After a failed attempt at starting a carpool company between 2011 and 2013 in Beijing, I found myself back in the States job searching for startup gigs in the Greater Seattle Area.
Having graduated from the University of Washington with a non-computer science degree, many technical positions were often out of reach.
So during my job search, I started working on a side project to brush up on my technical skills; and I decided that if I was going to build something, it had to fit the following criteria:
Despite how common the product management role has become across numerous industries, there has been a lot of debate and discussion about what a product manager actually does and how to do the job effectively. It doesn’t help that the responsibilities often vary from company to company, and even within a particular team.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what tech billionaire Peter Thiel is most famous for. Co-founding PayPal with Max Levchin? Launching Clarium Capital or Palantir Technologies? Early-stage investments in notable startups like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tesla? Or perhaps it’s his contrarian views on education, science, and technology.
No matter which of his accomplishments you deem most note-worthy — they have certainly solidified Thiel as one of the greatest entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and original thinkers of our time.
There’s a reason product managers (PMs) are called “mini-CEOs.” They must drive an idea from start to finish. This road from conception to user acquisition is fraught with red lights, stop signs, and detours – so PMs need all the support they can get.
The right blogs can be a PM’s best friend — and these seven will get you started.
The lean movement has become the rallying cry of entrepreneurs everywhere, keeping enterprise product managers on their toes as they try to understand how, or even if, they should be implementing the iterative learning methodology into their processes.
But beyond supposedly leading to ‘more innovativeness’ more efficiently, what does lean mean for today’s product managers? By understanding where the term came from, I think product managers can better understand where it’s going, and how it impacts them.
At General Assembly we’re always finding new ways to evolve our offerings and grow our global community of individuals empowered to pursue the work they love. To that end, we’re thrilled to announce that the first two volumes of our new, original book series, The Practitioner’s Guide, have been published.
In this series, you’ll get an introductory overview—including first-hand accounts, lessons learned, and useful advice—from seasoned professionals working in the most relevant fields of the 21st century.
Whatever your notion of sales and sales people, the reality is it’s impossible to survive in business without making sales. But all sales tactics don’t have to be pushy, or take advantage of the gullibility or ignorance of others. In fact, the best ones do neither.
Sales, at its core, is all about connecting to those who need what you offer, and building mutually beneficial relationships. You can do this without being sleazy or unethical; you just have to find sales techniques that are comfortable for you. Here are some you can start putting into practice today.
The Business Model Canvas’s chief virtue is its transparency, and that transparency helps create focus. That said, to create a meaningful and worthwhile take on the Canvas, you want some depth. Here we’ll walk through 3 steps that will help you dig deep into what your business is about and how to frame that using the Canvas.
What is the Canvas
The Business Model Canvas is a tool for articulating and innovating business models. It has the nine blocks shown below. You can probably sit down right now and fill out a version of it for your business.
If you’re prefer something printable, here’s a PDF.
Depot Town, Michigan. Image source: Cmadler via Wikimedia Commons
In today’s virtual world, the next great business idea need not come from California’s Silicon Valley or New York City’s Silicon Alley. It could come from a silicon cornfield, digital bayou, or mobile rustbelt in any one of thousands of tiny rural regions or small towns across America, towns that may have lost a past glory or never thrived because of a lack of employment opportunities. With online learning programs offering the ability to train adults to do in-demand careers, people throughout the country now have the same inroads to specialized learning and potential innovation available to residents of big cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, and Boston.
As one of the partners of a Ruby on Rails software development agency, I speak with dozens of non-technical startup founders every week who are in various stages of building their first web or mobile application. The range of technical acumen, willingness to learn, and time and resources varies widely among the group.
As a firm, we’re not just competing with other NYC based agencies for their business, but also offshore devshops, freelancers, and in some cases, the prospective client who may want to execute internally.
At the end of the day, a non-technical founder who has decided that they must build something has two options: Pay someone else, or partner with people. Below are the pros and cons.