Zingography # 13 : Cognitive Behaviour + Data Science ; AB Test Validation Tool

I have been really fascinated by the capability of AB Testing Tool to make Designing Decisions using Data Science.
If you combine Machine Learning & Statistical Science to the same – then Previous Combo becomes more Potent & Effective.

AB Testing can be a tough Art to Master, even the most experienced ones go wrong all the time with their hypothesis & metrics selection.
Hence accepting your own & your colleagues varying opinions + navigating through the same to get most effective Long Term Impacts is they Key for Success.
But one should be honest to the science of AB Testing & how it is designed even if results are not favourable – it’s like a daily routine that should be practiced as it is.

What am here to discuss is the New Art of combining “Cognitive Design Behaviour with Data Science Algorithms” and especially use Spotify’s Playlist Recommendation for the same.

My Current Research Analysis says that Spotify’s Recommendation Engine is one of the best in this space!

Yeah better than Apple‘s iTunes, Alibaba‘s + Amazon’s Return HomePage Pages Recommendations or Similar SKU suggestions, Google‘s Search Engine or Google News Feed, Netflix‘s Similar Shows Features. What makes Spotify shine here is how it has used the Music Preferences Attributes along with Human Emotion Capture Calculations ! They use a unique score assigned to each song preferences & suggest them if your attributes matches the range of moods/preferences! Also their Engine is constantly improving & updating based on bigger cluster preferences. What I appreciate is that they are not using Other Platforms similar data but trusting self engines to contribute. Secondly, it empowers the customers to play with the algorithm to change preferences.

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As per further search, AB Testing plays a very important role in making below decisions:

  • UI Decisions : Button Shape, Contrast colour, Position, Text, Headline, Icons (+ vs Heart), Widget Decisions, Hamburger Menu
  • Page Format – list view vs card view, the information architecture, number of information shared in a single page view
  • Metrics selection & Order Prioritisation for Making recommendations of Playlist
  • Deciding the Weightage of different Key Factors for engine’s Logic – which is the Highlight of Spotify’s Success!

  • Localising + Personalising the Site : https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-gb/success-stories/how-spotify-increased-premium-subscriptions-using-google-optimize-360/
  • Optimising the Keywords Search : When users in Germany searched for “audiobook” and clicked on one of Spotify’s ads, they were either brought to the custom page or to the original page.
  • Creating Culture of Experimentation & Real Time AB Testing Result platform which is most crucial. (They were earlier using Google’s Optimizely for a long time)

Did I ever share the perfect method of conducting an AB Test Experiment :

  1. Define the Problem – To increase conversion, to increase revenue
  2. Come up with a series of ideas to work around the same basis historical data, recent findings, industry insights – This should be a collective + collaborative process wherein everyone should be heard & allowed to explain their logic. Also while prospecting, one has to think about the impact % on success metrics with what confidence, duration, sample size.  Do not hesitate to use AB Testing calculator for same.
  3. Finally one has to prioritise these ideas basis their impact, time + effort + cost and decide on the order of these tests
  4. While designing the test – decide the Hypothesis that by doing so & so the impact shall increase. What is important to note is that while choosing these tests – they have to be such that can be proven only by data results. Also for tests with drastically different options – it can be a short duration test while for closer options, sample size hence duration has to be longer.
  5. So Hypothesis, success metric, options selection are very crucial aspects of the test
  6. Keep observing the performance of key metrics (Primary, Secondary at least) during the tests – no need to take sudden decisions basis this but observe the pattern.
  7. Let the test complete & observe the results – if results are drastically different, you have a clear winner. If test results are negative (do not worry), try with a different hypothesis & options. If test results are closer then decide whether to increase sample size or to discard the test or to go ahead with partial winner (last one not recommended but call can be taken depending on experience/circumstance/influence of other tests).
  8. Keep doing the same for different cases
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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

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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

Changing faces of Us & Our “Friendships”

Hello! So am back to write after a small self forced hiatus 🙂 It feels good to see the words flowing from your brain to your fingertips & appearing in front of your eyes again!

