PM Perspectives: Addictive vs. Good Products, B2B to B2C

Welcome to our Product Newsletter, a biweekly email highlighting top discussions, and learning resources for product managers.

What We Will Cover In This Edition:-

Top Discussions: 

1) How do you, as a PM, find the right balance between making products that are “addictive” and products that are good for consumers?

2) Switching from B2B PM to Consumer Tech PM?

3) What’s different between a B2C and a B2B PM?

Top Learning Resources:

1. How To Work With Designers

2. Training Your Product Intuition

3. The Ladder Of Evidence: Get More Value From Your Customer Interviews And Product Experiments

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Top Discussions

Question 1How do you, as a PM, find the right balance between making products that are “addictive” and products that are good for consumers?

I want to know more about ethics in product management. How can I do that?

What podcasts, books, or Twitter accounts do you think people should follow?

Your valuable inputs are sought.

– Marty Ross

Discussion

A] It depends on the business, the product, and the team. It would not be too much of a stretch to say that any product helps people. People smoke to relax, among other things. This is something that PMs always do. Some things you should work on are things you believe in. If you think your product is hurting people, you should say something and change it, or you should move on. Keep an eye on this post to see what other people think. Remember, as a product manager, it’s important to constantly seek out new perspectives and stay informed on industry trends.

Consider following thought leaders in your specific field on Twitter or subscribing to podcasts that focus on product management best practices. Stay curious and open-minded to continue growing in your role.

– Matthew Shun

B] The business model will have a big impact on this. If your income comes from ads, you’ll want to get people to spend more time with your product, even if it’s not good for them.

In contrast, I work on either one-time-sale or subscription-based software. In both situations, the main goal is to quickly provide the customer with what they require. They shouldn’t spend time in the software; instead, they should use the information we give them to solve problems. It wouldn’t bother me if they set up their stuff and never touched the product again, as long as they get the value that was promised.

– Dave Kim

C] To transition from a B2B Product Manager to a Consumer Tech Product Manager, consider gaining a deep understanding of the consumer tech landscape through research and networking. Acquire relevant skills, such as UX design and consumer behavior analysis, by taking online courses and attending industry events. Showcase your commitment to the field by working on personal projects, building a consumer-focused portfolio, and taking on freelance or volunteer opportunities. Stay updated on industry news, connect with professionals in the consumer tech community, and seek mentorship to gain insights and guidance. Tailor your resume and emphasize experiences that align with consumer tech requirements to effectively position yourself for the transition.

Finding the right balance between creating “addictive” products for revenue and products that genuinely benefit consumers is crucial for a Product Manager. This balance requires a deep understanding of user needs, ethical considerations, and a focus on long-term customer satisfaction. To achieve this balance, Product Managers should prioritize user-centric design, ethical product practices, and transparent communication with users. By aligning revenue goals with delivering real value to consumers, Product Managers can build sustainable products that foster user trust and engagement while contributing to the company’s financial success.

– Mario Romero

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Question 2) Switching from B2B PM to Consumer Tech PM?

Hi – I wanted to share this with the world in the hopes that someone might have some insight or advice regarding my current situation.

I am a product manager for a publicly traded B2B software company. The products that we develop are initially utilized primarily by internal teams; however, some of them are subsequently “promoted” to physical products that are sold to customers, albeit only after a transition to a different team to facilitate further productization (if that makes sense).

Four to five years of my professional life were devoted to B2B positions (Program Manager, Technical Program Manager, Product Manager). I am interested in transitioning into the consumer technology sector due to the potential it holds to develop practical, everyday items. How might I strengthen my resume at a consumer technology company during this period of rest at home? Classes? Supplementary Projects?

Is it also feasible (or sane) to attempt a career change this year?
Any advice is appreciated!

– Jane Winfred

Discussion

A] It is not difficult to modify one’s line of work. Consider the products that you use on a daily or weekly basis, for example Reddit. Who is the user, why do they use it, what is the trigger that brings them to the product, what are the key metrics for the company, and how would you improve it or test your ideas? Your mindset would shift to that of a consumer PM, which is distinct from that of a business-to-business (B2B) PM. Understanding the consumer perspective is crucial in product management, as it allows you to tailor products to meet their needs and preferences. By analyzing user behavior and feedback, you can make informed decisions on how to improve the product and enhance the user experience. Remember to always stay curious, adaptable, and open to learning from your target audience.

I’m hooked on books, and I don’t want to think much about lean analytics.

