What is good product management?

Giff Constable management, technology

I gave this talk to the CTO School in NYC the other week. The focus was on three key topics: what is good product management, how can the head of engineering be a good partner, and how to hire good PMs. Enjoy: What is good product management from Giff Constable

The Virtual Thief (and what that means for privacy)

Giff Constable technology, virtual worlds

In 2006, we created a online marketplace for virtual goods in Second Life. Our competitor had a daunting network effect advantage, but we had no intention of fighting over the existing market. The real market in our eyes was consumers yet to come (they never really came, but that’s a different story). To drive traffic, we built relationships with large …

How Not to Design a Mobile App

Giff Constable innovation, lean, technology

Noah Lichtenstein of Cowboy Ventures recently posted an article to TechCrunch, “What Studying Students Teaches Us About Great Apps“. In their survey of 1,000 high school and college students, they asked about existing mobile usage, and then they asked the question, “if you had a magic wand to create an app that you would use every day, what would the …

What Lurks Beneath the Surface

Giff Constable startups, technology

I’ll believe it with my own two eyes Humans have a tendency to focus on what they can see to the exclusive of other things. Many years ago, my wife and I lived in a shoebox in Manhattan. We couldn’t afford to buy a place in the city, but ironically we could afford to rent and buy a small getaway …

What Is A Product?

Giff Constable innovation, technology

The title is a question we have been kicking around at Neo for the last few weeks. I often refer to us as a product agency, as opposed to digital agencies that do marketing websites and campaign work. But what is a product? Here’s an initial stab. A product is a repeatable capability that delivers value to its customer. A …

The Misogyny Has Got to Stop

Giff Constable technology

This weekend I was startled by a tweet from Margaret Wallace, a game industry executive whom I respect in New York. Welcome to my world: She Was Harassed By A Games Reporter. Now She's Speaking Out. http://t.co/hVx638XBQc #onereasonwhy — Margaret Wallace ♕ (@MargaretWallace) February 1, 2014 Margaret is referring to a series of unacceptable, appalling messages written to a woman …

Myth-Making and the “Authentic Founder”

Giff Constable technology, venture capital

One of my pet peeves about startup-land is myth-making. I refer to the stories that get made up about a startup’s founding and trajectory. Entrepreneurs spin tales for two reasons: to get press, and, particularly, to get funding. Investors have a name for their intuitive filtering — they call it pattern recognition. But at the early stage, it seems to …

Minimum Viable User Stories

Giff Constable technology

Agile. How did a movement whose manifesto began with “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools” get so caught up in ceremony? (“Humans” is the answer) Thoughtbot tweeted a thought-provoking article on “Replacing the User Story with the Job Story“. I am a fan of “jobs to be done” but do not think this is really much of an improvement. …

Should you write unit tests for experiments and MVPs?

Giff Constable lean, startups, technology

This question came up again recently. Good software engineering is rigorous about tests because they reduce bugs both in the code’s present state and with code changes, ultimately improving quality and speed. When you are at the early stages of an idea, just trying to test out whether it holds water, should you bother with tests at all? Speed of …

Escaping the Era of Manufacturing

Giff Constable technology

But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good: Oh Lord! Please don’t let me be misunderstood … — The Animals Software is eating the world, but most people really don’t understand it. For one thing, it is relatively inexpensive to create if you are the one who can actually create it (although the opportunity cost is, of course, the …