Dave Wascha's 20 years of product management advice in 25 minutes

Dave Wascha (LI) speaking at Mind the Product in San Francisco on advice he wished he had as a younger product manager:

Link to video.

You should watch the video, but here’s the short version:

Listen to your customers: Focus on deeply understanding your customers’ problems.

Don’t listen to your customers: It’s up to product managers to figure out solutions to those problems, not customers. My addition: they’d ask for faster horses.

Watch the competition: Every move by your competition is a user-test you can learn from. Use those to gain new insight into your customer’s problems.

Don’t watch the competition: Don’t slavishly copy the competition

Be a thief: Don’t be afraid to steal ideas from your competition and elsewhere.

Remember to get paid: There’s no separating the monetization model from the product, and it’s hard to change your monetization model after the fact, so be thinking of how to monetize your product from the start. Focus on creating value for your customers that they can see and want to pay for.

Stop worrying so much about getting paid: Appeal to your customers’ emotional and social needs. The trust and joy customers feel about a product and company are critical to developing loyalty, but difficult to justify in directly attributable revenue and ROI.

Speed up: Delaying decisions delays or destroys the value dependent on those decisions.

Say “no”: Say “no” to things that don’t create long-term value.

Don’t be a visionary: Product management requires hard work of understanding customer problems and finding solutions, not brilliant vision.

Be dumb: Look at situations through the eyes of the customer, not the knowledge and experience you bring to the problem.