33 / Learn Fast, Learn Well With Experimentation


Experimentation is not about right or wrong. It’s about learning things that you genuinely didn’t know. The secret is to become comfortable with the uncomfortable and to make room for your own sense of  vulnerability. When you’re able to embrace not knowing something, or have experiments come back that disprove your hypotheses, you’re going to discover amazing insights that benefit you, your team, and your organization.

In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Holly Hester-Reilly, Founder and CEO of H2R Product Science. In this dynamic and fast-paced conversation, Holly discusses her approach to the product science method, one that focuses on using science and empathy to manage risk while building high-growth products and teams.

“Our job as product people is to manage the risk of product failure,” Holly says. “Part of that risk is to avoid looking bad in front of our teams, peers, and managers. We have to shift the mindset and the conversation away from right or wrong so that we can begin to pride ourselves on learning new things.”

Product leaders have an enormous role to play here, Holly adds. “The only way for us to make that mindset shift is for us to be the example by calling out when the people around us learn something new and saying, ‘that’s what we want to see more of!’”

Listen in to catch more from Holly:

[02:16] The product science method. It’s really about the difference between what people say they will do and what they actually do.

[02:58] Design experiments around past behaviors, not abstracts and hypotheticals.

[04:51] The role of data and metrics. The cool thing about software is we can actually measure how users behave. The right metrics …that’s the best possible predictor of future behavior.

[07:42] Why smart companies with reams of data still make flawed product launches. They’re too comfortable.

[08:25] The Emperor’s New Clothes. Do we have the willingness to be uncomfortable, to be the person who will stand up and say to the boss, “here are the reasons why your pet project is going to fail.”?

[10:12] Confirmation bias. Channeling Richard Feynman, “you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

[10:45] Rapid research. You have to be super-focused on the most important thing to learn and let go of the idea that you might not learn the other things.

[12:38] Exposure therapy. The more times that you’re exposed to something, the more comfortable you become with it.

[15:05] Optimism bias. Gets in the way of making good business decisions like so, so much.

[16:14] How long does it take to change somebody’s mind about their pet project?

[17:49] The role of experimentation. It’s not about being right. It’s about learning things we don’t already know.

[21:19] Premortem risk assessment. Put yourself in a place where risk is already assumed to be real.

[22:34] Our job as product people is to manage the risk of product failure.

[24:02] The difference between good and fantastic product research.

[25:46] Take a snapshot. Make sure that your team is situating who your customer is within the strategy of the product.

[27:22]  Practicing discovery. As a product leader, you should have a strategy that is a series of product-market fits.

[28:27] Measuring the value of research. Two parts: quantify the value of research and know when you’ve done enough of it.

[32:10] “Faster horses.” At least you know what outcome your users want.

[33:48] Innovation. Innovation drives a significant change. It doesn’t just increase the amount of something you’re selling: the revenue, the number of users. It changes the rate of that.

Holly’s Recommended Reading

Indistractable, by Nir Eyal.

Check out more of Holly’s insights by catching her H2R Product Science articles and podcast.

About Holly

Holly Hester-Reilly is the Founder and CEO of H2R Product Science, a product management coaching and consulting firm that teaches the science of high-growth product development. Holly is a former Columbia University research scientist and has led over a dozen successful digital product initiatives at startups, high-growth companies, and enterprises like MediaMath, Shutterstock, Lean Startup Co., and WeightWatchers. With those experiences, she has developed the Product Science Method, a framework to discover the strongest product opportunities and lay the foundations for high-growth products, teams, and businesses. 

Her team at H2R Product Science partners with startup founders and product leaders to share this framework, helping them to figure out which product growth opportunities they should pursue and build the product management skill to deliver on their goals. 

Holly also teaches public and private workshops and has spoken about building high-growth products for events such as Lean Startup Summit Europe, growth equity firm General Atlantic’s CIO summit, top boutique design and development agency Thoughtbot’s employee summit, ProductTankNYC, Parsons School of Design, and the Product School.

Be sure to tune in as Holly hosts The Product Science Podcast.

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32 / Take An Objective Approach to Prioritization


A lot of times product managers take a overly narrow view of prioritization without giving full consideration to the impact of decisions we make. Whether to add another new feature to our backlog – and which one? Is there a new market segment we should explore? Do we need a new vision for our product? For the organization?

