Well this is disturbing… we desperately need rigorous laws to protect personal privacy
Finished my first playthrough of the incredible remake of “Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap” by @lizardcube. I’m a big fan of the original, and the remake is a remarkable piece of work!#videogames
The third in a series on my years in product management. In this post I explore what it was like to help build a product team, and then work within it. #prodmgmt
This is part three in a series on my career shift from software development to product management. If you haven’t read the preceding posts and you’re interested, you can start with part one!
When I first took on the role of Product Manager, it was basically a solo role. While I had plenty of support from our executive team, and a lot of help and direction from both my superiors and my colleagues, absent a dedicated staff, if things needed to be done, I either had to do them myself or trick others to do them for me!
On its face this might seem a bit crazy (and it was!), but it’s important to realize that, at the time, the company had not yet made the shift to an Agile Scrum development model. As a result, back then, if you had asked me to describe the Product Manager role, I would have described it as high-level and directional, while the actual day-to-day execution was being handled by my colleagues in various other departments, particularly development. As a result, a lot of my time was spent on bigger picture stuff: building roadmaps (badly), scoping releases, collecting and managing customer requests, general process development and refinement, and so on.
It’s also worth noting that, at the time, I don’t think any of us at the company had a clear picture of how to integrate a Product Management function into the company in a holistic way, not the least of which because, while this was only five years ago, the role was less defined than it is now. And as I mentioned in my first post, ultimately, layering Product Management as a function into an existing organization is an exercise in change management, and we were still figuring out what that meant.
Fortunately, Agile Scrum came along and gave us a model for how to integrate Product Management into software development in a coherent way: The Product Owner role. And if we were going to have Product Owners, those POs needed to get their direction from somewhere, and that somewhere could be the Product Management group (i.e. me)!Continue reading...
With the proliferation of IoT (aka “smart”) devices, the #Futurama episode “Mother’s Day”, where robot toasters and staplers revolt against humanity at the behest of a crazed dictator, is starting to feel eerily prescient…
How the heel has turned!#knitting
That’s a good point! Given how nascent Webmention still is, I’m not sure the cost-benefit is there for me, yet, in adding backlinks for POSSE copies (my main goal is owning what I create), but maybe I’ll experiment with it!
A lot of things I post to Twitter start as notes on my blog so I host the content, but right now I don’t link back from the tweet to the note as I find it messy.#indieweb
Most of what you see from me starts on my blog. Tweets, photos, or articles, I post them on my blog and syndicate. Part 1 on why and how! #indieweb
If you’ve been paying attention to my writing lately, you’ll notice a theme. Toward the end of November I got it into my head to rebuild my blog for reasons that, in hindsight, I don’t actually remember.
At the time my main goal was to change the technology over from an old blog engine to something a bit more modern. But as I thought more about what I wanted for my blog, and read more about the IndieWeb movement, I realized my idea of what a blog could be was incredibly limited.
To their great credit, modern walled garden web services have given us with a lot of ways to express ourselves:
- Short notes (tweets, status updates)
- Long-form content (blog posts, articles)
- Reactions (likes)
- Shares (bookmarks, retweets)
Not to mention more specialized status updates like what we’re reading, what we’re listening to, etc.
Each of these represents a piece of content we’re creating and publishing. We may not think of it that way because firing off a tweet or writing a quick status update is so easy. But they’re all just alternative formats for self-expression.
Unfortunately, as I’ve noted previously, because these are each their own walled garden, this content is split up and spread out across many services. At best this is annoying! At worst, it’s a great way to ensure that the things we write or post could get lost someday when those services inevitably die.
And then, as I read more about the IndieWeb, I realized I’d been thinking about my blog all wrong.
Yeah, sure, traditionally blogs were the home primarily for long-form content. But it’s my blog. It can be whatever I want it to be. So, why not turn my blog into the place where I post all of the things! And then, after authoring on my own site, automatically syndicate to those social networks!Continue reading...
“Don’t be evil.” I joined Google in 2008, when those words still mattered. Here’s my story, in my own words.
