What to do if your product culture cannot keep up with the company’s growth

This post is a modified version of my talk at Product Management Festival APAC 2019 on how to transform product culture. After some requests for the slides, I thought I’d share it out as a blog post to share our learnings with a broader audience.

People often talked about the ability to establish a strong product culture is what differentiates between a good technology organization and a great one. But it is easier said than done. Nurturing a good product culture when the team was small was already hard enough. …

The continuous assessment process for our product team

When it comes to scaling up product teams, companies are often focused on outward-facing activities, like hiring more product managers to cover new strategic areas or looking for outside candidates who had experience solving the team’s latest problems. But while fresh eyes help to bring a new perspective, it is equally important to upskill the existing product managers so they are competent to take on greater challenges and create more value for the company.

As product management legend, Marty Cagan, mentioned, the performance and efficiency of a cross-functional product team (product, design, engineering, QA and data) are highly correlated with…

The GOGOVAN product playbook

“What are the problems you are trying to solve? Why do you solve them now? How can you validate these are real customer problems?”

These are some of the most fundamental and frequent questions we asked each other on the Product team at GOGOVAN.

While many product teams are obsessed with building solutions, we choose to focus more on defining and prioritizing problems instead. Why? Because we believe that a solution can only be as good as our understanding of the problem we’re addressing.

In fact, it’s easy to build things exactly the way our users described but it usually…

Conventional wisdom is that great products sell themselves.

However, Paypal cofounder, Peter Thiel, thinks that self-selling products just don’t exist. As he once said at his famous CS183 startup class,

“Poor distribution, not product, is the number one cause of failure. If you can get even a single distribution channel to work, you have great business. If you try for several but don’t nail one, you’re finished…People say it all the time: this product is so good that it sells itself. This is almost never true. These people are lying, either to themselves, to others, or both. “

Given that…

If someone suggested you to open a cosmetic store next to two funeral parlours and name it as “The Body Shop”, you probably thought that person was crazy.

However, Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, has proved that the idea is not as crazy as it sounds.

The birth of the “The Body Shop” came about in 1976 when Roddick was finding a way to make money to support herself and her two daughters while her husband was fulfilling his dream — riding a horse from Buenos Aires, Argentina to New York City.

Without expecting to get rich, 33-year-old…

“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible.”

This was the response from a Yale University professor after reading about Fred Smith’s initial idea of forming a reliable overnight delivery service in a computer information age. Little did he know that his student later took this “unfeasible” concept to build a multi-billions company and single-handedly change the logistics industry forever.

With annual revenues of $35 billion and more than 140,000 employees worldwide right now, it may appear that Fedex is an overnight success, but that is only true…

When we think of Disney’s characters, Mickey Mouse usually is the first one that comes to mind because it is widely known as the most successful character in the animation business.

However, most people have forgotten an even older Disney’s character called “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit”, a silent cartoon star that debuted in the 1920s. And behind this mystery little rabbit, there was a spectacular story of how an entrepreneur creatively solved a huge crisis in life.

In Disney’s early days, it had to rely on film distributors and bigger studios to promote their films because it was still a…

The main thing separating those who are successful from those who aren’t, is that the successful people are the ones who actually got started.

This is an advice from the founders of Innocent Drinks, Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright, three college friends at University of Cambridge. They were working in consulting and advertising after graduation but always wanted to work together someday.

Finally, in 1998, when they decided to set up a smoothie business together, they found it difficult to follow up their own advice. After spending six months working on the recipes, they didn’t have the confidence…

Beating a competitor at its best game is extremely difficult, especially when your enemy is a 800-pound gorilla like Amazon. Therefore, when Amazon acquired Quidsi, the NJ-based e-commerce startup behind Diapers.com, for $540 million in 2010, many people were amazingly impressed because it felt like Amazon was defeated in some ways.

This small startup was competing with not only Amazon but also big box retailers to supply a low-margin commodity — diapers. Besides, the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) industry as a whole is slow moving, risk-averse and not startup friendly. For example, the founders were told that companies like P&G…

When you have thousands of competitors in the market, how will you make your company stand out from the pack?

Kenneth Cole, a 28 years old young designer in 1982, had a very unusual idea. He changed his company’s name from “Kenneth Cole, Inc.” to “Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc.” pretending to be a film production company. Why? So he was able to get a permit to shoot a film entitled “The Birth of a Shoe Company” in Midtown Manhattan at the day of a shoe show right in front of the venue. Imagine how much you have to pay to…

Vincent Chan

Director of Product Management at GOGOX. A dreamer learning how to build a lasting company. www.aNeverEndingDream.com

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