My Moroccan Diaries…

I chose Morocco coz I wanted to experience the different offerings of Middle East World Zone – The blue, white & Brown Arabic Architecture in between the inter-twining streets against the Blue Sky & Blue Sea with Quiet & Conventional People Folks really appealed to me as a place I really wanted to see.

I had been to Mountains a lot, European destinations, South East Asian Beaches, Cape Town’s valley streets but never to Middle Eastern World & that appealed to me as something I have to see with my eyes to experience. And surely, overall I was not disappointed.

Here are the things I loved :

  • The Medina walks with amazingly interesting architecture, culture, people, markets, practices (one of the most fascinating was how pretty houses were hidden inside non revealing brown walls), lives insights, handicraft industries (though my new friend Gracia mentioned that its not possible to make so much of stuff by hand alone – I agree).
  • The Hasan Mosque in Casablanca was breath-taking with its architecture & grandness – Pure Grandness of location & design – WOW!
  • The landscape were varying from Mountains (Green, Brown) to small villages to loads of markets to wide open spaces. Morocco has apparently everything from seas, deserts, mountains, modernism & medina lives to offer.
  • How the infrastructure is so much in place – very similar to Europe & a developed Islamic Country – very impressive.
  • The hotels we stayed in were majorly 4 star with lovely swimming pool views
  • Some Interesting travel places thrown in form of Roman Remains, French ski resort amongst many others.
  • I was amazed with what Progressive Islamic nation with Monarchy Dictatorship focussed on public spends at infrastructure, education, tourism, agriculture (oranges, indigo, handicrafts) can go on to achieve – my regards for this small (in geographical area) has gone up many times.
  • Though I did not expect the group I got – was able to make friends with two Italian ladies which worked out rather well & also got to see how Italians & Spanish families travel which was quite interesting
  • Morocco was filled with visitors at this point & hence one could see all age groups & nationalities floating around with so many Japanese thrown in with their selfie sticks!
  • I got some time to do self evaluation which is MOST CRITICAL for me while travelling
  • The weather was mostly pleasant with some times becoming too hot or cold
  • Also very few Indian tourists thankfully.. and no extra charge for camera..

For my next travel, here are my thoughts :

  • I would like to be more involved in the planning & probably do it on my own totally & see how it goes
  • I would want to know the itinerary more in detail so I can plan what to buy, what to wear, what to carry a bit more in advance
  • I think 4 days is enough for me to get a flavour of the place & I would like to explore something more new next quickly

Will share the pictures & some more insights in some days.

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Zingography 11 : Cognitive Abilities in PM

Cognitive Science involves linguistics, psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, neuroscience and anthropology. My learning & experience says that if we are able to include Cognitive Science into our Product Management Process – they results shall be much more refined, Long term & closest to objective.

Cognitive Science has to include multiple stakeholders views from :

  • Customers perspective
  • Team management perspective
  • Leadership & changing Business Landscape perspective

Am quite sure of developing successful models around the same for different PM Cycle stages & this is my effort for the same.

Below are the key PM Stages & recommended Models for the same :

  1. Business Strategy Roadmap based on Market Research & Secondary Research Data Insights — Model 1 (Leadership Management + Market Analysis – BCG Matrix, PLC, 7S Framework, Value Chain)
  2. Need Gap Analysis Identification — Model 2 (STP + 5Porters Forces)
  3. Recommendation Solutions & Prioritisation of Features (New & Enhancements) – Model 3 (Phase Gate Model/ Spider Mapping Technique ; High & Low Impact)
  4. User Persona Identification – Model 4 (Demography & Behaviour (Tech & Products) Mapping)
  5. Roadmapping + Project Management – Model 5 (Gantt Chart)
  6. BRD/ PRD – Model 6 (Process Note, Unified Modelling Language)
  7. MVP Approach – Model 7 (User – Action – Story ; Pain – Gain)
  8. User Journeys/Scenarios mapping – Model 8 (Decision Tree)
  9. Designing-> with quick dipsticks & quick changes around suggestions Model 9 : Neurological Emotional Branding + Decision of buying

Screenshot 2019-03-07 at 8.25.22 PM

10. Development/Middleware – Library & its adaptations for agile expansion
11. UAT all scenarios/Hackathon (Model 10) /CUG – AB Testing Hypothesis linked to Data          Mining & Big Data Analysis…. Statistics & its variance test analysis! Frequentist vs              Bayesian ..
12. Success Metrics formulation (Model 11) Data visualisation /K Nearest neighbours/              Regression/Clustering ; Random Forests; Time series/sequence; text mining!
13. Launch & Optimise
14. Team Management Model

Disclaimer : My suggestions are based on my experience, research, interactions with other companies & my own theories/understandings on this space. Am quite confident of their inter-relationship with each other.

