Product Managers: ever wanted to create and launch your *own* product?

PART 2: Customer feedback is better than a gift of gold.


I’d like to thank Elizabeth Ayer and the team at Redgate @redgate for inviting me to Cambridge, England on Friday 8th May 2015 to chat about Product Management!

If your company uses databases, you probably already know Redgate and their ingeniously simple database tools for SQL, .NET, Oracle and the Cloud.

Feeback is like a gift of gold

As a Product Manager, it’s wonderful when you get feedback from your customers — especially when it’s about a new product. But it’s even more awesome when customers volunteer the feedback!

You get to learn what’s working, what’s not working, and you can discuss ideas on how to create more value and to help customers even more. You’ll often get ideas that help to shape the future direction of your product.

You’ll often get ideas that help to shape the future direction of your product.

As a Product Manager, it’s often a struggle to get feedback when you sell products through indirect channels, like online book stores. It’s the online store that owns the relationship with the customer and as a supplier you don’t have contact details or permission to reach out to speak with purchasers of your product.

A meeting by chance at Product Camp

I met Elizabeth (who’s a Product Manager at Redgate) by chance at a Product Camp meeting in London, when I first launched Product Snacks a little over a month ago at the end of March 2015.

I delivered a bit of a rambling talk about prototyping, printing, boxes, labelling, and packaging. Elizabeth was the first person to arrive in the audience, with a big smile :-)

I remember being so excited when I later found out that Elizabeth and the team had bought several boxes of Product Snacks. I thought, ‘Customers want them. They like them! And they want to meet me!’

Early feedback is such a precious thing for any company, and especially startups looking for product-market fit.

Early feedback is such a precious thing for any company, and especially startups looking for product-market fit. I really couldn’t wait to visit them!

Cambridge Visit

Cambridge is a beautiful place to live and work and it’s only 45 mins from London by train. It’s also lovely for a day trip and is steeped in history.

Redgate have a very cool office, a surprising lack of people wearing suits, and delicious food. I ate quite a lot of veggie-lasagne and chocolate pudding :-)

What I learned

  • The physical aspect of having Product Snacks cards for Product Managers works well, for moving, grouping and sorting on a desk.
  • The team would like to see some ideas for applying Product Snacks against different Product Management frameworks. Nice idea!
  • Redgate have some pretty cool skills maps they use as a framework of their own to help develop their teams (look out for the one on Product Management soon!)
Example Skills Map from http://blog.red-gate.com/skills-maps/
  • It would be useful for me to look at additional opportunities where customers would use Product Snacks cards on a regular basis. This one bit of feedback was really useful and has given me some great ideas.
  • I should develop a stronger call-to-action to contact me and stay in touch on my introductory card in the box.
  • Code Katas are an interesting concept from Dave Thomas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Thomas_%28programmer%29). I’ll look into these!

What I tested while I was there

  • Some box designs from the printer. The natural brown boxes are preferred. Silver text is unpopular. I’ve also got a black box with black writing (not shown) — but unsurprisingly it was really quite difficult to read!
A few box prints that I took along to test.
  • I’ve just created productmanagement.tools as a curated site for some useful product management resources (please reach out if you’ve got any suggestions to add). Not too many entries so far, but I’ve just put it together and will be building it out over time. Curation was viewed as a starting point, but they want to see some opinion too.
  • This caused a few giggles and was seen as a fun thing to do. I unveiled my new microphone that I’ll be using with the Meerkat app when chatting with Product Managers at Digital Shoreditch during Monday 11th — 15th May 2015. Let me know if you want to meet up and chat about Product Management in London! [Twitter: @ProductSnacks and @prattarazzi]
Want to chat about your Products and Product Management? Reach out @prattarazzi or @ProductSnacks on Twitter.

Bonus — don’t be an asshole!

I noticed Redgate has a ‘don’t be an asshole’ policy in their ‘Book of Redgate’ for their team members :-)

If you pass that test, and have some talent, then you might be interested in their current opportunities.


In this series of articles I’m sharing my learning as I create, launch and grow Product Snacks — Bite-sized Learning for Product Managers.

Products Snacks: Product Management Essentials (Cards), by Eddie Pratt available from Amazon UK to ship worldwide.

Product Snacks — Bite-sized Learning for Product Managers.