Mutemath's Paul Meany on Near-Breakup, New LP 'Play Dead' - Rolling Stone
Mutemath – then Meany, King, Mitchell-Cárdenas and multi-instrumentalist Todd Gummerman – assembled the track list in an unconventional way. Instead of arguing endlessly over what songs to pull from their massive pile of 30 demos, the musicians each hand-picked three and assembled the basic framework himself before bringing the other back into the process.

"We just trusted each of us to go into our corners and materialize a vision for that particular song and bring it back to the band to finish the puzzle together," Meany says. "And it was exciting to watch everyone in the band firing on all cylinders. The mantra was just 'indulge,' and we trusted each other to do that. And we wouldn't have been able to do that a few albums ago. If you just get into 'indulge' mode, that's usually the recipe for garbage. Every person in the band should always feel that – someone's gotta to create some parameters at some point. But I think we've worked together long enough now and have developed the trust within that creative space to just say 'go.' This was the culmination of all that."
blog  collaboration  music 
9 weeks ago
What machines can tell from your face
Google has explicitly turned its back on matching faces to identities, for fear of its misuse by undemocratic regimes.
10 weeks ago
Hunter Walk on following your own career path in product
“In those cross-functional teams, you are serving at the behest of the engineers and designers,” said Hunter. “And in the best organizations, you’re increasing the quality and the speed of the product development. If you’re not, you should.”

“The biggest challenges I ran into and my biggest failures in leading product at YouTube were the times where I thought ‘just work harder’ was the answer,” he said. “Now, I look back and know I should’ve been a bit more self-critical of all the moving pieces. I should’ve answered other questions like – What am I doing that I shouldn’t be doing? What’s my role in how this organization can change and evolve in order to solve a greater problem? How can I use my talents to make the greatest impact?”
prodmgmt  career  blog 
10 weeks ago
3 Types of Product Managers: Builders, Tuners, Innovators
The product managers that love being builders love solving real problems for users, delighting users with the experiences they are creating, and just love bringing products to life.
prodmgmt  blog 
10 weeks ago
Don’t 'Validate' Designs; User Test Them
A sentiment better than “Let’s validate this design,” is ”Let’s learn what works and what doesn’t work well for users and why.”
research  blog 
10 weeks ago
What Distinguishes The Top 1% Of Product Managers From The Top 10%?
Simplify - A 1% PM knows how to get 80% of the value out of any feature or project with 20% of the effort. They do so repeatedly, launching more and achieving compounding effects for the product or business.
prodmgmt  blog 
11 weeks ago
She doesn’t “suggest to take a step back” when progress is required and doesn’t become lost in the details when a broader perspective would be more useful.
prodmgmt  blog 
11 weeks ago
How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Design Thinking
All of these Design Thinking techniques are distributed cognition techniques that:
Move memory out of your head into the world, freeing up processing power.
Allow you to see connections and relationships you can’t easily visualize in your head.
Create a shared understanding for teams. Now your team can be part of that distributed world you think with.
12 weeks ago
What to expect from PMs – The Year of the Looking Glass – Medium
Here are the 3 core skills we look for when interviewing PMs:
Execution: “Can they clearly define success with clear objectives and get things done?”
Leadership + Drive: “Can they build and support a team and make sure everyone has the information they need to do their job well?”
Product Sense: “Can they proactively identify important problems to solve for people in support of company goals and build a compelling strategy to address those problems?”
prodmgmt  dtdt 
12 weeks ago
The scientific link between boredom and creativity — Quartz
If you’re an American like me, you are probably familiar with the sense of pressure to always be busy and productive. That’s great for your paycheck, but it’s a challenging way to approach creativity and your inner life. “We don’t always have to be productive,” Kazez says.
Moreover, in our flight from boredom, we’re also often fleeing from uncomfortable feelings—which are raw, messy and not always easy to contain. When I have a fight with a friend or get bad news, I’m drawn to distract myself with my phone as if it were a cigarette or a drink. Like those options, it may make me feel better in that moment, but it does nothing to help ease those feelings in the long run.
Boredom, by contrast, is an opportunity for us to meet our own needs—to turn inward rather than outward and tend our emotions, interact with our creativity, and give our brains a break. “It’s important to have downtime and to be able to have our emotional needs met just by existing,” Kazez says, “by knowing that we’re enough just as we are.”
boredom  blog  technology  addiction  socialmedia 
12 weeks ago
Free your brain: How Silicon Valley denies us the freedom to pay attention - Salon.com
In his award-winning essay “Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Persuasion in the Attention Economy,” James Williams argues, “We must … move urgently to assert and defend our freedom of attention.”

To assert our freedom is to sufficiently recognize and evaluate the demands to attention all these devices and digital services represent. To defend our freedom entails two forms of action: first, by individual action – not unplugging completely, as the self-styled prophets of Facebook and Twitter encourage (before logging back on after a few months of asceticism) – but rather unplugging partially, habitually and ruthlessly.

Attention is the currency upon which tech giants are built. And the power of agency and free information is the power we cede when we turn over our attention wholly to platforms like Facebook.

But individual consumers can only do so much. The second way we must defend our freedom is through our demand for ethical practices from Silicon Valley.

Some critics believe government regulation is the only way to rein in Silicon Valley developers. The problem is, federal agencies that closely monitor the effects of product usage on consumers don’t have a good category for monitoring the effects of online platforms yet. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks medical technology. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) focuses on physical risk to consumers. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC)  focuses on content — not platform. In other words, we don’t have a precedent for monitoring social media or other online platforms and their methods for retaining users.
attention  blog  technology  socialmedia 
12 weeks ago
How to Stay in the Moment: Take a Picture | WIRED
Maybe it’s because cameras are with us all the time now, or maybe it’s because social media ruins everything, but somewhere along the way we’ve been conditioned to believe that taking photos is the opposite of living in the moment. That snapping a pic is like pulling blinders over your eyes and opting out of the experience. Despite my momentary anxiety, I don’t actually believe that’s true. And neither does science. Taking pictures, it turns out, can have all sorts of benefits, so long as you’re taking them for the right reasons.
photography  socialmedia  technology  blog 
august 2017
'They could destroy the album': how Spotify's playlists have changed music for ever | Music | The Guardian
Playlists are currently a buffet trolley of music, being wheeled in front of listeners to pick from and allowing conditional choice. But voice control could see everything reduced to trigger words – “happy music”, “60s”, “EDM”, “yoga” – defined by context. Asking Alexa for “new music” or “a song that will change my life” could see wildly variable results. Playlists are currently in a power-sharing agreement between the fan and the music industry, but the move to voice-control could ironically see record labels – those masters of hectoring – put on mute.
music  blog 
august 2017
How You Define the Problem Determines Whether You Solve It
In order to generate a variety of possible solutions to a problem, then, the problem solver (or group) can change the description of the problem in ways that lead new information to be drawn from memory.

For example, it is hard to see how Dyson would have gotten to industrial cyclones from thinking about vacuum cleaner bags. But an alternative way to describe the problem is that a vacuum takes in a combination of dirt and air and has to separate the dirt from the air. Bags do this by acting as a filter that traps the dirt and lets the air pass through pores in the bag. But there are many ways to separate particles from air. Industrial cyclones create a spinning mass of air that throws particles to the edges by centrifugal force.
innovation  prodmgmt  blog 
august 2017
Process vs. Model
As long as you’re tackling the risks up front; truly collaborating with engineering and design on coming up with good solutions; and making sure you are solving the underlying business and customer problem, and not just shipping features, then you’re focused on what you need to be doing.
discovery  lean  process  prodmgmt  blog 
august 2017
Why You Should Focus on the Present (And Stop Trying to Predict the Future)
First, you need to observe how people interact with your product as realistically as possible. Don’t look for problems or solutions — just attempt to agnostically capture as many discrete activities as you can.

Second, take each discrete activity and explore what dimensions of progress makes sense. Remember, we’re not looking for a feature to make anything better. We’re trying to articulate how this activity might be better: taking less time or more time, happening more often or less often? Used under more varied circumstances or less? What should go up? What should go down? What should be amplified? What should be dampened?

Finally, to make sense of all these observations and their dimensions of progress, we need to find relationships between them. Specifically, which improvements could contribute to a larger behavioral change.
prodmgmt  prioritization  blog 
august 2017
What To Do If Your Product Isn’t Growing
Instead, early startups should start with actionable top-line metrics to measure each step of the Journey. Start with two metrics: One user acquisition metric at the top of the funnel that measures how many new users are signing up and taking their first action. And then one user engagement metric further down the funnel that measures how often these new users engage with the product over time. Together, these two metrics define a product’s activation rate in how it graduates new users into becoming active users. From here you can add additional top-line metrics that are specific to your product and user journey.
july 2017
Why Yammer Believes the Traditional Engineering Organizational Structure is Dead
Yammer’s biggest rule of thumb is two to ten people, two to ten weeks — which means they generally don’t do projects that are larger or more complicated. There is a non-linear relationship between the complexity of a project and the wrap-up integration phase at the end. If you go anywhere beyond ten weeks, the percentage of time in the wrap-up phase becomes disproportionate.

If you employ the two to ten rule, it’ll also force you to release often, test your assumptions, and not over-invest in mistakes. It’s sort of the lean startup mentality, and if you're going to try and do that, you have to codify it in your organization.
management  culture  engineering  team 
july 2017
Crafting The First Mile Of Product – Positive Slope – Medium
Your product may get lots of downloads or sign-ups, but very few customers get on-boarded and primed to the point where they know three things: (1) why they’re there, (2) what they can accomplish, (3) and what to do next (note: users don’t need to know how to use your product at the beginning, they just need to know what to do next!). Once a new user knows these three things, they have reached “The Zone.” Fantastic businesses are built when the majority of users that express interest in a product are able to get on-boarded and into The Zone.
onboarding  blog 
july 2017
Product Manager vs. Product Owner / Melissa Perri
If you want to build products that create value for your businesses and customers, you need good Product Management foundations in your company. If you want a career path for your people, you need to give them this foundation so they can grow into more senior roles. So remind your people they are all Product Managers. They may be playing the role of a Product Owner on a Scrum team most days, but we still need them to think like a Product Manager and validate that we are building the right things.
june 2017
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