Alexandru Bleau

More happy than crazy, busy with product management, people and coffee

What is a failed experiment from a product manager’s perspective

Let’s start with a simple fact: no one likes to fail.

Now, if you happen to also be a product manager, fully accountable for your team’s motivation and your outcomes and the product and possibly – indirectly – the outcome of the business, then you dislike it even more.

As product managers, we tend to run a lot of experiments (a/b tests, MVPs, etc.) so it’s important to take a step back and think about what we should consider failure.

For each and every experiment, we (should) have a hypothesis.

The purpose of any experiment is to test a hypothesis and draw conclusions. 

From that perspective, I consider an experiment a failure when I am unable to draw conclusions and establish if I have proven or disproven the hypothesis.

Let me give you 2 examples:
1. A product manager runs an experiment that results in a 5% increase in revenue. When asked what learnings or conclusions did he get out of that experiment, he doesn’t have any. We could argue that in this case, that 5% is a one time bonus. Without any learnings, we don’t have any chance of reproducing the success.

2. A product manager runs an experiment that results in a 7% drop in revenue. However, the experiment and the process of building and running it yields several key learnings that other teams can reuse to avoid making similar mistakes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love experiments with positive business/user outcomes as much as any other product person out there.

What I’m arguing for is that the focus should be on the learnings and you should be concerned if you don’t get any from an experiment.

Any youtube or vimeo channels for product managers?

I recently answered this question on Quora with 4 channels that I regularly follow.
Are there other channels with great content that focus on product management?
If not, are there channels with great content that focus on skills related to product management? (e.g. leadership, communication, decision making, business, etc.)

Here are my recommendations. Looking forward to yours in the comments:

Read Bleau Alexandru's answer to Is there a good YouTube channel for product managers? on Quora

You don’t need a title to lead and be a leader

There are so many actions and things you can do in any organization that can show you are a leader far before someone will even consider that you should bear the title.

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Principles and heuristics a product manager should consider

As a product manager, you will constantly be thrown into the most interesting and challenging situations possible working with your team and stakeholders. It’s what makes the job fun and interesting, to begin with.

But this rollercoaster very often comes with a lot of pressure and giving in when you shouldn’t do so can make or break your product.

Just like muscle reflexes, I believe we also have mental reflexes. Training them to react properly means consistently doing my job better.

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Machines and A.I. will help us solve problems faster and better

While we are still debating and guessing mostly what A.I. and smart machines will bring in the future, the future is already slowly sneaking its way into the present.

Earlier this year in July, Deepmind, Google’s A.I. division was showcasing that their machine taught itself to walk. It is really fun and interesting to watch

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Not enjoying your Mondays should be your warning shot

You should love Mondays. It is a fresh start to do something new, to change something, to kick something into high gear. That is what Mondays are for.

You know what is even greater? You have about 50 every year. 50 chances to start, stop, grow, change something.

But Mondays are also for something else. Not enjoying your Monday should be your first warning shot. A warning that something needs to start, stop, grow or change… from your current status quo.

So if you currently don’t like your Monday, figure out why, and stop receiving those warnings.

Common sense shower thoughts

I happened to “tumble” over these 2 shower thoughts. Even though people are creating so many new products and services, there is still a lot of value slipping in between the cracks.

For example:

What other similar gems have you found?

Elon Musk: I would like to die on Mars, just not on impact

If anyone would come up and say that they want to test landing rockets on a platform, in the middle of the ocean, with difficult wind speeds AND make it land by itself, I would have had a hard time saying yes. Anyone would.

And yet, SpaceX has done just that. And they did it in 5 tries. 5. 5! I needed more tries to learn to ride a bike.

Can you imagine someone working on this project going home for dinner? “How was your day at work honey? …Oh, ok. We just made a rocket autoland on a moving platform”

Even the U.S. President was jealous:

What an incredible day and what an incredible achievement. Enjoy the awesomeness below:

Can drone racing become a sport of the future?

I read an interesting piece about drone racing and people who want to make more of this type of events than just backyard fun. And that sounds cool.

From the disused locations to the fact that they decorate the location and encourage racers to be “aggressive”, it all adds up to an interesting racing experience that we have only seen in games or movies.

Here’s a quote from the article:

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Mobile Web vs. Native Apps. You might need both but question is when

One of the people that I constantly follow and read is Luke Wroblewski. If you don’t know him yet, do look him up. He recently wrote an article about Mobile Web vs. Native Apps where he does argue in the end that we might need both.

While native apps dominate the “time spent on your phone”, in reality, the dominate part is done by just a handful of apps… most likely not yours.

In the meantime, mobile web audience is growing both bigger and faster than native apps.

Unless your app is the service, there are three questions (at least) you should ask yourself before spending valuable time and resources building that app:

  1. What’s in it for the user? If there is no solid reason for him to keep your app on the phone versus accessing from the browser, your app will be deleted within a month. Good examples here would be Pocket and Google Maps giving the ability to save content offline.
  2. Can you afford the resources? We are not only talking about initial development time here. There’s maintenance, updates, bug fixes, compatibility for oh so many devices, customer support and the list goes on.
  3. Can you afford the time? It takes several months at least to deliver a high quality app. Months. That means a lot of time that you could use to deliver a lot of value to your users. It also means you are actively giving competitors time to copy or clone your service. It takes as little as 3 weeks for a successful app to be cloned.

So yes, native apps do serve their purpose and come with certain advantages both for the users and for the business, but it’s important to find the right timing and reasons for investing in building it.

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