Some Books I recommend in this regard are :

  • Design of everyday Life
  • Sapiens
  • Art of Deduction
  • Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
  • Cognitive Science
  • Psychology of Persuasion
  • Infographica

ZINGOGRAPHY : Tech/Product/UX/Startup Update # 10 – PM ToolKit

Please consider every PM to be a works-person, who needs tools apart from their skills to do a good job out of a situation!

Every worksmith/ carpenter/ chef, etc. is incomplete without their toolbox so its important as a Product Manager to be sure of your own sharpened tools basis your experience, intuition, comfort/compatibility, etc.

I also have now worked for 8+ years in different Products domain starting with Data, OTT, E-commerce, Retail Channels (B2B + B2C), Media, Food, Jewellery, FMCG, FinTech, Travel/OTA, AdTech, Transportation (Cabs/Trucks), etc.
And from my own & other PMs experience – let me share a list which I find is useful for one & all. These are compiled basis checking with other industries & PMs as well :

  1. Research Tools : SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, TypeForm
  2. Current Situation + Need Gap Analysis : Porter’s Frameworks – SWOT, 4P, STP, 5 Porter’s Force
  3. Project Management : Asana, Jira, Trello
  4. Team Management : Slack, Basecamp
  5. MVP & Road-mapping : Asana, Aha, ProdPad,
  6. Spec Writing : Word, DropBox Paper, GitHub
  7. User Scenarios Mapping : Excel, Smaply/StoriesonBoard
  8. Designing : Invision, Iconjar
  9. Coding/ Development : GitHub
  10. UX : Prototype,io, Axure
  11. Team screen sharing + feedback incorporation : Zeplin, Intercom
  12. AB Testing : VWO, Wasabi
  13. Analytics – Front End : Google Analytics, Firebase
  14. Analytics – Middle ware : Moengage, Clevertap, Appsflyer
  15. Analytics – Back End : SQL, ML Tools
  16. Campaign Management : Adobe 360
  17. Targeted Campaigns : Targetting
  18. Revenue + P&L Management : MS Excel Macro

Apart From this – the must have ingredient almost like Oiling is 5-6 hours of Reading, Networking, Experimenting, Failing, Sharing, etc.

All The Best : Let the Magic Begin!

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ZINGOGRAPHY : Tech/Product/UX/Startup Update # 9

AB Testing is a Cultural & Personal Choice

Ittakes a lot number of weeks of research into white papers of statistics, informative articles on application, Live blogs for examples hunting, speaking to relevant stakeholders in competition & outside companies to discuss & link it with your current situation & problem statements to finally conform on your Approach.

I did the same with AB Testing!

And in all fairness, I have to admit that this has to be one of the most Surreal experiences since I realised there was a missing piece I was not including in the whole Picture/Frame/Painting of Product Design Thought Process.

AB Testing is critical to make your Product/Campaigns/Analytics/ Development Decision making simple & obvious decision making come out with an astounding clarity once AB Testing is conducted.
Plus how important it is to be persistent & have patience with the tests (design, conducting, results) — to know when to stop & when to start again.

There are two places where conducting AB Testing is a MUST :

  • Once when the prototypes of your App Key Pages are ready & you must know the initial response to them from your target consumer personas.
  • Second, before doing the campaigns & scaling the features/products — knowing the intricacies details in the form of headline, text, image, theme, colour palette, etc.

A few things must have technical :

  • AB Testing tool —

for beginners : VWO/Optimisely like SaaS tool ;

for mature organisations : Building the capability from scratch

for organisations in between who wish advanced readymade tool — I would recommend the hybrid way by using an open platform like Wasabi which can be customised to your requirements.

  • Good Quality Team with understanding of Statistics, SaaS Tools, Consumer Behavioural Analysis
  • Data Mart/Warehouse with access to Transactional Data as well as Online Behavioural Data with necessary cuts for segmentation basis Business Intelligence

A Few things in terms of Soft Power :

  • Open Mind — ready to question obvious right answers (infact more if they are obvious)
  • Capability to deep dive & look at intrinsic details
  • Collaborate with different teams/people to check if the findings or the direction of the findings are correct — this in my understanding is the most POTENT!

