Who is this guy?
I’m a big advocate for bringing customers’ needs and wants into the innovation and product development process. I call these jobs-to-be-done, and have written extensively about them on this blog.
Most recently, I was VP Product for Spigit (worked there from Mar. 2009 – Sep. 2013). Spigit offers a SaaS innovation management platform for enterprises. The company was acquired by Mindjet in September 2013, and as a consequence I’m no longer with Spigit. The infographic below tells the story of my work with Spigit.
I’m well-versed in the product requirements process. Create marketing requirement documents (MRDs) to analyze the opportunity and outline the functionality. What about making product a reality? I’m experienced in two ways. (1) Product requirement documents (PRDs) are great for generating an integrated view of the desired functionality and user experience. But they are challenging for managing the day-in, day-out work of building the product. (2) User stories are drawn from the agile development realm, and offer a much better way of tracking progress on their build-out. They also allow flexibility in delivery schedules. User stories are challenging in that they can make it difficult to see the forest for the trees.
I work closely with different parts of the organization: (1) User experience team to generate as simple an experience as possible, but no simpler. (2) Developers to bring the feature to life, learn from them and ensure the product meets the design. (3) Client account reps to understand clients’ uses and to communicate new features. (4) Sales and marketing to set product messaging, receive feedback from firms that aren’t customers and demo the product as needed. (5) Executives to ensure we’re all on the same page and address dynamic environments where market requirements change.
Work directly with customers to understand their jobs-to-be-done. Any product manager worth his salt should love this work.
Here’s a bit more of my background:
I got my MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, where I managed to receive the Faculty Award for Academic Excellence awarded to the top 10% of the graduating class. Out of school, I worked my way up to Vice President for Banc of America Securities doing something called syndicated loans. I left BofA in 2000 after the NationsBank acquisition.
Since then, I’ve been deeply involved in the software industry with several interesting companies. My first tech job was with eFinance (now Identrust), where I designed statistical credit scorecards for Hertz Equipment Rental and collections workflow optimization for Automated Data Processing (the folks that handle your paycheck). After eFinance, I spent a couple years with Pay By Touch, where I was the Senior Product Manager for the SmartShop Recommendation System. This system matched shoppers’ purchase histories against a pool of discounts provided by grocers and consumer packaged goods (CPGs) manufacturers. We brought to the offline world of grocery the benefits of recommendation systems that companies like Amazon.com enjoy.
After Pay By Touch, I worked with BEA Systems as a Senior Product Marketing Manager for its Enterprise 2.o products. It’s that job that made me start blogging on February 9, 2008, and I’ve been enjoying it ever since.
After Oracle bought BEA Systems, I went to work for Connectbeam, as a Senior Product Manager, a job I got through social media. Connectbeam ties together the social software applications of companies, adding a new layer of value to them and increasing their adoption.