Life has been a bit different with the new role & hence the changes – its weird that how my Life has undergone so many changes around the job roles I have done in past few years. Shows good that my job profile is the most important thing for me in these years but bad that am not able to keep my own personal life in control to be unaffected with changes around it!

I do feel certainly that I took time to find MY SHOE FIT.

But am glad I tried so many different ones & then finally found my best fitting, comfortable ones that were customised to my needs. Did that with my lifestyle, career & now am optimistic of same happening for my Life Partner.

Now coming to the subject of “Friendships” which has been my favourite subject unconsciously since childhood days.

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Emotion is one of the strong things that I was introduced to as a kid during my growing up years – valuing your family, respecting your elders, always speaking good, believing in God & the values, understanding our history & ancestry to learn good practices.

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So I could never forget it!

And I always valued it a lot wherever I found it – it was like me becoming a gemstone expert & start wanting to polish the gems as soon as I locate one during my education, travel, professions, social circle, etc.
What I also figured out with relating to emotion was that investment was not foolhardy, it was giving me returns to be a more self aware, worldly wise, mature human so I continued to invest & even do so now.
Maybe my portfolio selection has undergone a change now thanks to a few bad experiences in the past where I either invested too much too soon (more) or I failed to overlook a good opportunity (less).

And I do feel proud that I have become wiser to selection of my people – friends, colleagues, networking groups & others thanks to updating my qualifying parameters & accordingly updating myself + tastes. I definitely do not take things on face value any more & I definitely do not make an opinion about others or try to form a bond inorganically.

With People, it is best when it is ORGANIC!

Getting-Personal-Physical-and-Emotional-Growth

Sometimes, circumstances play a role in making that judgement or bond formation quicker but as a qualified and self aware human – one should understand those factors well! I feel this is the beauty of a human being always be able to prove it’s superiority over machines.

ADAPTABILITY & EMOTIONAL BONDING makes HUMAN > MACHINES

Am happy where I have reached so far in my journey – looking forward to explore More & Meet New interesting people before reaching my final destination.

I wish to become more quieter, observing, less expressing, A polished Digital Consultant (who is truly a PM at basics) Profile, socially more acceptable & enhance my intake of ignoring the unnecessary (Thickening of SKIIN – adding more Onion Layers Happily) !

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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 # 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.

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 # 7

Today, let us discuss the importance of “Art of Organising” to be relevant in today’s Management Space.

The Optimum Art of Organising & Planning to ensure efficiency however not causing too much delay & redundancy is a difficult Art to Manage.
It requires attention to detail, understanding of situations + people, right amount of patience to hold your horses or speak at the most opportune time. Above all it required alot of maturity, analytical skills & calmness to manage all the situations.

In my understanding, this is quite the skillset a qualified MBA is supposed to have to be an effective manager & leader. In same breath let me mention the subjects of MBA course in my understanding prove to be most critical for a leader in due course of their professional careers :

  • Organisational Behaviour : Though its difficult for young MBA minds to absorb & estimate the impact of all the topics in a class of 20+ hours, it is the subject which cuts across all students & is applicable throughout the careers every single moment
  • Game Theory : If one subject can teach the outcome probability best then it is this subject – one should always be prepared & calculating to know the best outcome possible in every situation/event for themselves or colleagues or business, etc. Its quite the lovely topic
  • Operational Research : This subject teaches the art of balancing different sets, values, variables, constants to ultimately reach your optimum goal of efficient results.

There are other subjects worth mentioning though matter a lot on how they are taught – Managerial Skills, Leadership Skills, Strategy, Accounting, etc.

My efforts of mentioning all this in my Tech/Product Blog is that how relevant they prove in giving me a grip & edge for doing Product Management on daily basis. Phase Gate, Optimisations, Filtering, Detailing, Deep diving should become more of a habit that comes naturally while thinking, talking, acting, deciding on things for future growth/Leadership roles.

A word of caution – please do not even think of becoming “Monica” for the same! Phew, that’s OCD.

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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