Bringing Better Design to Wearables

Something like for the group today. I wanted to pass along a good (and short!) article about wearable technology coming to the grips with the fact that you actually have to get people to WANT to put it on their bodies.

The reason that this is important is that if you emphasis function over form you might just end up with this.

In all seriousness, the article notes a few interesting things:

-Intel has funded a $1.25M design challenge for wearables
-The Shine tracker from Misfit Wearables incorporates pendants and leather bands instead of athletic-looking wrist bands
-There are also different technical challenges in trying to track activity depending on where your product lives (the wrist, the chest, a clip on a shoe) that all need to traded off.

Drawing new battle lines

I’m sending along a good article from the market-watchers about the race to take advantage of an ever-growing Affinity Database by the leading tech companies, particularly Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

The conclusion of the article is that Google, not Facebook (despite it’s collecting 80Bn ‘likes’ per month) will win the race, claiming the Goog has to its advantage:

-A broader set of affinity data across all of its properties
-Proven ability to create meaning from all of this data (noise?)
-Simply better and richer ad units than Facebook

What do you think?

Food for Thought: Startups and Security

2014 has been a tough year so far for privacy and security in the start-up world. Breaches have been common on some of the hottest startups, among themTinder, and Kickstarter, and recent concerns about the level of encryption at WhatsApp.

And, although Apple has been embroiled in its own issues (thank you forced updates for ruining my week last week), which reminds us that size doesn’t matter when it comes to imperviousness to attacks, startups seem to be particularly hard hit.

“There’s so much focus on acquiring customers and delivering products and services that security is not top of mind,” said Tripp Jones, a partner at August Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Half-joking, he added: “For many companies, a security breach would almost be a nice problem to have in some cases. It means you have enough customers for someone to care.”NYTimes, 3/2/14

One thing that concerns me is that increasingly people will distrust our medium. No matter who’s at fault, I’m concerned that the technology industry and any implicit trust in our good behavior will be undermined by these breaches.

Have you stopped using any startups because of security concerns?

How do you spark your own creative streaks?

We’ve talked a lot about design this week. But how do you even come up with something worth designing for in the first place?

I’ve attached a short video below about how App makers are trying to help us unlock our creative potential either through mind-mapping techniques or walking a mobile phone user through a creative process.

However, I’m MORE interested in understanding how PMs here spark their own creativity?

-With a technological tool?
-With any technology at all?
-Or even the absence of technology?

Design Resources For The Win

If you haven’t checked out Google Ventures’ Design Library, you’re missing out. Formerly called, it’s another wealth of resources for our those interested in Product Management in the knowledge economy.

The site is loaded with:
-Founder interviews
-Articles on PM, Leadership, and Marketing
-(and of course) Design thinking and running design sprints

Check it out and find some favorites!

The Importance of Fair Process

A new strain in management science is pushing the relative importance of the process followed in decision-making over the outcome.

In other words, outcomes are important to people but no more important than whether they had their say, their opinions heard and valued, regardless of whether those were ultimately rejected or not.

Additionally, in the knowledge economy in particular, fair process is critical to creating an environment of trust and collaboration where employees want to bring their best ideas forward and share their creativity.

This HBR article, which goes into detail on this subject, IDs 3 critical factors in assessing a fair process:

-Engagement (make people part of the process)
-Explanation (explain why decisions were made they way there were)
-Expectation clarity (ensure everyone knows the new rules of the game)

A fair process is not decision by consensus, nor is fair process the same as democracy in the workplace. There is still managerial prerogative to decide, and to do so without necessarily achieving complete agreement. But you need to do that within a process that everyone can buy into.

The article’s chief case study notes the differing experiences various firms have had with implementing (or not) fair process with one memorable quote about why a big change worked one place when it hadn’t in others:

“Did people suddenly get smarter? No, I’d say they started to care.”

Is procrastination a good thing?

Something fitting for today. A recent article from Fast Company that asks whether waiting on that Action Item is actually not necessarily a bad thing.

The two key items that I took away from this are:
1. Procrastinators make better decisions
-This of that time that you decided to wait before sending that email response

2. Unnecessary tasks disappear when you procrastinate
-Taking your time makes you focus on what you absolutely need to get done

What’s your take on this? More importantly, how do you balance all the competing demands on your time. All of us need your help!

Mobile First: Wikipedia Lags Behind

A good reminder of how quickly you can find yourself behind the 8-ball.

Only 20% of Wikipedia users navigate there via mobile vs. what is usually more than 50% for other large publishers.

More importantly, only 1% of all Wkipedia edits are made via mobile today; this is on top of a growing concern that interest in cultivating and creating content on Wikipedia is waning.

Remember to be ahead of these well-known consumer trends (or at least catch-up fast!).

Managing AIs: Don’t Move up the Y Axis

Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO, recently did an interview that’s been quoted up and down the management blogosphere. What was his point?

It’s this: Imagine you’re in a meeting with someone and plot the following on two axes.

X-axis: how clearly you communicated what you wanted to convey to the person you’re meeting with

Y-axis: how happy or mad that person is with you at the end

The takeaway: Optimize for the X axis and avoid a scenario where “you are taking to dos and moving up the y axis and you are going to spend all afternoon on those to dos you took” in an effort to make them feel better.

More on this has been written on another solid blog: AVC.

Pay by Tweet?

I recently met the BD guy from a young company known as Chirpify.

The basic premise is a way to pay by tweet or other social media shoutout.

As he pointed out:
-Social media marketing budgets are expected to grow (his estimate 8-20% over the next 5 years)
-The rise of ‘couch commerce’ yields new opportunities for marketers (50% of tablet owners say they use them while watching TV)

I questioned the premise that hashtags (or ‘action tags’ as they call them) are the new URL.

Would you tweet to buy something?