization will rise as a person develops his/her limbs and personality”. Each organization is different as each person is different as well. Don’t force anything. We need to spend as much time as needed understanding them so we can help them.

Of course, in this path we will run into practical problems. And we can get inspired by a framework or another. And if it is applicable, suggest it to our teams. But the first step should challenge them and see how they would do it. Help them to build their framework.

Bye bye 2015. Welcome 2016.

2015 is fading and within hours it will be history. It has been a great (and a hard) year. I have been able to fulfill most of my goals and challenges for this year and I feel really proud. My leg and back prevented me from running a 20k, and old resolution. But this is coming with me for this new year and this time I am pretty sure I will do it.

Lyon, Oporto, Scottish road trip, Finland, India, the beach… what an awesome year for traveling.  I have discovered new cultures, enjoyed beautiful places and known amazing people. I have taken notes and reflected on a lot of things I would like to share here sometime this new year. Especially my Indian adventure.

And music. A lot of concerts. A lot of festivals. Have you ever enjoyed a music festival? No? What are you waiting for? Primavera Sound, Lowcost Festival, Mulafest, FIZ… Sometimes the same groups, but never the same experience.

“To win, to win, to win… and to win again”. This is the well-known quote from Luis Aragonés, Atletico de Madrid former coach. For me, this year, it has been… “To learn, to learn, to learn… and to learn again”. Learning is non-negotiable. And regarding that, this year was totally worth it, not only professionally but personally.

Welcome 2016. Hope this year I can get the write habit-loop working. The read habit-loop is ongoing already. These have been my self-gifts (is this a word?) for this new year:

  • Team of Teams – General Stanley McChrystal
  • Misbehaving – Richard H Thaler
  • The Rise Of The Robots – Martin Ford
  • Red Notice – Bill Browder
  • Work Rules! – Laszlo Bock
  • How to Fly a Horse – Kevin Ashton
  • El mundo de Sofía  – Joseph Gaarder
  • Drive – Daniel Pink
  • Thing Explainer – Randall Munroe
  • Habibi & Blankets – Craig Thompson
  • The Arrival – Shaun Tan
  • Insight Out: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and Into the World – Tina Seelig

And I have taken up again my PhD studies.

Bye bye 2015, and thank you. Welcome 2016, and bring it on.

I’ve been hacked

This personal page has been hacked. I have restored the last backup but I lost a lot of things. I am trying to recover them one by one. Unfortunately, my latest posts are gone forever :(.

Probably this is the work of a script kiddie that enjoys exploiting a WordPress vulnerability or similar. I really don’t understand the purpose of this. A game for him, a lot of hours lost for me. But not everything is negative, I learnt something: work on your site security, even if it is just a personal page.

There is no perfect security, but I have to make them harder. My fault.


On not writing

It’s been a few months since my last post. I admire people who have the gall to blog often. I really do. When I started this personal page I had the impulse of doing the same. I wanted to develop the habit of writing. But this is harder than I thought it would be. While it felt good at the beginning I felt that the quality of those posts was low.

When you develop a product you can start building a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and then improve it. Iterating and pivoting based on your customers feedback to get a polished end product. Trying to use this model with writing is not easy. Well, if you do it you are writing a book, not a blog. I have several posts on going but without readers your motivation is quickly vanquished.

These past months have been chaotic in my life and this has not helped either. But I feel the need motivation of writing again. I am leaving for India in some days. This could be a new reboot (not only Fantastic Fours gets reboots) for this blog :).

Zappos Holacracy

Do you know what Holacracy is? If not, you may want to check this: Now, let’s talk about Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO. Several weeks ago, Hsieh sent an internal memo to all his employees giving them the freedom of choice to align with major changes in the company. Holacracy is a new management structure, a tool designed for companies to become self-organizing. Zappos has been rolling out Holacracy since 2013. In this memo Hsieh describes the theory behind self-organization and he makes it clear: this is not a bluff. This is the path for the company and those who are reluctant to change must look for jobs in another company.

You can see the entire memo if you continue reading.

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It’s a kind of magic

It’s a kind of magic. For some time I have enjoyed those first minutes of every Disney movie like a child. In a way, this is the representation of Disney creativity. And its evolution. You can see, for example, the impact Pixar has had on Disney during these last years.

So… for those Disney fans like me, this will be a gift. A ten minutes video showing all pictures intro logo variations from Disney Movies.