In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul catch up with Jeff Lash – Vice President of Product Management Research at Forrester. Too often, Jeff says, stakeholders see the viability of an opportunity but not its feasibility (and vice versa). We take an overly subjective approach to prioritization and lose sight of the vision we set for the product and organization.

Listen in as Jeff describes his approach to prioritization. By applying a more objective standard – in fact, Jeff recommends establishing a prioritization framework – product teams act with confidence guided by a vision and strategy that are both clearly articulated and widely communicated across the organization.

Product managers, he believes, need to be general managers of their “commercially minded enterprise, so we need to act like the business owner, running our products like a business.”

Here’s more:

[02:51]  Why the product manager role is so misunderstood. Has anyone ever taken the time to explain, “this is what we expect of you.”?

[03:39]  Vision and strategy. Do product managers understand that this is part of their role?

[05:11]  Balancing the tactical and strategic. It’s about mindset, understanding all the responsibilities.

[07:03]  Product management in a remote environment. The more distant you are from your team, the more you need to document and communicate.

[08:40]  What’s your horizon? If your vision and strategy hold true for the long term, avoid dramatic shifts.

[10:21]  3 levels of prioritization. Sprint, Release, Organization.

[11:36]  Is there such a thing as the perfect formula?

[13:12]  Decision making in the absence of strategy and vision. Good luck.

[15:07]  Frameworks. Help the process along by making it as objective as possible.

[18:53] The definition of product management.

[20:32] Which personas need your attention most? Understand (and balance) the broad range of user personas as well as buyer personas.

[21:41] Incremental revenue vs. Retention effect. One addresses why people buy, the other why people stay.

[26:30]  Guiding principles. Does this feature help one of our guiding principles? If yes, add it to the backlog. If not,.…

[28:44] Fly your banner. Discipline in the face of initial challenges.

[29:29] Decision making is not about yes and no. It’s about understanding the impact of both.

[31:32] Hidden treasures. If you want to find those hidden treasures, the unmet needs, you have to apply different techniques.

[33:10] Citing Margaret Mead. “What people say, what people do, and what people say they will do are entirely different things.”

[35:15] Innovation. How do you take an idea and make it a reality? How do you take an idea and turn it into something that is actually in the market?

Jeff’s Recommended Reading

Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make Competition Irrelevant, by W. Chan Kim and Rene Mauborgne.

Want more Jeff? Check out his blog, How To Be A Good Product Manager.

About Jeff

Jeff Lash is a recognized thought leader in product management, with 15+ years experience in the development of Web-based products and SaaS. His product management career includes both new product introductions and major turnarounds of existing product lines, as well as introduction of the product management role into organizations.

In his current role as VP, Group Director, Product Management Research at Forrester, Jeff and his team help product management leaders create world-class organizations and elevate the abilities and expertise of their teams to drive measurable and repeatable product success and business growth.

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31 / How To Get The Positioning Right


In tech, as in life, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. That might be one of the coolest aspects about building super-exciting software products. There’s any number of ways to get the job done. As product people, we lend our education, our experience, and our intuition to improving people’s lives. Our varied life circumstances inform both our efforts and the many potential means by which we pursue success.

For April Dunford, who joins Sean and Paul in this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, getting your Positioning right is the straw that stirs the drink. “Positioning is foundational to everything that follows,” April confidently points out. “It essentially defines how your product is uniquely qualified to be a leader at something that a well-defined set of customers cares a lot about.”

April isn’t shy in proclaiming the mission-critical role that Positioning plays in product success. Nor is she bashful in calling out product-market fit as “a myth” (and making an interesting case in the process).

Listen in to catch April’s thoughts on those topics, as well as the following:

[02:20]  Product managers & product marketers. We’re sort of becoming hip. We’re cool now.

[04:27]  Positioning is foundational. In fact, it’s so foundational that we either think it’s already been done…or that we can’t do anything about it anyway.

[06:32]  Positioning. What it is; what it isn’t.

[09:16]  Good-fit customers. You want a pipeline of those.

[09:38]  Bad-fit customers. Cull the herd.

