Book Review: Competing Against Luck

Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen strives to answer these key business questions:

  • Is innovation truly a crapshoot?
  • Or is innovation difficult because we don’t know what causes it to succeed?

The book is 288 pages so it’s not much of a spoiler to admit the answer to the first question is not “yes”.

In fact, Christensen and his co-authors offer a compelling perspective on how to understand customers better by investigating the progress they’re looking to make in their lives.

So the key question now becomes: Is the book worth reading if you’re a Product Manager?

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If you’re a Product Manager, yes, the book is worth reading.

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Video: The Only Product Metric That Matters

Josh Elman defines the one metric that matters based on his experience at LinkedIn, Twitter, and the many startups he works with as a Partner at Greylock Ventures.

Are People Using Your Product?

Sounds like a simple question, but the answer can be really complex — like how scientists still debate what, exactly, keeps bicycles upright.

Fortunately, Josh Elman, a current Partner at Greylock Ventures and formerly of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, gives us a framework to understand the question — the product question, not the bike question — so we can answer logically in a way that pertains to our individual products.

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Product Management Joke: Celebrating The Product Launch

Flowers from a super hero themed wedding at Montage in Indianapolis. See more photos at Kahnscatering.com

A new Product Manager successfully launches his first product, and his friends John and Janet decide to send him flowers to celebrate the occasion. Smiling, they arrive at his cubicle, bouquet in hand.

“Thank you!” he says as he accepts their gift. He sees an note attached to the bouquet and grins. As he reads the note, however, a puzzled looks comes over his face.

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