We are eight weeks away from our flagship event, #mtpcon London! What’s more, it’s 10 years old this year, with the first-ever #mtpcon happening in October 2012.
Our London stage has played host to an exceptional group of product speakers over the past decade, so each week in the run-up to this year’s event, we’ll bring you the most exciting moments from #mtpcon London in years gone by.
This week we turn our attention to #mtpcon London 2015 where Shiva Rajaraman, currently VP of Product at OpenSea, led an engaging session on the main stage. Shiva has had a long record building amazing products across YouTube, Google and now Spotify. He spoke to the audience about being awesome in product management.
Relish the random
Shiva opened by explaining how every product out there has been hacked, extended, or reused by its users in some way. It’s important to embrace these random uses as they are a strong signal that your community of users is truly passionate about the product.
“As a product manager, we need to dive into this community of users. Know how your product is being used and encourage these emergent behaviours,” he adds.
Break things every now and then…
As soon as a product or company is even remotely successful, it’s common to get stuck in the status quo and worry about breaking what’s already working, Shiva says. However it is necessary to break through that status quo in order to build something truly exceptional. “As product managers, we need to have the courage to break things occasionally in the pursuit of that goal,” he says.
Your country is not the world
Companies all too often focus just on what they know – their own country or market. It’s critical, however, to be able to back out and take a global perspective on your product and your market. Shiva says to embrace the diversity of your audience or market offers different perspectives and lenses with which to view your product.
Hack the full stack
Shiva goes on to explain how modern software development processes put the product manager as the glue in the middle, but it’s important to not just think about what you can build through product and engineering but through content or your ecosystem too. There may well be ways to delight your users without building anything new at all.
It’s too easy to focus on continuously adding new features, but it’s important to step back and think about whether what you’re building can serve as a platform for many use cases, Shiva says. Even on a small scale, it’s can be useful to think about how your product fits into your users’ ecosystem.
Embrace old tropes
Although we all love and embrace new technology, Shiva explains how it can be even more powerful when served or packaged up in old tropes that your users are familiar with. Familiar tropes like scheduled programmes can be great ways to deliver new technology.
Innovation is the fruit of failure
This is a corollary of breaking things but whenever you have a forgiving audience, Shiva explains how it’s important to embrace that and test new features and ideas even if they’re not 100% perfect because sometimes you can only learn by failing.
Shiva’s final lesson was all around changing lives through product management. Increasingly a lot of our products or ecosystems have the potential to improve people’s lives, and it’s important to understand how your product is affecting all the users of your product even if they’re not your primary user. “Ask yourself if there are new careers, new economies, new businesses that exist because of your product – or figure out how to make that happen,” he says. It’s important to involve your users in this goal too, as they become fans when they feel aligned with your mission and feel like they have an impact.
Check out another amazing talk from #mtpcon London 2015: 10x Not 10%, Product Management by Orders of Magnitude by Ken Norton.
#mtpcon London is back this October (13th & 14th) and celebrating its 10th anniversary! Join us for our tried and tested hybrid conference format, for two full days of product inspiration (plus a day of optional pre-conference workshops!). Find out more here.