Archive for July, 2014

Book Review – Making it right: Product management for a startup world

I recently read Rian van der Merwe’s new book, “Making it right: Product management for a startup world“. It’s a great book! And the reviews on Amazon agrees…

“Like a product management mentor.”

“Solid, practical, advice on Product Management.”

“Done right – a clear and readable guide to product management.”

“Great must read for Product Managers, and, more importantly, anyone who works with Product Management.”

This last review is quite significant for me in a very specific way and that is who this book is written for.

In the introduction, Rian draws the attention of two specific groups of people “anyone considering a career in product management” and “those who have been in the field for a while and are looking for a more formal framework for the work they do.” But as the last reviewer stated correctly, this book is also for those who work with PM’s. That includes marketers, developers, designers, and more.

I’m a designer. I’ve never been a product manager and I don’t have a particular desire to become one soon either.

But I found that this book is relevant for me for 2 reasons (there’s probably more…):

Reason 1: You’ll get to appreciate them more…

PM’s are the firefighters when the product is about to burn down, the security guards to fend off feature creep and the bouncers who keeps his club (team) safe. This realisation hasn’t only shown me who they are but has also created an immense amount of respect for them.

Reason 2: You’ll become better at what you do…

PM’s are more than firefighters, security guards and bouncers. If you allow them, they might also proof themselves to be a mentor. Sometimes they need to reprimand us. Sometimes push us to go the extra pixel. And sometimes ask the tough questions. All, so that we can perfect our craft.

So, in closing…

Well done to my friend Rian! You’ve accomplished a mammoth task – one you most probably didn’t even intend to accomplish. This book will enable me (and others working with PM’s) to be better at what we do. And perhaps also to be better Product Managers one day…


How the iPad helped to shape the birth of the iPhone

Apple’s first iteration of the iPhone, was to modify the iPod in such a way that the track wheel could be used to scroll through the various phone options, but trying to enter new numbers using this technique soon proved itself to be very problematic. It just wasn’t a natural fit.

But while the iPhone team was trying to convince themselves that people would mainly call people who were already in their address book, another team was secretly working on a tablet computer – a device that would have a multi-touch screen. Steve was so amazed by it, that the two stories eventually intersected, and the ideas for the tablet flowed into the planning for the iPhone.

So actually the idea of the iPad came before, and helped shape the birth of the iPhone…

iOS And OS X’s New Symbiotic Relationship

Last week I found John Gruber’s post, Only Apple. It’s a relatively long but insightful post on why only Apple can do the things they do. It’s defintely worth the read.

Meanwhile, as I made my way through the pages of Steve Jobs’ autobiography, I came across a particular section that gave me a slight bit of de ja vu.

In 1999, Adobe decided not to create a Mac version of their popular video editing application, Premiere.

Jobs, in his old fashioned way, was furious beyond himself.

But as expected, shortly after the fallout, Apple started to produce application software for the Mac. It was the origins of Final Cut Studio, iMovie, iPhoto and many other.

Together with the computer, software, applications and a FireWire cable, the full potential of the camcoder, for example, could now be unlocked. Instead of having hours of raw footage locked up on your camera, you now had the ability to create your own movies with iMovie.

A digital hub was born and Jobs became even more of a believer in providing end-to-end solutions.

From Steve’s autobiography comes a piece that was beautifully echoed by Tim Cook at this years WWDC:

The beauty of this realization was that there was only one company that was well-positioned to provide such an integrated approach. Microsoft wrote software, Dell and Compaq made hardware, Sony produced a lot of digital devices, Adobe developed a lot of applications. But only Apple did all of these things. “We’re the only company that owns the whole widget – the hardware, the software and the operating system,” he explained to Time. “We can take full responsibility for the user experience. We can do things the other guys cant do.”

And here’s the echo by Tim, 16 years later:

Apple engineers platforms, devices, and services together. We do this so that we can create a seamless experience for our users that is unparalleled in the industry. This is something only Apple can do.

It’s like a symphony… Beautiful.

With the long awaited announcement of iOS and OS X’s new symbiotic relationship, Apple are now even more able to do what no one else can…

This is a major step into the future for Apple. The seamless relationship between iOS and OS X will now not only allow them to create a more unified experience for their current product line, but also for whatever they announce in coming WWDC’s…