Organisations must insist their people to only come to leaders once they have collaborative evidences to move in a certain direction.

It may so happen that after spending significant time also — you may not come to an conclusive evidence & one should be open & amiable about the same & not push for an evidence for the sake of it.

I must thank quite a few people for the same but most of all Booking.com to highlight that there is something missing in my thought process — the webinar by Lukas was really helpful!

ZINGOGRAPHY : Tech/Product/UX/Startup Update # 8

Today I wish to compare the startup spaces in Indian & European Context. Those who read this should know that I share this majorly for my own clarity & perspective and if it helps others then great!

Recently, I have been focussing on 3 main things apart from my daily work & travel :

  • Reading a lot about new skill sets essential for PM especially like Deep Learning, Data Mining
  • Linking it with my current Work & Profile as well as Future Roles that I wish to do
  • Collaborating it with other PMs in different sectors/industries/companies

And there are some Key Insights regarding Different Geographical Consumer Tech companies that I have concluded :

  • Focus in Indian Companies (Startups as well as Big Ones) is to scale
  • Focus in European Companies is to understand the consumer behaviour first & sync all departments of technology, data, customer service towards that ONE Customer Proposition/their USP which will help them Succeed while focussing less or almost nothing on others
  • In US Companies, they go for massive funding & their aim is that – once establishing a prototype (more or less that with a short term vision)
  • SEA are replicating Chinese models more or less in terms of consumer personas as well as Tech Propositions
  • MENA regions are going like Indian Conglomerates – slow & cautious for the models that are already well proven for success

Let me also talk about a few skills which are becoming redundant as in they are understood that you will have when you apply for Product Roles :

  • Digital Marketing
  • Product Design & Strategy
  • KPI Metrics Management
  • Project Management
  • P&L Ownership
  • Business Development
  • Hiring & Training

These are the new skills towards which you need to show inclination & an aptitude for – please remember that though these may seem new worlds, their nuances are based in subjects well introduced to us. So let me give the picture complete for better understanding :

  • Machine Learning/AI/Deep Learning : Maths, Statistics, Computer Science for Coding
  • Blockchain : Telecom, Communications, System/Server Integration
  • AR/VR : Electronics, Robotics, Graphic Designing
  • 3D Printing : Biotechnology, Engineering Drawing

Personally I enjoy first 3 a lot & keep looking how it can be valuable in my current scope of work!

ZINGOGRAPHY : TECH/PRODUCT/UX/STARTUP UPDATE # 7.5

Sharing my list of most useful Apps (based on popularity, experience, usefulness) :

  • WhatsApp
  • Gmail
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Amazon
  • Google Maps
  • Wikipedia
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn

Last two are my least favourite of all – they are just latching around for lack of options!

Will add more in due course.

 

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There shall be changes in coming years but one has to adapt the learnings from the top performing apps.

Indian Gifts that will shine always #2018

  • YOGA
  • Ayurveda
  • Indian Education System
  • Family Ecosystem
  • Business Culture of the small families, SMEs & SHGs
  • Mahabharat + Ramayan epics
  • Peace – Buddha, Gandhi, Jainism Message
  • Technology Outsourcing yep – The Brain Drain!
  • Strong depth of History & Culture

What India needs to be known for even more :

  • Creating an indigenous model for rural + urban cooperation in health, education, individual spending habits
  • Lost & Found unique examples of Art, culture, food, handicraft, faith, medicinal treatments, astrology, science, maths
  • Unique Business Models like Dabbawala serving masses involving huge labour & connect with upper middle classes
  • Adopting Modernism in Agriculture (yet to happen)
  • Developing models around sanitation, cleanliness, desalination of water, renewable energy, Better Forecast Mechanisms

My Fears for Indian Growth :

  • Money Ownership concentrated to limited HNIs much like Middle East
  • Aspirations & Representations like USA but lack of system might topple them to the other side
  • So far rapid growth & development in manufacturing, electronics, Digital is due to China (aping)
  • Laggardness in promoting Pride & History like Europe
  • Different cultures & variety like SEA & Europe again proving to be a challenge

In reality – India shall grow by a unique model of Govt & a few HNI hand in hand for now. Remaining Pvt bodies as well as SMEs will have to be alot more cooperative to Govt regulations & financial guidelines to ensure the growth is entirely & completely inclusive. Once that happens & penetration of the Good can go deep, growth will automatically happen which I have no doubt about.

