Should PMs do user research? Should PMs be crazy busy? These are the questions posed by the first two of this week’s good reads. Good questions. There’s more after that on good PM interview questions and some slightly off topic reads that I found got the brain juices flowing.

Sorry for the slightly later than usual publication time this week, folks! Jet lag got me.


Should product managers do user research? by Chloé Martinot.
This has been a point of “much discussion” for me over the years. I find it’s a factor of your intentions, goals, product/market fit, and means (among other things) that are the key factors in answering the question. Here are Chloé’s thoughts.

The dangerous rise of “crazy-busy” product managers by Rian van der Merwe.
I couldn’t agree with Rian more..

It’s time to talk about how “crazy-busy PM” thinking is harmful to individuals and our industry.

Picking good Product Managers – insightful interview questions by Shaun Clowes.
This isn’t the usual list of questions you see in every write up that tries to tackle this question. I enjoyed asking myself how I’d answer these!

To Answer Critics, YouTube Tries a New Metric: Responsibility by Mark Bergen and Lucas Shaw.
Like Facebook and other social networks, YouTube is changing the way it views its place in the world. As a result, its definition of success is changing. This Bloomberg article shares a little of the background around what’s going on at YouTube, where they’re looking at the quality of content on the platform instead of engagement.

Your Smartphone Apps Are Filled With Trackers You Know Nothing About by Owen Williams.
This was a great piece by Owen Williams, talking about how mobile apps are filled with tools for tracking app usage similar to the kind of things we see on the web.

If you’ve worked in mobile apps, this probably comes as no suprise to you. You’ve probably used tools like this before. Heck, you’ve possibly even built one! I sure have.

I love this article for two reasons. Firstly, it’s spot on.. there’s a severe lack of transparency about what goes on. Secondly, it’s a call to action for us to be more responsible, privacy-focused technologists. IMHO, that doesn’t mean “don’t learn about usage”, but rather that we should do so with the upmost levels of responsibility.

The next generation of photo booths have their sights set on you by Natt Garun.
I absolutely love stories about old technologies and experiences that are reborn for modern times. This one is about photo booths and reflects on how it’s all about digital influencers and FOMO now. The photo booth of the past, cinematic shorthand and occasional object of quirkiness (Amélie! What a film), is no more.

Media and Social

Fun new practice encounter of the week … team has 4x1hr meetings a week. Each meeting matches part of the double diamond (divergent and convergent exploration, divergent and convergent responding/solutioning, etc.)

“We found that it was better to organize by frame-of-mind”— John Cutler (@johncutlefish) April 13, 2019

You almost never get step-function innovation from leading with metrics & goals.

It usually comes from the aggregated learnings of teams over time, followed by “aha” lightbulb moments.

You can’t measure or incentivize it; you can only open space for it to shine when it happens.— Tristan Harward (@trisweb) April 13, 2019

Woohoo. TLDR: adding (1) recipient name; (2) job coach name; (3) “I’ve booked you a place, good luck!” to an SMS invite more than doubled attendance at employment events (10% to 26%)— Elspeth Kirkman (@Karminker) April 10, 2019