– Amy Walker

B] It is definitely possible to attempt a career change this year, as many industries are still hiring and adapting to the current situation. Research different career paths that interest you and consider transferable skills you may already possess. Networking virtually and seeking mentorship can also help guide you in making a successful career change during this time.

Remember, the job market may be competitive right now, but with dedication and perseverance, it is still possible to make a change. Take advantage of online resources and virtual career fairs to explore new opportunities and connect with potential employers. Utilize this time to focus on self-improvement and skill-building to make yourself a stronger candidate in your desired field. With determination and a proactive approach, you can navigate through the challenges and come out on top in your new career path.

– Maria Wilson

C] Consider taking relevant classes or certifications in consumer technology to enhance your knowledge and skills in the sector. Additionally, working on supplementary projects or freelance opportunities related to consumer technology can help demonstrate your passion and commitment to the industry during this period of rest at home. This can also help you build up your portfolio and gain practical experience that you can highlight on your resume. Networking with professionals in the consumer technology sector through online events or social media can also be beneficial in making connections and staying engaged with the industry. By taking proactive steps to continue learning and staying involved in the field, you can significantly strengthen your resume and increase your chances of transitioning successfully into a consumer technology company when the time is right.

– Gary Houston

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Question 3) What’s different between a B2C and a B2B PM?

I’ve been a first-time PM for about a year at a B2B start-up, but I want to go into B2C. Could someone please explain the main differences between the B2C function and the necessary skills? In addition, I would like to change jobs because I’m getting a little bored with the way things are going at my current employer. I suppose I don’t know how to explain my desire to leave so quickly, and I’m not sure if my one year of experience is sufficient. If I say I wish to enter the B2C space, is it sufficient? I believe I would be a little happier switching, as I was a BA in consumer at my prior job, and I truly enjoyed it. Well, enough ranting. I would be grateful if someone could assist with the question.

Thanks in advance.

– Flavia Bergstein

Discussion

A] I don’t really think there’s a huge difference… B2C seems to have more of a consumer-focused aspect but the reality is that many B2B applications’ end users are still people.

B2C is easily understood by the average person, as we are all consumers. B2B is more complex in this regard but may offer more opportunities for innovation in a less saturated market space.

Either way there is no right answer. If you find more interest in B2C, go for it. My best advice would be to stop doing what others think is interesting and do what you are interested in, because confidence is sexier than anything.

– Heather Kurtz

B] Rich Mironov wrote a useful post outlining the differences between B2B and B2C product management. Understanding Enterprise Product Companies (mironov.com). The post provides valuable insights for those interested in understanding the nuances of product management in both B2B and B2C settings. It is essential to consider these differences when determining which path aligns best with your goals and interests. In the end, it’s important to choose a path that aligns with your interests and strengths. By understanding the unique challenges and opportunities of each market, you can make an informed decision on which direction to take in your career.

– Rohit Kumar

C] What makes B2C more effective?
From a framework standpoint, nothing changes. Because b2b is more relational and account driven and involves fewer stakeholders, it likely depends more on qualitative factors. B2C is frequently more transactional.

B2B is more appropriate, in my opinion. For b2b2c, insert the Vince McMahon head explosion. B2C is typically more effective due to its transactional nature and focus on the individual consumer, while B2B is more relational and account-driven, depending on qualitative factors. B2B2C can be complex, combining elements of both approaches, resulting in a unique challenge for businesses to navigate effectively.

– Donovan Okang

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Top Learning Resources

Julie Zhuo’s cheat sheet offers valuable advice for engineers and product managers on effectively working with designers. She emphasizes the importance of speaking the language of designers and shifting the focus from metrics to users. Zhuo categorizes designers into visual design, interaction design, and product design, and highlights the significance of aligning designers with problems that match their strengths. She also introduces a hierarchical perspective on the responsibilities of designers based on their seniority levels.

Training Your Product Intuition

Merci Victoria Grace challenges the belief that product intuition is a natural talent that only a few possess. She argues that product intuition is a skill that can be learned and developed through observing human behavior, analyzing data, and applying it to software development. Grace introduces the concept of the “Product Hierarchy,” which emphasizes the importance of deeply understanding customers’ thoughts and experiences as the foundation of product intuition.

The Ladder Of Evidence: Get More Value From Your Customer Interviews And Product Experiments

In Teresa Torres’ video presentation, she introduces the “Ladder of Evidence,” a framework designed to help product teams get more value from customer interviews and product experiments. The ladder has different levels, or rungs, each representing a different level of evidence. As teams move up the ladder, they invest more time and effort in collecting feedback, but they also gain more valuable insights.

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