Why Have a Separate Medium
Jeff runs a blog with a very distinctive style – each article starts with advice on how to be a Bad product manager, and the contrasting advice on how to be a Good product manager. Each of us can choose. It is a great approach to implicitly show that Jeff’s advice is not a collection of rules, but more of a cause-and-effect. There are things we can do as product managers that make us better, and things that make us worse. His advice is good, and his approach to presenting it is novel and effective.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Jeff not too long ago, and he mentioned that he was looking for a way to share answers with the broader community, to questions that he is regularly asked offline. Jeff came up with the new blog, and chose to incorporate answers not only from him, but from other bloggers. What Jeff and I have both been working towards over the last couple of years, along with other folks, is to create a sense of community around product management. Nature abhors a vacuum, and we’ve been gradually filling it. Jeff and I have both had good success with the blogging paradigm: broadcast and encourage discussion. But that still left a bit of a void.
The “ask a question, get an answer” space has not been completely filled. There are message boards that fill part of this need – Seilevel’s in particular covers a lot of this very effectively. Seilevel’s board feels more collaborative, and the discussions are very open and free-form.
What Jeff is doing is addressing a targeted set of questions and answers. Over time, it may build up into a FAQ (frequently asked questions) for product managers – we’ll see where it goes.
Jeff made a good decision, in my opinion, to not dilute the theme or message of his primary blog. He has found a way to share the answers – if the question is asked once, the answer is likely to be of interest to many. And he’s doing it well.
Questions So Far
Jeff has launched the blog with a great set of questions:
- How do product managers prioritize requirements?
- What to do when your main competitor is your best customer?
- What should I study to become a product manager?
- What is the key to writing a good use case?
- What tips do you have for a new product manager?
- Do all products need a product roadmap?
There are answers for new product managers, and experienced product managers. And there are comment threads for each question, where other folks can chime in with their advice, agreement, disagreement, and feedback to each question.