Also India & Indians need to understand a few other things :

  • Less spending time on mobile & digital devices
  • More time being spent on exploring & understanding the world + people around you
  • Less spending time & energy & giving less importance to celebrities & entertainment modes or other distracting modes
  • More time being spent on knowing your trueselves & your true potentials
  • Aping others blindly for solutions, inspirations
  • Being independent, fearless, self reliant in true meaning

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Future Push – Tech & Innovation!

Today I laid my hands on an article by HBR which am sharing here :

https://t.co/ISLUeum30c

Its matrix described gave me a lot of confidence & clarity on how to think for products & future roadmaps for yourself or company or society. Again Sharing here :

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 11.38.23 AM

Most of us (94%) are doing “Basic research” in this space especially at the middle & lower management level.

Some of us (5.9%) are doing “Sustaining Innovation” as Product Managers, Leaders & even in space which is not so well defined from problem statement or domain per se but we assume that this is the solution or expected world so lets go for it.

Very Few of us (0.1%) are trying to do Disruptive or Breakthrough Innovation. Elon Musk for sure lies in the Breakthrough space and so are some of the esteemed scientists in the technology, literature, economics, art, media, etc. spaces.
Breakthrough is really difficult to achieve of all – requires huge research, money, persistence, sharp focus, dedication, sacrifice @ personal, health, etc. level
Disruptive is still achievable if one has fair control on various variables like talent, opportunity, business model, money, knowledge.

So if I have to rate the various models in chronological order, I will say Basic Research + Sustaining Innovation are “all right to have” like the Must Have but not sufficient.
Disruptive is achievable while Breakthrough is really tough but yet possible 🙂
Anyone wanting to excel in any sphere/industry/role should have first two for sure as a constant practice like eating, breathing and achieve disruptive time & again (like 5 – 10 in lifetime) while keep aiming for Breakthrough as it will be extremely rare – one, if you are very lucky then two.

If you have achieved one break- through, then remaining three still are important but your job is done – that’s the AIM ! Great brands, companies, products are known for that one discovery. E.g. Infosys by NRN, Disney by Walk, Apple by Jobs amongst many others.

Some people achieve disruptive time & again e.g. Actors going for 100Mn then 200Mn, etc. marks for box office returns. Or great PMs able to fish out great products time & again, can’t call any names right now 🙂 E.g. Google as a company maybe

So here’s the mantra – keep adding to yourself with the first 3 & make yourself a Break through as a person or create a Break through company or work on a Break Through Product. Mostly in my case, first & last are more probable while middle one is a distant dream 🙂 Amen to all though !

Zingography : Tech/Product/UX/StartUp Update # 6

Sometimes you are just out of ideas for simple reasons like you have been back from a vacation & too lazy to pick up strings again or things @ work are moving slower than expected or for even simpler reason that its too hot & humid outside to let you breathe freely 🙂

However, still leaving those reason behind – trying to push through the world we all Love to create & thrive in “Product-O-Tech” sharing some recent thoughts.

Google I/O was great, some excellent points covered :

  • Google Assistant on iPhone
  • Android Go
  • Google Lens
  • Google Home
  • Google Daydream
  • Google Seurat
  • Android O
  • Google Jobs
  • Google new AI chip for cloud storage
  • VR Headset
  • Google Transactions
  • 360 video on big screen
  • notification dots
  • more shared experiences in VR
  • Instant apps for everybody
  • Android controlling car

Seems Mr. Pichai is doing his Job well by pushing the agenda of Google Ventures while keeping the Google Main business – Search going up.

Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mr. Zuckerberg also happened to give quite an impressive speech at Harvard & encouraging some interesting concepts on social equality, dream realisation, youth empowerment – this guy has to be Indian 😉 he talks a lot of Drama seriously.

Microsoft has also shown some serious plans for their AI & Surface laptops which tells they are in no mood to give in!

How does this whole calculate down – The serious Big companies are definitely going to push the agenda towards a more internet & tech empowered World – AI, AR/VR, IOT, Cloud, Big Data Solutions are going to rule the world.
But what they want all the time to make themselves relevant is understanding consumer behaviour around existing & new Tech, to take the adaptations deeper & make them acceptable for every market.

For me – that’s a bigger innovation to how to convince a consumer it is meant for you & help you to lead a better life coz then you have changed their lives forever.
And perhaps NO its not always correct for the Tech guys to take all the credit, time the Business People who actually make the ground ready & work for a quick launch & a quicker feedback, adaptations to get their due !
DEVIL LIES IN DETAIL 🙂

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