Your on-demand business partner

Wouldn't it be SO COOL if it changed colors?!?!

My primary vehicle is a bicycle, and I try to be safe and visible, especially in these crazy Boston streets, where cars don't obey traffic lights and stop signs, where pedestrians walk out into the street whenever they feel like it, and where other bicyclists are on a death wish weaving around the mayhem.

wheel lights.jpg

So, I have a bike radio, I have strong head- and tail- lights, and my latest addition are rope lights to my wheels.

I get a lot of friendly comments about the rope lights when I'm out at night on my bicycle.

But my favorite recent comment was from a boy who looked to be about 9 years old who was walking down the street with his mom and shouted,

"WOW, look at that mom! Wouldn't it be SO COOL if it changed colors?!"

Of course I like the compliment, but what struck me wasn't just the kid's exuberance for the product - it was how he immediately wanted to make it even better.

If I'm the Product Manager for these bicycle rope lights, that's the best reaction I could ever want from a customer - yes I totally want that and I can't wait for the next version!

Look for these kinds of cues from you customers - when they talk about your product, are they saying:

"Yes! AND..."

or are they saying:

"Yes, if only..."

On paper the difference is subtle, but if you're actively talking to your customers, the difference will be like night and day.

(Hint: you want the "Yes! AND" responses)

Work hard, play hard, no assholes!

Last week, I heard a fantastic addition to this mantra – and I'm not sure how public this knowledge is, so I won't reveal the company name. Their mantra is:

Work hard, play hard, no assholes

They have a culture that embraces a positive work/life balance, because they know that this is key to creating successful, happy employees who will drive the company to great successes. But they also acknowledge that a company's culture can be spoiled and tainted by a few bad apples, and I absolutely love a company that, at its core, wants to reject assholes. I've seen over and over again how infectious and damaging just 1 asshole can be on a team's morale and productivity.

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Love the Customer, not the Problem (nor your Solution)

When you love your customers, you will want to solve the biggest problems they have. 

When you love your customers, you will know the next problem they want solved after you've solved their current problem.  

When you love your customers, you understand who they are and how their world is changing around them, allowing you to adapt and change with them.

Love the Customer, not the Solution

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Your survey data is bullshit – trash it and take these 5 steps

...While I took the survey, the three women sat there politely, talked amongst themselves and fiddled with their tablets. I finished, got my gift card and walked away.

Then I noticed another person going over to the table to fill out the survey.  I looked around the space and I realized the only people that were filling out this survey were glassy-eyed engineering-types who were stretching their legs and getting some coffee.  

What do each of these folks know about their employer's data security needs?

I can save this data security company a ton of money right now – please go ahead and drag your survey results over to the Trash.  There, I have just saved you tens of thousands of dollars that you would have spent designing products, services and campaigns that were destined to fail because they were based on meaningless data contributed by people who are not your customers!

Here's a better idea – listen to your customers!

Here are the five steps I would have followed at this data security company to learn more about my customers in this workspace.

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