[13:13] Good fit means “good for the customer and good for the business.”

[13:50]  Segmentation. So much more than demographics and firmographics.

[15:51]  Actionable Customer Segmentation. Catch how April’s discovery process leads to actionable customer segmentation.

[19:45]  Product-market fit. “I do have a bit of hate on for product-market fit.”

[26:10]  Product-market fit part deux. “It’s baloney. It’s not a thing.”

[27:32]  Magic marketing moment. When everything feels easy. Like you’re running down hill.

[30:01]  (product + category) x Trend. Trends are accelerants to positioning. They make your stuff seem sexier.

[31:04]  Trends part deux. The trend answers the question, “Why now?”.

[32:49]  In competition with the status quo. Doing nothing is always an option for customers.

[34:00]  Positioning: investors vs. customers. Why the pitch is so different. (hint: it’s about value)

[36:39]  Innovation. There’s lots of ways to be innovative outside of the technology.

[38:23]  Acquisition features and retention features. One to set the hook, the other to make sure it stays there.

[43:23]  Positioning as a superpower. It can change the way both your team and the world think about the problems you solve, your technology, or even your entire market.


April’s Recommended Reading

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended on It, by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz.

Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning So That Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It, by April Dunford.

About April

April Dunford is a consultant, author, speaker, and globally recognized expert in Positioning. She helps technology companies make complicated products easy for customers to understand and love. Previously, April has run marketing, product, and sales teams at a series of successful technology startups and has launched 16 products into market. She is also a board member, investor, and advisor to dozens of high-growth businesses and is the author of the best-selling book Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get it, Buy it, Love it.


30 / Essential Components of Product Culture


Before we jump headlong into implementing Lean or Agile. Before we decide that OKRs offer the best chance to set goals and measure results. And before we determine that a particular design methodology will lead us to successful product development, product leaders need to understand the “underlying cultural things about teams and about companies that need to be addressed first.

“You’ve got to get straight the ‘why are we here?’ questions,” says Bruce McCarthy, who joined Sean and Paul in this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast. According to Bruce, the founder of Product Culture and author of the book, Product Roadmaps Relaunched, we cannot meet our lofty goals – let alone the aspirational ones – without first embracing the cultural aspects that explain our place in the world.

What problems are we solving? Why, and for whom? How will we work together to achieve our objectives? What is our mission – our purpose in the world?

When we focus on these questions, we begin to understand the intersection of product culture and product management. In many ways the two overlap, Bruce explains.

Product management is “a role, a discipline, and a set of tools and responsibilities.” Product culture, on the other hand, is less tangible. It gives valuable insight about how product managers prioritize resource allocation, formulate decisions, and deliver value for their customers.

In many ways, good product culture is a “we know it when we see it” sort of thing. What’s most enlightening is the way Bruce brings to life an organization’s culture through the eyes of the customer.

Product culture has a Vision that empowers the customer, a Plan that delivers value in incremental steps along the path to vision fulfillment, and an outcome-based effort by a diverse Team aligned around that common vision.

Tune in to hear more from Bruce, including:

[02:01] Product Culture talks about those cultural aspects of why we’re here, how we work together, how we think about the purpose of going to work every day that’s mostly on my mind.

[03:49] Product management and product culture. Considerable overlap, but significant differences.

[03:49] Three elements of product culture: vision, plan, team.

[06:45] “Things are impossible until they’re not.” It’s the history of Innovation.

[07:52] Innovation is not about changing technology. It’s about our perception of what’s possible.

[10:33] Have you heard the story of General Magic?

[13:29] Product as vehicle. Radhika Dutt: “A product is a vehicle for making change in the world.”

[14:01] What killed Blackberry? They forgot, or never realized, that they were a status symbol.

[15:15] Product success and the Venn diagram. When feasible and viable come into overlap.

[15:59] The product manager’s role in roadmapping. Speak vision into the roadmap.

[17:30] The right feature? It depends on what problem you’re trying to solve.

[21:20] Outcome teams. The 4th level of product teams.

[24:49] The nature of software development. Building one-offs for the first time, every time.

[28:04] Prioritization. Why it’s the fundamental skill of the product manager.

[32:34] Tactics for up-and-coming PMs. Agree, prioritize, align, repeat.

