The Product Newsletter #55

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) Applying “first principles” thinking to Product Management

2) Are you still using ChatGPT?

3) With all the knowledge that is available online, how do you stay updated?

Top Learning Resources:

1. Product-led Onboarding: How to Turn New Users Into Lifelong Customers

2. Using Multiple Digital Analytics Platforms

3. Product Management Career Ladders

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Top Discussions

Question 1Applying “first principles” thinking to Product Management.

For a few years, I have been a PM in a mid sized company. I just failed an interview because, in their opinion, I did not approach my case study solution with first principles.

Could someone please provide me with a step-by-step explanation on how to use first-principles thinking to solve problems in product management? A relative example would be of great help.

– Rohit Kumar

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Discussion

A] Simply put, first principles thinking is the process of dissecting an issue by examining its underlying assumptions and challenging our understanding of why we believe each premise to be true.

For instance, the original Ford automobile was created with the idea that transportation was popular and helpful. Based on the supposition that everyone currently uses horses for transportation, you might begin to consider how I would set up a horse to be better to travel on as opposed to breaking down the issue of fast travel into its primary problems to be resolved, such as the need for something that is quick, comfortable to sit on, capable of covering great distances, accessible to the general public, etc.

– Michelle Plowman

B] The name “first principles” drives me nuts.

I may be misinterpreting what the others are trying to say, but I believe that “first principles” simply refers to the proper problem framing, which involves outlining the who, why, when, what, and how questions and testing your fundamental presumptions to ensure that they are true.

We can proceed to solutions only after this stage.

Instead of comprehending the problem and its underlying assumptions, I have a suspicion that you may have jumped to solutions too quickly.

– Natasha Martin

C] The Valley’s obsession with Elon Musk has made first principles somewhat of a craze. To choose the best course of action, you essentially act as though you know nothing about the product or the market. This does not take into consideration how expensive it will be to carry out the new vision. By focusing on first principles, decision-makers aim to strip away any preconceived notions and biases, allowing for fresh and innovative ideas to emerge. However, it is crucial to balance this approach with a realistic assessment of the resources required to execute these new visions effectively. Ignoring the cost implications may lead to impractical or unfeasible strategies that could hinder long-term success.

– Jane Winfred

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Question 2) Are you still using ChatGPT?

Everyone who has internet access, is under 80 years old, and has not recently been in a coma is aware of ChatGPT.

It was rumored to revolutionize everything. Even some people claimed that PMs might become extinct.

However, it now appears that was not the case, and many people have ceased using it regularly.

Do you still use it?

– Shiyao Liu

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Discussion

A] As a product manager, I use ChatGPT for much of my roadmapping, product documentation, and day-to-day tasks. ChatGPT has been an invaluable tool for streamlining my workflow and enhancing productivity. Its natural language processing capabilities allow me to quickly generate clear and concise product roadmaps, comprehensive documentation, and prompt assistance whenever I encounter challenges in my daily responsibilities.

– Arnie Silverss

B] Could not agree less @ArnieSilverss. I would suggest getting the paid version in a professional setting. The paid version of ChatGPT (GPT-4) offers additional benefits such as priority access to new features, faster response times, and improved model performance. These advantages can greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of a product manager’s work, making it well worth the investment in a professional setting. Additionally, the paid version often includes enhanced security measures and customer support, ensuring a seamless experience for users in their professional workflows.

– Mario Romero

C] GPT cannot intentionaly provide false information. That paradigm does not apply because it has no understanding of reality. It’s just hallucination, really. The problem can be simply solved by improving the way you prompt.

Aside from that, there is a significant difference in the two models’ writing quality. Why do you even ask whether you’re fine with 3.5 tier quality writing? You are not affected by it.

The sophisticated data analysis mode or the plugin mode are not even taken into consideration. It could lead to a wide range of results. If you know how to avoid hallucinations, you can conduct extensive online-based research using plugin mode with the web browser plugin.

