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?

< ! — Start Spoiler Warning — >

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

< / ! — End Spoiler Warning — >

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Dysfunction Junction, PM, What’s Your Function?

Dysfunction junction what is your function?

Have you ever thought or been told that, as Product Managers, we don’t own the problems of other teams? Don’t believe that hype!

Check out my guest post at the Boston Product Management Association’s Product Hub blog for a very different take on that topic — and the strategic role we can play in transforming a hurting organization if we’re willing to sacrifice some of time, talent, and treasure.

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Handling Awkward Conversations As A Product Manager

Things are about to get awkward
Things are about to get awkward.

Saying “no” is a popular topic among Product Managers. Unfortunately the “Just Say No” approach often isn’t enough because it ignores the aftershocks and the complexity of tangled emotions and legitimate business needs underscoring the initial request.

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‘American Horror Story’ Teaches Us Something About Mentoring Product Managers

American Horror Story family photo
Just another day at the office.

I recently finished watching series one of American Horror Story — twisted, sexy, and totally addictive. Towards the finale, one of the characters made a point that struck home.

< SPOILER WARNING >
This series is filled with surprises. I’m going to reveal some of those twists and turns to make a point about mentoring PMs. You have been warned!
< / SPOILER WARNING >

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