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Product leaders need to keep up with the latest techniques and trends for managing the very best product in their respective market. This is no different from programmers learning a new framework or doctors learning about new methods for treating illnesses. There are many great resources for product managers to stay current including online courses, blogs and seminars.

Listed in no particular order each of these book offers things that you can apply right away. If we treat our product work as a constantly evolving process, learning from our team and from others as we go along, we can be sure that our businesses will have the best chance of being disruptive. If we are not progressing, we are falling behind the competition. The books listed below have valuable insight from proven business and product leaders. …


Learn to tell a story with data

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One of the top things I’m always looking to improve is my story-telling. Leaders from top organizations around the world agree that it is an important leadership trait and one which needs a lot of practice to master. There are many books, , and that offer examples of how this trait can be used to sell your vision to your team members, your bosses and your customers. But how do you tell a story using data?

Due to the importance of using data in making business decisions we need to be able to connect sound statistical analysis with an actionable strategy. This means that we must first be able to communicate the results of a technical analysis to colleagues in a way that is easy to understand. However, this is not enough. Simply communicating results should satisfy the logic requirement of your argument but it’s unlikely to get anyone really excited about your vision. …


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Efficiency is a function of a solution’s impact on meaningful time savings for key resources within a company. It’s not just about the ROI and cost savings; it’s about the degree to which it helps the business thrive. Improving operational efficiency can be approached in a number of ways. Some methods involve changes to processes or personnel. However, well-designed software applications often have the most benefit for the lowest cost. This article discusses this further with an industry specific example.

When designed correctly, software has the ability to improve business processes with the lowest initial cost. The most common measure of the value of a given solution in the enterprise is the total Return on Investment (ROI) achieved by using it. But products don’t necessarily become ‘sticky’ to organizations by showing long-term savings alone. The real test of value comes from the number of users who feel their job is materially improved and by the depth of integration into their core business processes. …


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If you are not already familiar with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), here’s a brief introduction of the learning ideology that is reshaping modern education. MOOCs are relevant, flexible, and specific to commonly-desired topics. More accurately, they are online courses which are open to anyone who wants to enroll. Note that this does not necessarily mean free; more on this later. They are often taught by top-notch professors or practitioners in their respective fields. …


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Establishing a proper development setup is essential to an efficient workflow. This is as important to Data Scientists as it is to Web or App developers. The preferred environment usually evolves over time and there are many different ways to approach this process. This is mine.

First, My Development Languages

I primarily work with Python and R, with a side of light HTML, JS and other web-based tinkering. I’m a fan of open source software and I’m appreciative of the work that goes into establishing a robust development community that supports the packages I use daily. …


Neat Software and Data Projects, Education, Inspiring Service

No resolutions, but refined achievable goals — I will be focusing on three areas of continued improvement this year… awesome software projects that contribute to a great year of technological advancements, educational excellence in my graduate studies, and stories of inspired service to my family and community. Here’s to the start of a landmark year.


A mini story about biking… and life.

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When I set out early in the year to get more exercise cycling I wanted to establish a sustainable routine. I started commuting to work by bike at the end of January. My goals were to get more outside exercise, create a better morning habit for increased efficiency at work and perhaps gain some personal insight in the process. This is what I’ve learned so far.

First a bit about my ride. My commute is between 4 and 6 miles door to door depending on the route I take. I live in Chicago which provides some good options for urban bike commuters; my route consist of a decent mix of dedicated bike lanes with some more exciting crowded streets under the El downtown. After some time you get used to being in close proximity to the large vehicles on the road. I’m not quite as crazy as some of the bike messengers but I don’t mind taking some short cuts and lane splitting when appropriate. It mostly comes down to being very aware of your surroundings and using good old fashioned common sense. I’m fortunate to work in a building downtown has great locked bike storage and locker room. Aside from the preparation, my commute by bike takes no longer than it does by train, and is definitely quicker than sitting in car traffic. …


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For me, springtime is a great natural setting for reviewing personal goals to either reaffirm my priorities or reevaluate them. I’ve found that many of my long term goals change over time. Goal setting then becomes more like a building process than a once-per-year publishing process.

I’ve always appreciated taking advice and input from others when looking at my own goals. Obviously close friends and family that know me best can help shed light on the things that need improved to reach my more outlandish goals. My wife does this on a weekly basis. However, as I get older I lean less on the input of others and have decided that I understand my own strengths and limitations much better. More often than not, my decisions that are contrary to advice of others end up being the most fulfilling in the end. These decisions can be self-seeking at times and it may just be what is needed to get to the finish line, but finishing the worthwhile races means believing in the cause. When the goal is just for me, its a commitment, but when it also positively benefits others, it’s a passion. In other words, don’t just do well. …


Part 2:

Parenting can sometimes be distilled down to a series of compromises. I say this not because of the obvious connotations, but because of those that are not obvious. Let me explain.

“No man knows he is young while he is young.” -G.K. Chesterton

I’ve only recently discovered the non-obvious compromises of parenting. I’m not talking about giving up of my personal space, my disposable income, my opportunities to travel, or even my ability to watch what I want on my own TV. I’m more concerned about willingly giving up the energy to achieve my professional ambitions and my motivation to excel in my work to that aim. This includes work, community service, social and education goals. …


On April 4, 2013 you were born into the world making today your golden birthday. I’m writing this short letter now so that you will appreciate the insight sometime in the future.

You already demonstrate strong-willed confidence and optimism in everything you do. You are also part of a great family legacy. It just so happens that you share a birthday with your Great Grandfather. He was with us until late last year when he went to be with his Savior. …

About

Andrew Knight

I build neat stuff and try to learn something new in the process -

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