[37:40] Imagination. The ability to envision something that does not yet exist.

[40:31] Innovation. Feasible, viable, badass.

Bruce’s Recommended Reading:

Team Objectives – Overview, by Marty Cagan. Silicon Valley Product Group. February 24, 2020.

Off to Be the Wizard, by Scott Meyer.

Product Roadmaps Relaunched: How to Set Direction while Embracing Uncertainty, by C. Todd Lombardo, Bruce McCarthy, Evan Ryan, and Michael Connors.

About Bruce

Bruce McCarthy helps growing organizations achieve their product visions through workshops, coaching, and speaking at events around the world. Bruce co-wrote Product Roadmaps Relaunched: How to Set Direction while Embracing Uncertainty and opines regularly about Product Culture.

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29 / Empathy Is the Catalyst for Innovation


Design thinking calls on product people to put themselves in their customer’s shoes. To empathize with them. Saleema Vellani agrees, but adds that empathy is borne out of self-awareness and that understanding others requires us first to understand ourselves. 

In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Saleema Vellani, author of the soon-to-be-released Innovation Starts with I. Saleema explains how practicing empathy, more specifically compassionate empathy, requires a shift in mindset that helps us truly connect with our product’s users in deeper, more meaningful ways. 

“Compassionate empathy is becoming increasingly important,” Saleema says. “It’s not about just understanding a person, what they’re feeling. It’s actually feeling moved to help them.” To understand that connection, she adds, is to be the catalyst for innovation.

Listen in to catch Saleema’s easy-to-implement practical tips for product managers and their teams. What you’ll hear:

[01:59] The future of our product space. AI, machine learning, and automation is creating a lot of job displacement. But with it is coming exciting new product roles and opportunities.

[02:12] The “Augmented Age.” The human skills (e.g., emotional intelligence, empathy, critical thinking, cultural intelligence, technology, and data science.)

[03:39] 3 types of Empathy. Emotional empathy, cognitive empathy, and compassionate empathy.

[03:46] Innovation Starts with I. Practicing empathy starts with first understanding oneself.

[03:55] Design thinking guides us understand our customers, to put ourselves in their shoes.

[04:00] Associative thinking helps us first understand who we are and then connect seemingly unrelated things.

[04:50] Be a “dot connector.” Applying associative thinking to move from self-awareness to compassionate empathy to innovation.

[05:02] Can empathy be learned?

[06:03] Empathy and innovation. Empathy is the engine behind innovation.

[07:12] The “sweet spot” of innovation lies at the intersection of feasibility, viability, and desirability.

[09:11] Product radical listening. The key to a more holistic understanding of the problem.

[09:50] Groupthink. Creativity’s kryptonite.

[10:44] Product people, heal thyself. Starting with I requires an openness to learning about yourself.

[11:52] Product thinking. A newer concept in which product managers need to become product coaches, and more organizations must become product-led.

[12:15] Product thinking, part deux. It’s not just about the products; it starts from understanding yourself.

[13:50] Inclusion as the catalyst for innovation. Inclusion requires learning as much as possible about different stakeholders using tools like empathy mapping, journey mapping, and user experience mapping.

[15:22] Innovation. The process of taking all the things that are already out there and reassembling them in a new way.

[15:49] A “recovering perfectionist.” Wanting to be perfect is counterproductive.

[16:25] Outcomes > outputs. Perfectionists think about outputs. Problem solvers think about outcomes and how they make us feel.

[17:17] GSD (get stuff done). Better to implement something that’s not perfect than have a bunch of half projects hanging waiting for perfection.

[17:56] Compassionate empathy. The kind of empathy that actually moves us to help. It’s solution focused.

[19:59] Tips for product managers. Create psychological safety; let failure be OK. Practice inclusion. Be outcome focused. So many more!

[20:53] The job of product managers is to give value. Giving value starts with using empathy to understand yourself and your customer.

[21:44] Be an intrapreneur in an organization. Help others by giving them autonomy and flexibility, understanding what will make them happy in their work.

[23:50] The difference between listening and making a person feel heard.

[25:06] Understand the problem before jumping to hypotheses. When we take the time to understand the problem, we often learn that the real problem is very different than we initially thought.

