PRODUCTHEAD: A single point of failure

everything in its right product

Posted on Tuesday, 13 October 2020


Even seemingly successful companies fail because of “one thing”

Amazon is winning because it’s playing the game differently

6 ways to defend your business from systemic stresses

Practical ways to build your mental resilience to setbacks


I’m super-stressed and getting a bit snappy with people, and I don’t like myself for it. But I’m finding ways to keep things under control and in perspective.

One of the oddly reassuring thoughts I’ve had is that living through a global pandemic is still less stressful than the job I left in 2012. That was the one that almost caused me to give up product management entirely.

I didn’t, because instead I accidentally started a business.

I was at a conference and was embarrassed about being unemployed. So when someone asked me who I worked for, I made up a company and what we did: Product People — we help people to build better products, more successfully.

When this was met with an unexpected amount of interest, I apologised for the lack of business cards (for my non-existent company), then spent the rest of the week rapidly setting up the company, website and bank account. Minimum viable company, if you like.

While I didn’t get any work from the person I was talking to, I did realise I was a bit more resilient than I’d given myself credit for. I stopped thinking I’d failed, and started thinking how happy I was to have left a horrific employer.

So this week, as Product People turns 8 years old, I’ve been thinking about different types of resilience and have shared a few good reads with you below.

Speak to you soon,


what to think about this week

Brittleness comes from “one thing”

It’s fun talking about companies that failed because they were vaporware, were attempting to solve a non-problem, or simply downright dysfunctional.

In this article, Jason Cohen looks at some of the reasons why companies suddenly fail, even though they had a good idea, a market and real, paying customers.

Add some resilience to your business


Amazon is eating the software world

Simon Wardley’s writing engages, challenges and perplexes me in equal measure. He has a mapping technique for thinking about your product strategy that will be a revelation (once you wrap your head around it).

Once you understand the technique, you start to understand how companies like Amazon are winning by playing a completely different strategic game to their competitors.

The runaway success of AWS is no fluke


Product management coaching

Whether you’re new to product management or have been a product manager for years, a coaching session can help you to step up your career.

We’ve coached people wanting to get into product management, product people with nobody in their organisation to manage them, and experienced product managers preparing to apply for a promotion.

We can help you prepare for your product manager interview, including mock interviews.

A proportion of the fees from every coaching session is donated to charity.

“Jock’s unique blend of soft skills and professional expertise has helped me improve in so many areas around product management.

“He took time to truly understand my challenges, helped me create a plan of actions, and then measured my progress along the way.

“He supported me with valuable information resources and made sure I understood what the problems were and how to solve them. Thank you, Jock!”

Razvan Braghesiu
Razvan Braghesiu
Product Manager, Safebridge

Find out more about product management coaching

A guide to building a more resilient business

We can define resilience as a company’s capacity to absorb stress, recover critical functionality, and thrive in altered circumstances. COVID-19 has highlighted how reliant business in fact are on each other, and where the weak points in the ecosystem are.

This is Harvard Business Review’s guide to some of the strategies you can use to build resilience into your business.

Embrace change as the default


7 ways to look after your wellbeing at work

Brenda Wong knows that working life isn’t perfect. Even if you are doing what you love, you’ll encounter obstacles, challenges and setbacks that’ll test the most jovial of employees. This is why it’s so important to build resilience.

Be compassionate with yourself


recent posts

You wouldn’t drive blindfolded, would you?

Imagine yourself jumping into your car, strapping in, and firing up the engine. You have a quick look around then pull on a blindfold before launching yourself into traffic. Likelihood of an accident? (Quite high.)

So why do so many take the exact same approach when it comes to creating products?

Take off the blindfold


Save yourself from product management hell

You know you’re in product management hell when you realise corporate strategy is absent or dysfunctional. I’ve certainly been there. This video shows you how to define your product strategy and use it to (hopefully) influence corporate strategy.

‘Get of hell free’ cards available here


The black art of designing content

While distracting myself from doing real work this week, I learnt the phrase ‘black art’ comes from the world of printing presses. So I delved deeper into the world of content design. Eventually I found a product management angle.

Fonts, content and solid user research


can we help you?

Product People is a product management services company. We can help you through consultancy, training and coaching. Just contact us if you need our help!

Product People Limited logo
Product People Limited logo

Helping people build better products, more successfully, since 2012.

PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from old episodes of The Simpsons.




PRODUCTHEAD is my free curated newsletter of the best articles, videos and podcasts from product leaders and commentators all over the world. All neatly packaged up in a weekly email delivery for your reading, viewing and listening pleasure.

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Jock Busuttil

Jock Busuttil

Freelance head of product, author & founder of My surname tends to come up as ‘Bushtit’ in spell-checkers. I also blog at

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