Travel is a key part of a product managers job. Especially if you have worldwide responsibility for your product.
So why do we travel so much:
The biggest bucket is to meet with customers to
- Understand how they use the product, which is normally different from how you envisioned it 🙂
- Bounce of new product and feature ideas
- Idea discovery
The other bucket is office visits for
- Discussing and presenting product roadmaps
- Politicking or gathering support for your ideas
- Building relationships with folks with influence in the office
Final bucket is outward facing product management function that require you to travel to:
- Train sales team
- Ensure marketing messaging is consistent with product features
- Meet with press, bloggers and influencers
As much as I enjoy traveling, here’s how travel can get taxing. I spent almost 16/52 weeks outside India last year. I’ve already traveled almost once a month in the first quarter of 2013. Here is my travel calendar for the last 15 months and the coming 3
||US & UK & Ireland
||US & Malaysia
||UK & Germany
||France & US
||US & Netherlands
||Thailand & Maldives
Really cool stats from eBay India in their 2012 census.
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
- Men’s Fragrances
- Laptop Skins
- Sewing Machines
- Gemstone Pendants
- Decorative Crystals
- Razor Blades
- Wrist Watch Straps
Weird that razor blades are ranked so high.
Finally, they are buying
- Data Cables
- Men’s Fragrances
- Indian Stamps Miniatures
- 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
Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers published their 2012 Internet Trends report in December 2012
Here are some highlights for India and the world.
- #3 rank in terms of total number of Internet users by country but still only 11% penetration
- 137 Million Internet users with 50% added in the last 4 years
- 26% YoY growth
- India has approx 25% of the total number of internet users in China and 60% of the US’ connected population
- Global mobile traffic is 13% of total traffic
- In India mobile internet traffic is higher than desktops since May 2012
- 44M smartphone subscribers in India with this being only 4% of total mobile subscribers!
- #5 in country rankings behind China, US, Japan & Brazil
- iPad growth is 3x iPhone Android phone growth is 6x iPhone – clear leader
- Only 1B smartphone users out of 5B total mobile phone users
- 29%+ of US adults own a tablet or eReader
- Mobile Apps and Ad Spending growing
- 67% – Mobile app spend
- 33% – Ad spend
- 24% of online shopping in US on Black Friday on mobiles and tablets
- iOS devices dominate this segment with 4:1 ratio over android for purchasing on mobile devices
Computing platform OS share
- iOS + Android now at 45%
- Windows – 35%
- Tablet shipments exceed PC shipments in Q4:2010
- This report is predicting stagnation of PC sales and continued increase in tablet sales until 2015. I dont agree with this entirely
- Tablet install base to overtake PC is Q2:13
- Encyclopedia Brittanica went out of print in 2012
- Many kinds Inspiration sources – Pinterest
- This one I absolutely dont agree with. To me pinterest has no appeal and I’m not sure creative professionals (designers) get all their inspiration from there. See: Behance and many others
Reimagination – Useful sites and new ideas
- Gumroad – selling digital goods
- Quirky – Collaborative product design
- Smart devices – smartthings, lockitron
- Coursera – I love it. Amazing courses.
- Read slide 58 and then read it again.
- Still shocks me that US residents spend 3hrs+ in front of a TV
- US Debt is very high at 97% of GDP making it the 10th most indebted country in the world
Great presentation overall.
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.
Here are the books I referred to at the beginning of this post.
- The Lean Startup
- $100 Startup
- 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,