[25:14] Innovation is putting together existing things in new ways that create value.


Saleema’s Recommended Reading

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman.

Innovation Starts with I, by Saleema Vellani.

About Saleema

Saleema Vellani is an award-winning innovation strategist, a serial entrepreneur, and the author of the forthcoming book, Innovation Starts With ‘I’.

Saleema is the co-founder of Innovazing, a strategy consulting firm that helps organizations develop business growth and innovation strategies centered in design thinking and agile processes. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University and an advisor to several startups and mission-driven organizations. 

Saleema holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Development from McGill University and a Master’s degree in International Economics and International Relations from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

She is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian and has lived in Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Italy, and the U.S. Born and raised in Canada, she is proud of her multi-cultural upbringing as a Toronto native with East African and Indian roots.

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28 / Savvy PMs Engage All Their Audiences


It was the best of jobs; it was the worst of jobs. (apologies to Mr. Dickens)

While everyone else has carved out their own place in the organization, the product manager is the person nobody works for. And who, it often seems, works for everybody else. But their role also puts them at the center of the action, wielding influence that drives product success.

In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Rich Mironov – a 40-year Silicon Valley product veteran, executive coach, writer, and self-proclaimed smoke jumper (more on that later in the pod). The product manager’s sphere of influence isn’t limited to the user, Rich says, or even to the client. PMs dance to the beat of many drummers, working to convince finance, sales, and customer support – not to mention industry analysts and C-suite executives – why their product is worthy of investment.

As the non-hierarchical leader in the organization, product managers have to meet our audiences where they are, Rich adds, “instead of expecting them to love product management so much that they just want to do it my way.”

Whether you’re a junior product manager still practicing the hard skills or a savvy product leader refining the soft ones, the job of the product manager is about understanding all your audiences and how each rewards you for delivering what’s important to them.

What you’ll hear:

[00:51]  Validation & discovery. Convincing the C-suite to invest here is really hard.

[02:09]  Mistakes we make. We believe our users when they tell us how to fix the problems instead of doing the hard work to figure out what problems they actually have.

[04:20]  Timing. The time to figure out what the market wants is 9, 12, even 15 months before we give the product to the sales team and tell them to go bring money in.

[05:29]  Shock me and surprise me. Use open-ended questions when interviewing users to extract everything out of their heads.

[06:52] Don’t lead the witness. Only after drawing unprompted, unaided insights from customers should you show them mock-ups of your design.

[07:12]  Validate ideas way before we code. Most ideas don’t play out. Better to have them fall flat before we spend the next $2 million dollars building it.

[08:20]  The job of salespeople is to bring money in, not to get all fussy about the technology.

[08:30] When PMs aren’t helping salespeople bring money in, they should make sure they’re building the right product and preparing answers to questions users are going to have.

[09:17]  2 huge changes in product management. The availability of data to help make decisions, and the social network to talk them through.

[10:50]  Why product management is like parenting. We’re not really parents until we’ve gotten some poop on our hands – and laughed about it.

[13:12]  Why product management is like smoke jumping. In both roles, we’re bringing order to chaos.

[14:29]  A note to CEOs. When you’re looking for a product leader, hire for the right skill set.

[16:48] KPIs, OKRs, MAUs, and GA. Performance metrics are not one-size-fits all.

[18:14] The mark of success. Be sure you’re measuring your users’ success, not your own.

[20:23] Keep your developers happy. When they love the product as much as PMs do, they’ll do anything to make it right and keep it that way.

[23:16] Guerilla discovery. How eager are you to embarrass the executive team?

[24:56]  Discovery. You can pay for discovery now, or you can pay later. But make no mistake. You are going to pay – whether by design or default.

[26:10]  The evolution of a product leader’s skills. From the hard skills and workflows to the soft skills and communication.

[27:08]  Outputs vs. outcomes. Which should you invest in?

[27:41]  Resilience. A measure of the product leader’s emotional range.

[28:20]  Product Managers are the product person nobody reports to.

[32:09]  Innovation exists at every level of the organization, at every level of scale.

[34:12]  It’s okay to “beat your chest.” We have to not only love our products; we have to make sure our team gets the credit.

