Scott Huler & Dan Gearino – Never celebrate tomorrow what you can celebrate today

I just love this story and wanted to share it with you all. Take a listen, medicine 20mins in episode 449 of the splendid table podcast.

http://www.splendidtable.org/episode/449

So.. drink the wine and splash the glasses ASAP

–Anubhav

 

Discoverability of new features

This great article prompted me to write about my experience with developing features in an established product.

Product teams generally do not put in enough effort in measuring if new features are easily discovered or if they are being used by existing users. New features are only discovered if they are “surfaced” appropriately to the user. A lot of engineering effort goes waste on established products. Feature teams feel let down and product management feels that all their great work went to waste as new feature lie unused because they could not be discovered by the user.

Most engineering teams & product teams in general do not realize that feature discoverability is in their hands and not in the hands of the marketing departments. Waiting for marketing to get the word out about new features does not work for the following reasons:

  • Marketing is expensive and works in spikes
  • Marketing sticks to word limits and space limits when talking about new features
  • Considering the ever lowering attention spans – marketing really does not work anymore

So… if you want to do it right, decease build discoverability into the feature MVP itself. Talk to customers about how they would like to learn about new features and then try it out in wireframe walkthroughs before implementation.

Regards,
–Anubhav

 

Best US companies to work for 2011 infographic

I saw this really amazingly done interactive infographic about the top companies to work in the US.

What’s great about this infographic is that its a really a presentation with excellent choices made for presenting a large data set. You can see what employees say about these companies. You can dig deep at each companies level to see what employees value about that company.. for example Google employees value free massages and catering.

 

Take a look

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2011/word_cloud/

 

Anubhav

Executive MBA rankings 2013 – The Economist

MBA scattered across multiple campuses and across multiple schools seem to be doing better than those offered at a single campus by a single institute. Though overall Kellogg school of business is a clear winner.

Exec MBA : http://www.economist.com/whichmba/executive-mba-ranking

I found this excerpt from the economist article especially interesting:

“The joint MBA offered by Kellogg and the Hong University of Science of Technology, recipe unhealthy meanwhile, and got the top rank for the overall quality of its students. Students who enrol on this programme are particularly high-powered, earning on average $261,000 with 15 years’ work experience.”

This to me sounds like a great cohort of students and tempts me to get another MBA.

Its also interesting to look at the Full time MBA rankings at: http://www.economist.com/whichmba/full-time-mba-ranking

At #56, you will find IIM Ahmedabad, The only Indian business school in this list.

–Anubhav

 

Lumpy internet use and Online Ad effectiveness

I ready a great article on the economist that lists how lumpy internet use by consumers may lead to sales. And, help how these sales are wrongly attributed to online ad spends.

See this: http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21581715-simple-tests-can-overstate-impact-search-engine-advertising-ad-scientists

–Anubhav

 

Crowdfunding Students – Interesting concept

I heard the economist article on crowdfunding students this week and was inspired to write this post.

While government owned public colleges are still relatively cheap, education in India is getting really expensive. When I graduated in 2000, I paid INR 32000/year, which was USD 7,20/year for my engineering education. A similar private collage today costs around INR 500,000/year, which is around USD 8,800/year.

This is expensive and out of reach of most middle income Indian families. Medical colleges are even more expensive. Add to this the “capitation fee” or the backdoor admission “fees” and suddenly an average student in India, born to an middle income family earning INR 120,000/year (USD 2100) cannot pursue a professional course in India. Capitation fees or backdoor admission fees are normally paid in cash can be as high as USD 30,000 for good private colleges.

Compare this to in-state tuition in US universities and you may find that it a fair comparison.

All the companies mentioned in the article, Upstart and Pave seem to have the same idea. Get well paid and well connected individuals to fund education for upstarts/students. Since these individuals are personally invested in the career of the student, they help introduce this individual to promising opportunities. Its funny how a selfish interest is driving socially desirable goals.

Lumni seems more focussed on getting social welfare funds’ money instead of individuals’ or maybe they create a fund from money raised form individuals.

Cost of capital

Not sure how this works but students pay back 7-10% of their yearly income for the next 10 years to investors. Say you make 60,000 out of college and can get a 4% raise every year. Then this amounts to a payment of between $50,000-$72,000 over a 10 year period. I’m sure that a 3-4 year undergraduate course in the US will cost more that $100,000. So…really the play is if you, as an investor, can help make your “upstart” more successful than the cohort, then you can get a much better return on your money.. say around 7% or more.

So.. if you, as a student, expect to be successful irrespective of help from the individual investor, it might be cheaper for you to get money from the bank since the interest rates are so low in the US. Interesting conundrum as perhaps you may make even more money because of the guidance from the investor…

Use this calculator to see which loan turns out to be cheaper for you in the long run:

http://www.finaid.org/calculators/loanpayments.phtml

 

eCommerce Trends India – eBay

Really cool stats from eBay India in their 2012 census.

See:http://shopping.ebay.in/census/index.php

Here is what stood out for me:

Delhi, Mumbai were followed by Jaipur as the 3rd ranked city. This beat Bangalore, which was 3rd in 2011.

Top ranked states had Maharashtra followed by Delhi

Maharashtra is selling

  1. Men’s Fragrances
  2. Tablets
  3. Laptop Skins
  4. Sewing Machines
  5. Headphones

And, Exporting:

  1. Gemstone Pendants
  2. Decorative Crystals
  3. Skirts
  4. Razor Blades
  5. Wrist Watch Straps

Weird that razor blades are ranked so high.

Finally, they are buying

  1. Tablets
  2. Data Cables
  3. Men’s Fragrances
  4. Indian Stamps Miniatures
  5. Smart Phones

Which is consistent with every other big market. Most folks in India seem to be interested in buying smartphones

Bunch of other really interesting data here: http://shopping.ebay.in/census/pdf/eBay_Census_Guide_2012.PDF

 

 

 

 

Hugh Howes – Lean book writing

Read a really inspiring article today on lean writing and self publishing in the New York Times on Hugh Howes.

I see that the CrankyPM is also using a similar methodology to write her book and has already raised 50% above her modest goal. Seems like lean is the way to go.

Lean is the new buzzword in product management. I’ve been hearing about this consistently since the launch of three great books that inspire you to quit your job and build something of value. I list these books later in the post.

The Lean approach to startups and product development, learning launches are not new. Enough books have been written about this since at least 2008 and even before then, we had been trying to write software incrementally. They have become a bit of a fad and have developed a cult following.

While lean methods are great for $100 startups and small ideas, I agree with multiple product managers that its not “it”. Here are arguments on both sides of this method:

This said, its clear that as a PM you now have to demonstrate you have lean skills for product development and validation. I think this is a good skill to develop if you aspire to be the best in your field. If you play the “lean” beer bingo during a GM all hands today, you will be drunk in no time.

Resources:

Here are the books I referred to at the beginning of this post.

  1. The Lean Startup
  2. $100 Startup
  3. 4 hour work week

These are great reads and provide a great primer on how to go about building your business. I have to warn you that its much easier to read the book than to build a business. And,