Reflektions.com

Paul Ortchanian

This blog discusses leadership and product management. Have a product team that could be more effective? Need expertise on challenges ranging from strategy, crafting roadmaps and motivating the team to deliver the right thing in the right timeframe? Contact me at paul@reflektions.com

How To Find The Narrative In Numbers -- And How To Sway Cynics.

I'm moderating Product Circle MTL this week. A meet up by product managers, for product managers. My discussion topic revolves around numbers. Finding the narrative in numbers. The language of product is mathematics. Your initial plans are almost certain to be wrong in some way. Your first priority as a product manager is to figure out where. Lean principles prescribe ditching long technology development cycles. Instead, you start with an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). It’s quicker and cheaper than traditional methods. Startup-formation delivery gets determined by a Product expert who knows how to operate on good-enough data. Fix failures by iteration on ideas and pivot away from the ones that don’t work. So how does one fly low wi...

Just How Bad Is The Pressure To Move Fast For YouTube Creators? Here’s Watchmojo's Unity.

WatchMojo was entering its expansion-stage and we knew that there was a huge market growth opportunity in front of us, if we could just execute on it quickly, avoid common pitfalls and things falling through the cracks. From previous years we had battle scars. Our VPs had already realized that things were very different at scale and managing video production through spreadsheets and best-in-breed productivity tools were not operating smoothly and had apparent problems. “We need to become a well-coordinated execution machine with multiple global partners" Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, CEO of WatchMojo Not fucking up the expansion of our product line We had to rethink our approach to creating videos in order to increase our total addressable...

What I've been reading on Product Management - 06/2018

A round-up of interesting articles I've read over the last week or so, mostly about product management, Leadership and Prioritization. Leading by Letting Go Getting People to Believe in Something They Can’t Yet Imagine Value Propositions That Work Why most product managers suck (and how to be a better one) Slow Deciders Make Better Strategists Rethinking Product Management: How to Get from Start-up to Scale-up 20 Product Prioritization Techniques: A Map and Guided Tour What Product Managers Can Learn from the Apple iPod The Complete Guide to the Kano Model Aligning Your Product Roadmap with Company Goals Product managers for the digital world The Four Styles of Management Prioritizing for Strategic Alignment What It Takes...

Can’t prioritize? Use this 6 Week Process to Generate Your Product Roadmap

Despite the proliferation of tools designed for road mapping, prioritization remains the most difficult part of the product. Without a process for roadmap reinforcement, it just won’t stick. Over the years, as a Product Manager, I established an effective product management process. With it and backed with strong strategy and leadership I helped develop roadmaps that aligned influential individuals and companies. Towards the end of any given quarter, I often rely on this fast-paced and collaborative 6 week process to refine priorities. I focused it on understanding the current state, identifying strategic opportunities, defining requirements, creating a vision of the future, and defining a staged plan to evolve the customer experience...

What I've been reading on Artificial Intelligence and Data science - 06/2018

A round-up of interesting articles I've read over the last week or so, mostly about product management, Artificial Intelligence and Data science. How companies can navigate the age of machine learning The AI-First Business Model Human-Centered Machine Learning Machine Learning for Product Managers Machine Learning and Product Managers Always start with a stupid model, no exceptions. The Cold Start Problem with Artificial Intelligence Deep Learning vs Classical Machine Learning Why Deep Learning Is Suddenly Changing Your Life What does it mean to be an AI Product Manager? Are You Setting Your Data Scientists Up to Fail? A Product Management Framework for Machine Learning — Part 1 of 3 A Product Management Framework for Machin...

Tomorrow’s Product Managers Will Need Solid Data, Model and Problem Understanding

Tomorrow’s Product Managers Will Need Solid Data, Model, and Problem Understanding When people talk about Product Management of the future, the first theme that comes to mind is artificial intelligence (AI). AI is changing the fundamental structure of every industry. We’re interacting with technology in new ways, from giving voice commands to virtual assistants to having Smart Reply suggest quick responses to our messages. In Alpha’s Product Management 2018 Insights study, a third of respondents reported having AI or machine learning incorporated into their products. Does that mean it’s time to embrace the mathematical techniques that enable the building of intelligent software applications using the family of techniques known as dee...

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

Below is a list of Paul Ortchanian’s upcoming and past speaking engagements. Impact Conference 2018, Empathy - Lead with your EARS and not with your MOUTH, Budapest, HungaryProduct Circle #2, "Finding the Narrative in numbers", Montreal, CanadaProduct Management Festival 2018, Tomorrow’s Product Managers Will Need Solid Data, Model, and Problem Understanding, Singapore (canceled) Founder Institute 2017, Great companies are built on great products, Montreal, Canada . . . Flash Belt 2008, Minneapolis, U.S.Flash Forward 2008, San Francisco, U.S.FITC Toronto 2008, CanadaFITC Toronto 2007, CanadaFlash Belt 2007, Minneapolis, U.S.Flash Forward 2007, Boston, U.S.FITC Winnipeg 2006, CanadaFITC Toronto 2006, CanadaFITC Toronto 2005, Canada...

Product Managers, Make your CEO provide a clear vision

There are so many articles about the challenges and stresses of being a Product Manager. But this is an article about your CEO’s duty to set a vision, to define why your company exists. For some product managers, the thought of talking openly about the void left by a missing vision statement is paralyzing. And as a product leader gets more senior, the need to clearly define the product strategy intensifies. In Alpha’s Product Management Insights study of more than 150 digital product managers, 32% percent said that their biggest wish in the coming year was a clearer product roadmap / strategy. So how frequently do you and the CEO interface? Does the CEO provide general direction? He should provide general direction. Without it you can...

Our immersion into Deep and Machine Learning at WatchMojo

Big data holds big promises for WatchMojo. Back in Q1 of 2017, in my quest to create proprietary products and innovations to link past video views and engagement to future video projects, I had heard about algorithms that can learn from data without relying on rules-based programming. To create value for our viewers, I asked if we had a dataset, then set our objective to discover which videos would be highly engaging and shared. We researched online, hired a data scientist and after a few attempts analyzing our records, got to develop statistical techniques and build interactive visualizations. In our first attempt, we envisioned gaining a better understanding of our data through machine learning, but truth be told, I grew more confuse...

You accomplish everything through others

Imagine attempting to persuade a stakeholder and it results in increased resistance. So much talk, so much rationale, so many facts. And because your approach was logical — one that leveraged data, your experience, and expertise — friction and disagreement ensues. The Product Manager title alone won’t sway others, nor will it command the attention of stakeholders. Bottom line, we have no power to make other people see things as we do. You aren’t going to win every battle. Leadership is going to be wrong sometimes. Engineers will estimate wrongly. And Sales will always promise things your product doesn’t and will never do. And because you work at the intersection of groups of people — often people from different backgrounds — there will ...