Running Products as Restaurants

Petrus_(London)_Kitchen
We all have to eat in order to live. But it doesn’t mean that the only solution is a restaurant or a particular restaurant. Software products are like restaurants: people may use your product but it doesn’t mean that their are stuck with it; they can go somewhere else to attend for their need.
Let’s forget for a bit about the software and focus on restaurants: why do you choose a particular restaurant? What are the must-have and nice-to-have “features” that make you choosing it? I could argue that for most people these are the things they are looking for when choosing a restaurant: quality of the food, quality of the service, restaurant location, available tables, and ambiance, curiosity or sense of adventure.*

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About Mind the Product conference – London, 2015

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The conference has finished couple of hours ago and I’m at the after party thinking about what I’ve seen during the day and why I have the feeling that I should be joining the conference next year again.

So I figured out that it might be useful to share my thoughts with those who didn’t have a chance to get to this conference so far. Especially as they extend it to San Francisco.

First what is it? It is arguably the biggest conference focused on product management in this part of the world (Europe). This year, there were 1,200 people at the conference. About 300 more compared to the last year. During the two days you get a chance to attend workshops and watch the general sessions (9 sessions). I can not speak about the workshops as I didn’t attend any.

I liked the conference. A lot. But then again liking a conference is like being a fan of a football club or loving salmon clothes: it’s something that it is not that easy to argument at least not in a scientific way. Continue reading

About Unbundling Products

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If you are not on the side that decides to unbundle your successful product (think of Facebook for example) the process can potentially makes you feel rather negative emotions.*

If your product is more like a modern bathroom then you should definitely think twice before deciding to go for unbundling. Stop and think about this: would you really want to have the toilet, sink, and shower in three different rooms?

Think about your experience each morning during the workdays as you, half awake, move from room to room to piss, wash your hands and teeth, take a shower, comb your hair or shave or put the make-up (or doing all of these) to get ready for work. I am not sure how much would you put with it having an alternative.

While moving from your home to another one is a slow process and costly, dropping an application and moving to the competition is not that slow nor costly for most users. You could lose some business and karma.**

* Facebook move to pull the Chat feature outside the native app or Foursquare moving outside the checkin feature have alienated some users. Unfortunately, I don’t have any stats to prove my point so feel free to disagree with me. Don’t forget about the bathroom though.
** Unless you are Facebook and users can only go to Google+. Which they wouldn’t. So you can do whatever you want to do to them. And yet they will keep smiling from thousands of selfies.

Picture from https://www.flickr.com/photos/kerryanndame/6036403010/in/album-72157629262974651/.

Why processes/methodologies are no silver bullets for software development

Every time you hear that a new process is about to be implemented at your company to increase productivity or software quality or creativity you should open wide your eyes and look around. Chances are that the problems are not processe related in the first place. 

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Let me start with a true story about bolts, washers, and nuts. I was in the 5th or 6th grade when all the boys from my class had the privilege to understand the working class: once a week we were taken to a factory and given the task to put together a bolt, two washers (split and flat), and a nut (these Kafkaesque tasks were common during the communist regime). In front of us on huge steel tables was a pile and we had a quota. After a while we realised that if we split in teams and each person does only one task we will finish the job faster. A simple change in the process increased our productivity while the people working on were the same. Continue reading

Keep Walking

I had the time of my life at Adobe, especially the time spent as an evangelist. I still remember the day I met Ben Forta for the firs time and he offered me the chance to join Adobe’s Platform Evangelism team.

Right there I knew that it was a big opportunity. But even so I couldn’t imagine the impact will have on me not only from a professional point of view but from a citizen of this planet too. As developers we think that we know our clients and users. Some might actually know. But for the most of us it is always more about the ride then the summit. And for software products you have to make happy your clients otherwise there will be no trip anymore. Continue reading

Tips & tricks for traveling like a pro

My travels in the pat 16 months

For the past 6-7 years I’ve been traveling a lot (about 90 days a year). So, it is only natural that I became better and better at coping with travel related stress. And when I say better I mean I discovered the tricks that minimize the stress associated with travel. Let’s face it: unless you work as pilot or something like this you are a lot more interested in what awaits you once you got off the plane than what you experienced during the flight.

So here are some tips in no particular orders. Continue reading

Three things I learned at Cannes Lions 2014

Cannes Young Lions Print Competition briefeing

This year I had the pleasure to brief and help the competitors from the Young Lions competition (Adobe was one of the event sponsors). These competitions are just one small part of this 7-day festival, the biggest in the world.

You can imagine that you have lots of things to learn and absorb and even more when it is your first visit to Lions festival.

Much to my surprise, what I loved the most were related to the work of the Cyber competition winners, the Print competition theme, and the team who supported the 5 competitions related to creative work. Let me explain why. Continue reading

Support for high pixel density screens in Adobe Muse CC 2014

The high pixel density screen proliferation introduced a new “requirement” for most web sites: providing two different resolutions for the images. If you decide on going just for the standard resolution, then those pictures will look fuzzy on devices such as iPhone 5 or 5s, iPad Air, or MacBook Pro with retina display.

In order to get around this problem the common solution is to have two versions for a given image: “normal” resolution (to be used for low pixel density screens) and twice the resolution (for high pixel density screens). Then with a little bit of JavaScript you can serve the right image.

Adobe Muse CC has now support for handling high-resolution screens. As because we are talking about Muse, it doesn’t involve any coding. You just have to enable an option and use 2X images.

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