[35:01] Saying ‘thank you’ doesn’t cost a nickel.

Rich’s Recommended Reading

Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams, by Mickey W. Mantle and Ron Lichty.

Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology, by Henry Chesbrough.

Outcomes Over Output: Why customer behavior is the key metric for business success, by Joshua Seiden.

Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value, by Melissa Perri.

John Cutler, blogger on Medium.

Teresa Torres, blogger on Product Talk.

About Rich

Rich Mironov is a 40-year veteran of Silicon Valley software companies.  Currently, he coaches product executives, designs product organizations, and parachutes into companies as interim VP Products/CPO. In an earlier incarnation, Rich was the “product guy” at six B2B start-ups including roles as VP of Product Management and CEO.

Rich is a relentless writer, speaker, teacher, and mentor who has been blogging on software product management since 2002. Rich launched the first Product Camp in 2008. You can catch Rich’s work (blogs, talks, and pods) here



27 / Product Success Starts with a Clear Vision


A product’s vision communicates the change we want to bring to the world. It starts with why, but in the same breath also answers for whom. That’s why the best vision statements are outwardly focused. Product teams craft them not to declare our own goals and aspirations. But to focus attention and energy around the problems we want to solve for our users.

In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Radhika Dutt sits down with Sean and Paul to explain how vision-driven products not only clarify the why and for whom. But they also resist the common diseases that afflict product success. In the absence of a clear vision statement that is uniquely our own, we work without direction. We confuse activity with purposeful effort. And we deliver solutions to problems our users don’t have.

But bringing vision and strategy isn’t enough. Product leaders and their teams need to translate vision and strategy into action. Radical Product Thinking, a movement co-founded by Radhika, provides a step-by-step approach to help teams build game-changing products. It guides teams through a process of applying sound vision, actionable strategy, and effective prioritization to prevent the ailments that end up killing products.

What to listen for:

[01:09]  Maintaining momentum through iteration. The right way to build products is through iteration, but we also need to limit the number of iterations by eliminating the unnecessary ones.

[03:29]  The 2 extremes of Vision statements. One aims to disrupt, reinvent, or revolutionize. The other is focused on business objectives.

[05:03]  Vision statements must be outwardly focused. Users don’t care about a company’s “best in class” aspirations.

[05:36]  3 product diseases. Strategic swelling, obsessive sales disorder, pivotitis.

[06:21]  Radical Product Thinking. It’s a response to repeatedly running into these same diseases no matter the size of the company or the industry you’re in.

[07:58]  Follow your North Star. But don’t be afraid to step back and say, “Wait a minute; we’re following the wrong star.”

[10:34]  Is there risk in being too tied to a vision?

[13:00]  Use your vision as a filter. Does this feature I’m working on align with my vision?

[14:07]  A strategy has to be flexible enough to allow you to adapt in the face of market realities.

[16:25]  Anything can be a product. Based on the commonalities, even a government policy can be a product.

[21:05]  Align your vision to where people want to go anyway. That way, the product isn’t forcing people to change. It’s adapting to what is going to be.

[22:41]  Serving multiple personas in 2-sided markets. Use your North Star to determine where your true loyalty lies.

[25:19]  How to prioritize a feature. A balance between helping me survive the quarter and fulfilling my vision.

[27:37]  Business KPIs and Product KPIs. The Ying and Yang that helps you progress toward the vision while tracking your business success.

[31:14]  Innovation. Changing people’s lives for the better.

[32:00]  Accidental Villains. As you change one person’s life for the better, you’re changing someone else’s for the worse.

[33:36]  Empathy. It’s not just about product managers showing empathy for their users. It has to happen across the whole organization.

[34:05]  Organizational cactus. The internal friction that leads to the accumulation of vision debt.

Radhika’s Recommended Reading

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Eric Ries.

About Radhika

Radhika Dutt is an entrepreneur and product leader who has participated in four acquisitions as a result of the products she built; two of these were companies she founded.

She advises organizations from high-tech startups to government agencies on building game-changing products. She co-founded Radical Product Thinking as a movement of leaders creating vision-driven change.

Radhika graduated from MIT with SB and M.Eng degrees in Electrical Engineering. She speaks nine languages and is learning her tenth.

