The Underappreciated Value of Incremental Design

The Convair Model 118 Flying Car.There’s no such thing as a boring product update.Apple announced iPhone 7 this week, and without missing a beat, the tech press decried it as dull. Tech pundits seem to have this same argument cued up every time Apple launches something that’s not game-changing innovation. I think they’re totally missing the point.There…

via The Underappreciated Value of Incremental Design — Signal v. Noise – Medium

A tunnel is a cave with a light at the end

Just because it’s dark it doesn’t mean we’re underground. It often means that no one has bothered to turn on any lights.

via A tunnel is a cave with a light at the end — Seth Godin’s Blog on marketing, tribes and respect

Number of hours worked is not the same as how effective they (and you) are!

Measuring how hard your team is working by counting the number of hours they work or what time they get in and leave is how amateurs run companies. The number of hours worked is not the same as how effective they (and you) are. I had been invited by Rahul, one of my students from […]

via Working Hard is not the same as working smart — Steve Blank

Teaching Uncertainity

Here’s how we’ve organized traditional schooling: You’re certain to have these classes tomorrow. The class will certainly follow the syllabus. There will certainly be a test. If you do well on the test, you will certainly go on to the next year. If you do well on the other test, you’ll certainly get to go…

via Teaching certainty — Seth Godin’s Blog on marketing, tribes and respect

How to build products the Spotify way!

I am fascinated by the process that went behind building the products that I use every day. Spotify is a company that has an awesome track record of product delivery with over 20 million active users and 5 million and growing paying subscribers. Spotify’s core phases for Product Development are as follows:

  • Think It = figure out what type of product is being built and why.
  • Build It = create a minimum viable product that is ready for real users.
  • Ship It = gradually roll out to 100% of all users, while measuring and improving.
  • Tweak It = Continuously improve the product. This is really an end state; the product stays in Tweak It until it is shut down or reimagined (= back to Think It).

The following chart shows the Risk vs. Time for each phase: RiskVs.Time

As you can see, the “Think It” stage drives down risk at a low cost. You can also see why the “Build It” phase is short as possible (high operating cost and little risk reduction). To gradually reduce operating cost in “Tweak It” reflects that, over time, the product doesn’t need to be updated as much and teams can start moving on to other things.

In addition to their product development process, Spotify also has a unique approach to how they organize their teams into their Goal Focused Squad model. The following video goes over how Spotify organizes their teams:

You can also read more about Spotify’s Product Development process here.

Sprint: Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas

I’m a huge fan of the Lean UX methodology when it comes to solving problems and building better products. Another book that takes the whole Lean UX methodology to the next level is Sprint by Google Ventures. The book offers the same themed day approach where a five-day process leads to answering crucial questions through prototyping and testing ideas with customers. A typical week using the Sprint approach looks like the following:

Source: Sprint Book
Source: Sprint Book

 

The following playlist goes over each day of a Sprint week and what makes the process special:

 

The HoloLense Experience

“We’re making a long-term bet that immersive, virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people’s daily life.” – Marc Zuckerburg

This past week I had the opportunity to try out the HoloLense at Microsoft Build in San Francisco. I was overall impressed by the experience. Having also experience the Oculus Rift, I found the HoloLense to have way more practical use cases other than gaming and entertainment. As with any new technology, the HoloLense still has a long way to go to be ready for the mass consumer market but it’s great to see Microsoft thinking ahead and innovating towards the next platform after mobile.

Zain Abiddin Hololense at Microsoft Build
Zain Abiddin tries out the Hololense at Microsoft Build

The following video goes deeper into some of the possibilities of Hololense: