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Focus when distractions show up

focus productivity Oct 25, 2019


How do you focus even when distractions show up?

  1. Realize that it's not just the pull of distractions that causes you to move towards them, but its that the thing you are trying to work on is uncomfortable. That discomfort pushed you towards the distractions. Next time, observe and pay attention to these feelings.
  2. Note the distraction. Carry small sticky notes with you where you can note these distractions and come back to them later. Doing this activity enables your mind to compartmentalize these distractions
  3. Use curiosity. Pay more attention to that particular thing what you are working on. Try to find something unique you have not noticed before and get curious about your work. That will enable you to get deeper into the job you are doing and help you keep away from distractions.

I encourage you to use these techniques in conjunction. I am confident that within one week, you can master them and start to see significant improvements in your ability to focus.


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How to Master Difficult Conversations

A person’s success in life can be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.—Tim Ferris

Have you ever avoided a conversation that you know that you needed to have? Has a desire for comfort taken you off the direct path to achieving your goals?

Or even worse, have you ever had the difficult conversation, and then felt you came out worse as a result?

As a Product Manager, you are likely to face more difficult conversations than people in other positions. Examples include stopping work which no longer aligns with top priorities, giving feedback to others, negotiating roadmaps, and apologizing when you dropped the ball.

Mastering “difficult conversations” gives Product Managers superpowers. You get confidence to advocate for new product ideas, drive changes in how your organization functions, and are enabled to lead your group.

I would argue that if you are not...

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How to Apply Michael Porter's Concepts and Thinking

Uncategorized Sep 23, 2019

I used to love Boston Sports club. I remember paying something like $95 a month for it and loving it despite the relatively high price point.

And then I heard, they dropped their prices. Slashed them to $19.95 a month in 2015. And on top of that members hated them.

And now, they seem to have made their way back to a higher price point of $49.99 a month+.

At the same time, Planet Fitness charges ten dollars a month. And OrangeTheory can run over $200 a month.

So why the pricing gap? How can companies have such different price points for what seems to me the exact same product.

At the same time, I happen to read “Understanding Michael Porter” on a recent Porter Airlines flight to Toronto.

Porter, porter everywhere

In this post I summarize Michael Porter’s concepts, including competition, the five forces, value proposition and value chain, and fit. Concepts that...

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Customer Interview learnings from “The Mom Test”

Uncategorized Aug 27, 2019


Photo by Hans Vivek on Unsplash

The Mom Test by is one of the best books I have read about customer interviews.

If you are a Product Manager or a UX designer or researcher, and you haven’t read it…..please just go and read it.

I just hope some of the nuggets I share here (with my own commentary) help convince you. Seriously its a short read, costs 10 bucks on Kindle and just so worth it.

Here are my main learnings from the book

  1. Go into customer interviews with the right mindset
  2. Talk about their life instead of your idea
  3. Ask terrifying questions
  4. Don’t assume that the problem space matters to them
  5. Get commitment. Ignore compliments
  6. Refine your customer segment until you get consistent problems and goals
  7. Get clever on finding conversations

Go into customer interviews with the right mindset

“Deciding what to build is your job.……You aren’t allowed to tell them what their problem is, and in return, they aren’t allowed...
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Six ways to maximize your Product Management Energy




What’s your energy level as a product manager? 

When you go day to day, come into work, are you in to it?  Are you excited? Do you bring this high energy level or the appropriate energy level to your team, to the work that you do?  Are you intense in every activity that you do? 

Those things matter a lot, they can literally change how much you get done in a day, how excited your team feels. 

Let’s look at six different kinds of energy levels that you must demonstrate in order to make sure you're living up to your potential as a product manager. 

The first energy level is you need to be positive, energetic, give them a sense of an epic win possible and that the product will do well.  Align the team behind achieving the best possible thing for your product, for your customers.   

Second you need to vary your communication level.  You as a product manager must work on not just being at a high...

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The One Thing Amazing Product Managers Do: Broken Down Into Four Situations

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

Go on, guess what I meant.

You might think it’s all about understanding customers. Good guess, but that’s not what I am talking about.

Inspire their team? Sure some Product Managers do that, but not all of them and not always very well.

Influence others? Nope, not that either.

Manage stakeholders? Not a bad guess, but I have seen enough product managers who are awesome, but do a poor job of managing stakeholders.

So what is it?

It’s asking the question just right for the problem they are solving.

You have probably seen this in action. The awesome product manager asking just the right questions in a meeting. Amazing us with their thinking, without having to come up with the answer on their own.

Think of questions like glass. And think of your thinking like light. You can use the questions as a mirror; to reflect thinking in another direction. You can use it as a magnifying glass; and increase the importance of an...

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User Research: takeaways from Boston Product breakfast

I attended Boston Product's breakfast on the topic of user research.  Here are my core takeaways from the event:

Opportunities to do research exist everywhere!

Opportunities for user research exist everywhere. Ideas came up included

  • Listening to support calls
  • Putting up surveys in the product and validating hypothesis quantitatively
  • Using LinkedIn and Facebook to recruit friends or friends of friends for user studies
  • Actually viewing user sessions with plugins such as Full Story and Appsee
  • Sales calls. Several Product Managers mentioned that they went to sales calls in exchange for being able to interview customers
  • Attending industry conferences
  • Malls, Liquor stores etc. Basically anywhere where your potential customers might hang out

Justifying user research can be tricky

Fighting for resources for User Research still seemed like an uphill battle for several product managers. One of the participants had to re-organize their role and make sure that they...

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Most people use Willpower to drive change. Here’s what to do instead.



Most people drive change through pure willpower. In the process they do more harm than good. Rather than doing that, let’s focus on how you might design change into your life.


I use the word “design” consciously. Willpower and repetition is one way to improve a skill, to building a habit. But there are so many ways where you can transform your life with less effort, with more happiness, and a much bigger impact to you, and everyone around you!


There are three things I cover hear:


  • The eight major ways to drive change in your life
  • The four foundational habits you need to have in order to drive these changes
  • The two support systems you need to put into place to help drive these changes


Eight ways to drive change in your life

Know your why. Knowing your why is not this magical thing that we only get by meditating for 7 days and then journaling for another 13. Knowing your why comes down to two things:

  1. Recognize work you...
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Product Managers: Accelerate your Momentum to Magnify your Effectiveness



Momentum is easy to see in sports. One team is doing better, seems to have more energy, pulls off crucial moments with ease, and has a stronger body language. While the other team - they seem to have their backs to the wall. They seem to start to lose grip on their position in the game. They might be ahead but seems not so for long.

The same thing applies to Product Management. Momentum is crucial but can take many forms. There are five aspects to Product Management momentum; the market, your product, your stakeholders, your team, and you.

Market momentum

How well is the category of products you're working on doing? So, as an example, if I was to start a company today, let's say that's a competitor to Uber or Lyft, there's a good chance that I'm hardly able to get any market share. But because this category is doing well, I will at least get some momentum in the marketplace because as we've heard, a rising tide lifts all boats.

It's always important to consider...

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On Personal Branding

Uncategorized Jun 05, 2019
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How to be an outstanding Product Leader without working insane hours