My buddy Karl just published “Five Things Every Product Team Member Should Know” and it’s well worth the read. Seriously. Stop reading this and go read that.
When I published “12 Lessons Learned Building a Company from Zero to Acquisition” earlier this year the bit on creating product context was the most highlighted section and I’m thrilled to see the concept explained in such detail.
Here’s the quick backstory.
After Pandora acquired Next Big Sound I started thinking about the next decade. Where to live? What to do? Would I drive a minivan and rock a ponytail?
I knew I wanted to start another company, and that I wanted to be thoughtful about the problem, solution, and lifestyle. So I wrote a list of criteria.
This list has come up countless times catching-up with old friends, mentors, and investors. The more I share one-on-one, the more I have been encouraged to share broadly.
Here are my criteria for starting a new company:
Does waking up and thinking about this…
In 2008 Alex White, Samir Rayani, and I set out to answer a question: how does a band become famous? We spent the next decade building the music analytics company Next Big Sound in pursuit of the answer. It was an insane, exciting, wouldn’t-trade-it-for-the-world experience where we tracked data on hundreds of thousands of artists, established a track record of predicting break-out stars, published industry-redefining research, and supplied analytics and insights to the vast majority of the music industry, from individual artists to the major labels. We learned a ton and had so much fun.
I left Next Big Sound…
My wife, daughter, and I are spending the next year traveling and trying our hand at some new projects.
Right now we’re living in the Catskills, about two-ish hours from New York City, until the end of the year. In January we head to Ecuador, Belize, and Panama. In March we’re off to California for a few months. And for Summer 2018 we’re heading to my wife’s hometown of Oslo.
We’re thrilled to announce that Next Big Sound will be joining Pandora. For the past six years our mission has been to transform the music industry through making social, streaming, and sales data useful to artists and their teams. There is no better way to further our mission than to become part of the leading music service, Pandora, whose belief in the infinite power of music aligns completely with our own.
As part of Pandora, we’ll continue to provide best-in-class analytics and enhance our platform with access to the number one most requested data source: Pandora. Clients, partners, and artists — rest assured it’s business as usual at Next Big Sound. We’re incredibly excited to tap into the data, resources, and expertise of Pandora.
In May 2013 at a Theophilus London show in Prospect Park I reached my hand down to my pocket to check my step count like I had hundreds of times before. This time my daily companion for the past year and a half, the Fitbit Ultra, was missing.
I had lost it before, mostly in the laundry, and was sure I could find it again. Panicked, I searched around the sprawled out blankets and damp grass. It was getting dark, the crowd had swelled, and beverages had been consumed. No luck. It was gone for good this time.
Product management in my mind boils down to owning the vision, design, and execution of your product.
The job of a product manager is to help your team (and company) ship the right product to your users.
Bring the donuts.
A 1% PM doesn’t have to be a designer, but they should appreciate great design and be able to distinguish it from good design.
At any given time, I want to ask “where are we?” and see something like this map reflected in the project’s todo lists.
Resist the ad hoc. Announce that this is a project, and that it…
Working on the new thing 🏄