🤗 Strengthen work relationships, learn about Airbnb product culture & from leading companies A/B tests / PM Snacks #33

Olivier Courtois
May 7 · 3 min read

1️⃣ Your Strategy is not a collection of A/B tests
🤷‍♂️ • 2 min read • #strategy #datainformed
I’ve been sharing many articles about strategy in the last few weeks. By now, you may know my beliefs:
- You should always start by defining a product strategy
- A good strategy is rooted in the company’s one & play along with other teams’ stacks
- A good strategy starts with an intent (= a vision or an original angle), acknowledge its hypotheses and use all data sources (market research, usage data, user research) to de-risk it
- As a result, a strategy is articulated and not just a list of experiments

2️⃣ Building Products at Airbnb
Mar 2021 • 8 min read • #productculture
I shared in the edition #4 a few differences between Google & Apple product cultures. Here is a cool series by Ken Norton deep diving in leading companies ones. The first article is about Airbnb & here are some take aways:
1/ They are not design-led, like any other companies progress is achieved through team efforts (often led by PMs). But they are definitely vision-led (= clear intent) and go as far as creating storyboards (or movies) to visualise it
2/ Their culture is more top-down than most people would think. Nothing wrong about that. But PMs who thrive need to be good at relationship building & storytelling

3️⃣ Five Tips for Building Relationships as a Product Manager
Oct 2020 • 7 min read • #manageyourself #influence
Whether you want to join Airbnb 😉 or just step up your game, this article share some practical advice to strengthen your work relationships. My preferred ones:
1/ Don’t underestimate small talk. I know it’s quite obvious… but how many of you start online meeting with it? I’d definitely suggest to add a 5-min window & use prompts to help your teammates. No inspiration, use that tool or this one.
2/ Always take time to explain yourself. What is the strategy you follow? What are the hypotheses you want to test? Why are you saying no to a stakeholder?
3/ Actively listen & get to know the true intent. When entering any conversation, stop & listen. If someone argue with passion, there is a reason. Learn about it, share yours & build empathy.
4/ Learn to be vulnerable: acknowledging when you don’t know something for a start. It creates trust. I know it can be scary, but people will actually respect you more if you are open about it. That’s something I wish I knew when I started… Sidenote: I don’t know how well this advice could scale through cultures

4️⃣ Learn from leading companies A/B tests
Mar 2021 • 2 min read • #ux #execution
I just learned about this website and needed to share it. The concept is very simple: go faster by discovering UI patterns A/B tested by well known companies.
1/ If you’re new to A/B testing, that could give you a clear idea of the type of things it’s useful for
2/ If your design resources are limited, it can be a good way to discover new “validated” patterns. But please, at least, try to test it through user testing. What is true for a big corporation could completely be false for your users…

❇️ Live with Gibson Biddle on ProductSquad
Mar 2021 • 69 min watch • #strategy
I was lucky enough to participate in a live with Gibson Biddle, the former VP Product of Netflix, that you should know by now if you have been reading me for a while. Thanks Axel for the invitation :)

I’m Olivier Courtois, a product maker for 10y+, currently freelance, coach& Startup advisor, former VP Product comet & Product Director ManoMano.

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Olivier Courtois

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10y+ in Product, now freelance / coach / advisor • Newsletter at productver.se • ex- VP-Product comet & Product Director ManoMano


A sharp, human & opinionated product management curation made to cut through the noise. Once a week, on https://productver.se. 2 weeks later on medium.

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