In 2019 I started to repair my clothes instead of replacing them. Not only is this cheaper and more sustainable, I also get to brush off my sewing skills!#buyless #repair
#nostalgia is a dangerous drug. I don’t tend to romanticize the past, but as I get older and more and more of my past is memorialized on the web, it’s really easy to fall down the rabbit hole. Rewatching #HaltandCatchFire definitely doesn’t help!#tv
I’ve been rewatching “Halt and Catch Fire”, and what I forget is, in the background, folks like Chuck Peddle, creator of the 6502, were the giants on whose shoulders Jobs and Gates stood. Thank you, Chuck!
The indieweb is about controlling your identity. But it's also be a great way to claw back all that content I've been scattering across the web so I can get better at archiving! #indieweb #personalarchiving
Our data, scattered
A while back I started to take an interest in the topic of personal data archiving, and in particular how the topic intersects with the various social media platforms that so many of us interact with. The simple fact is that so much of who we are–the things we write, the photos and videos we take, the people we interact with, our very memories, as Facebook likes to remind us–are locked up in a bunch of different walled gardens that are difficult to escape, both technically and due to the powerful social pressures that keep us on these platforms.
I like to think of the traditional photo album as an interesting contrast.
It used to be that we collected memories in these books, and stored those books on a shelf. There was some real downsides to this approach! It’s a pain to add stuff to them (I have to “print” photos??) They’re difficult to share and enjoy. They’re single points of failure (think: house fires). They require intentional acts to ensure preservation. The list goes on.
But, they were ours. We owned them. We could take those photos and easily copy them, share them, rearrange them, archive them, and so forth.
Now imagine that you collected all your photos in a photo album that you could only store and access from a vault being run by a private company. The company would ensure the photos were protected and stored properly, and they provided a really nice, simple mechanism to easily add photos to your album right from your phone! That’s really nice! But if you wanted to look at those photos, you’d have to go to the vault, enter your passcode, and then you could only look at them while you were in the vault. And if you wanted to get a copy of all of those photos for yourself, well, you can, but it’s ugly and complicated and designed to make it minimally possible and maximally difficult.
Next, imagine the corporation changed their policies in a way you didn’t like. Or imagine that corporation went bankrupt. Or experienced a fire. Or you lost the passcode for that vault. Or a loved one passed away and didn’t store the passcode in a safe place.
Today, we don’t just lock those photos in one vault run by one private company. We lock those photos in many vaults, spread out all over the place. In doing so, we dramatically increase these risks, because instead of just one company failing or one account that we might lose access to or one set of terms of service we need to worry about, it’s many.
All the while we fragment our identity, spreading ourselves thin across the internet, which makes it extremely difficult to preserve all of those memories.
So what can we do about it?Continue reading...
I think I’m starting to understand the attraction of retirement, or at least sabbatical. Knowing I can just read or write or listen to music or play guitar and not feel guilty about the other things I’m not doing is just wonderful!
Continuing my little retrospective writing exercise on my journey in product management, in this part I wanted to talk a bit about my (bumpy) path to better understanding the nature of leadership. #prodmgmt
This is part two on a series of posts on my transition to Product Management. If you’d like to see where this series began, feel free to checkout part one.
As I’ve gone back and looked over some of the email traffic from my first couple of years in my role as Product Manager, one of the most obvious things that stands out is just how much was going on at the time (and how little I’ve apparently retained)!
The backdrop of this period was a parallel effort in the company to:
- Modernize our software development practices by moving to a process built on Agile Scrum, and
- Shift way from our custom, consultative software development model to a product-centered approach focused on broader market needs.
Either one of these would be a large, challenging transition. Looking back, attempting to tackle both at the same time was borderline insanity!
Looking more closely at the transition to Product-oriented development, this is also seems to be a pretty common phase in the startup life-cycle.
As I’ve talked to other folks in the industry, I’ve noticed that many startups, particularly those in the B2B space, initially succeed by developing a solution for a couple of “whales” that serve as an essential lifeline that keeps the company operating. Over time, as those successes beget more successes, the company can step back and focus more on the market than individual opportunities, and at that point, a pivot to a Product-centric development process makes a lot of sense.
The trouble is, this is often not an easy transition. Ignoring the challenges in shifting the entire mindset and culture of an organization, there’s the basic politics of handing off responsibility for feature selection and prioritization from technology leadership to product leadership. As you can imagine, this transition can be very difficult if not handled delicately.Continue reading...
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