You can follow her on her Medium publication, Radical Product or LinkedIn.

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26 / Empowered Teams Build the Best Products


The difference between the best product companies and the rest is pretty stark. And you don’t have to wait until the end of the fiscal quarter to figure which is which. Those lagging indicators will tell you only what happened. Past tense. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in what will happen, begin by examining the level of empowerment within those companies.

In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul sit down with Marty Cagan, product thought leader, mentor, and founder of the Silicon Valley Product Group (SVPG), to discuss the power of empowerment. The job to be done by empowered teams, Marty says, is to solve the hard problems. Sounds simple, but the implications are enormous.

So take heed, product people. Whether you’re new to the field or a seasoned product veteran, there’s something for you in our no-holds-barred conversation with Marty Cagan. What to listen for:

  • Feature Teams, Product Teams, Delivery Teams (06:47). The differences between them and empowered teams are real, and significant.
  • Empowered Teams (08:33). Like start-ups, they need to figure out the products customers are willing to buy (value) and whether those products can sustain a business (viability).
  • Innovation (11:25). Solutions to hard problems that add value for our customers and our business.
  • Role of the Product Manager (13:13). They have to go figure out something worth building. So they have a bigger responsibility on an empowered team.
  • For New & Up-and-Coming Product Managers (16:32). What hiring managers are looking for is much more about how you think about solving problems, coming at it with a different perspective. 
  • The Best Single Source of Innovation (21:56). Marty’s comments may surprise you…though maybe not. 
  • Value of Developers (25:00). If you’re just using your developers to code, you’re only getting about half their value.

Marty’s Recommended Reading

What You Do is Who You Are: How To Create Your Business Culture, by Ben Horowitz.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, by Ben Horowitz.

Inspired: How to Create Tech Product Customers Love, 2nd, by Marty Cagan.

Coming Soon: Empowered, by Marty Cagan.

About Marty

Marty Cagan is the founder of the Silicon Valley Product Group (SVPG).  Before founding SVPG to pursue his interests in helping others create successful products through his writing, speaking, coaching and advising, Marty was senior vice president of product and design for eBay. At eBay, he was responsible for defining products and services for the company’s global e-commerce trading site. 

Marty is a guest speaker at conferences and major tech companies around the globe, and he is the author of INSPIRED: How To Create Tech Products Customers Love.

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25 / 5 Ways That Trust Inspires Innovation


Trust is the ultimate collaboration tool. So says Stephen M. R. Covey, who joins Sean and Paul on this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast. In fact, trust is so vital that innovation cannot occur in its absence.

Trust inspires innovation, which Stephen sees as a “continuum of staying current and relevant with our product and service offerings.” It is the enabler, guiding teams from coordination to cooperation to collaboration. Such simple statements, but important not to confuse simplicity with underlying truth. So many takeaways from our conversation with Stephen; here are just a few –

  • Discover the 5 ways Trust inspires Innovation.
  • Product leaders need to speak the language of trust. We never used to talk this way, but today it’s what makes a leader credible.
  • Trust is foundational to all great product development. This is as true for our product’s users as it is for the team working on it.

Listen in to learn even more.

Stephen’s Recommended Reading

Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness, by Frederic Laloux.

Good to Great, by Jim Collins.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey

The Speed of Trust, by Stephen M. R. Covey.

Smart Trust, by Stephen M. R. Covey.

About Stephen

Stephen M. R. Covey is the New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal best-selling author of The Speed of Trust, which has been translated into 22 languages and has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.

He is co-author of the #1 Amazon best-seller Smart Trust. Stephen brings to his writings the perspective of a practitioner, as he is the former President & CEO of the Covey Leadership Center, where he increased shareholder value by 67 times and grew the company to become the largest leadership development firm in the world.

A Harvard MBA, Stephen co-founded and currently leads FranklinCovey’s Global Speed of Trust Practice. He serves on numerous boards, including the Government Leadership Advisory Council, and he has been recognized with the lifetime Achievement Award for “Top Thought Leaders in Trust” from the advocacy group, Trust Across America/Trust Around the World.

Stephen is a highly-sought-after international speaker, who has taught trust and leadership in 54 countries to business, government, military, education, healthcare, and NGO entities.

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