– Luis Nelson

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Question 3) With all the knowledge that is available online, how do you stay updated?

Hi everybody,

As a product manager for nearly two years, I constantly consume various types of information, including podcasts, text-based content, case studies, and experiments, to learn patterns and apply relevant knowledge.

However, I face challenges such as difficulty remembering information, finding the right information at the right time, and a lack of personalization. Content on platforms like Substack and LinkedIn can be too broad, lack context, or be long, making it difficult to consume. I am curious about how everyone keeps up with this information and if there are AI-powered experts like growth and product experts to help. I would appreciate any insights on this topic.

– Marty Ross

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Discussion

A] Current knowledge-seeking strategies are ineffective, as time is wasted on unnecessary reading. Instead of consuming 90% of your work reading, focus on the 10% that offers potential benefits to your job. This can be achieved by skimming through ten articles or posts, closing the tab, and moving on to the next one unless the article contains something that will improve your job performance.

As the PM for Google Maps, I cannot find a LinkedIn article on improving retention for GPS mapping apps. To focus on online research, I suggest using ChatGPT or similar tools. The information is outdated and may not always meet your needs. Upgrade to access the internet and think about your own solutions to problems. The goal is not to provide a specific answer but to provide ideas for problem-solving.

If AI isn’t enough, set aside an hour to Google your needs and skim through ten tabs of results. Close tabs that don’t contain useful ideas within 90 seconds. If you don’t find anything interesting, try the next ten or try a different prompt. Avoid getting caught up in irrelevant content. Instead, ask customers about their retention and write stories to fix problems they cite and avoid changing features they like. Your customer service team can also provide common customer pain points. Talking to people is often better research than reading online content.

– Angela Blue

B] I generally don’t. Too much overload, I read industry trades and tech news but don’t go crazy. I believe it’s important to stay informed about the latest developments in my field, but I also prioritize maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Instead of immersing myself completely in reading, I prefer to focus on acquiring practical knowledge and skills that directly benefit my work.

This way, I can apply what I learn immediately and see tangible results. Additionally, I find that hands-on experience and experimenting with new ideas and techniques is a more effective way for me to grow professionally. While I appreciate the value of staying up to date with industry trends, I believe that true expertise comes from actively applying knowledge and continuously refining my skills through practical application.

– Luis Nelson

C] In order to provide you with specific details regarding the product, it would be helpful to know what aspects of the product you are interested in. Are you seeking information about its features, specifications, or performance? Additionally, clarifying the re-timing you mentioned would be beneficial, as it is not clear what you are referring to. Could you please elaborate on what you mean by re-timing? Lastly, to demonstrate certain tools, it would be highly beneficial to provide a good example that aligns with your requirements and preferences. This will allow us to showcase the tools that best suit your needs.

– Fergus Xavier

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Top Learning Resources

Product-led growth is a strategy that emphasizes driving growth using the product itself, rather than traditional sales and marketing techniques. It involves a user-friendly onboarding process, focusing on customer needs and enhancing their experience throughout the customer journey. This approach can be implemented through userpilot, Ramli John’s ‘Eureka’ framework, and continuous optimization.

Using multiple digital analytics platforms

Organizations often use multiple digital analytics platforms due to technology platforms. This is due to the lack of collaboration between marketing and product departments. Marketing typically owns the website, while product teams are responsible for the mobile app. This platform bifurcation is attributed to the evolution of websites and mobile apps. It’s difficult for organizations to realize changes slowly, and it’s interesting to see if new businesses will continue to separate marketing and product teams.

Product management career ladders

Product managers often pursue growth for various reasons, including knowledge, skills, responsibilities, and compensation. The product management career ladder outlines different roles that require increased skills and responsibilities, offering increased compensation. However, there are differing views on the proper ladder and how to navigate it. Resources explore career ladders, navigation strategies, and examples of successful companies.

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