Monthly Archives: May 2015

How to write better

  • Know your audience, and use vocabulary relevant to them.
  • Develop a tone, similar to how you would speak in person.
  • Organization is design – structure your sentences, use paragraphs/lists as appropriate.
  • Provide examples, real life instances. Its easier to understand with association.
  • Write less, write crisp.
  • Reread and edit after a break.
  • Summarize.

Do early stage startups need a product manager?

I think a really good product manager, specially someone who has prior startup experience and has successfully built a product from scratch can be one of the best hires for an early stage startup.

A good product manager –

  • Defines product vision and constantly iterates upon it based on feedback and a better understanding of the customers problems. This is arguably more important for an early startup than a larger company with more established product that has achieved product-market fit.
  • Aligns product development (engineering+design) with customer needs and changing market.
  • Becomes an expert in the domain, so a product manager for Airbnb would know everything there is to know about the short term rental market, competitors, potential market sizing, opportunity to scale globally, possible partnerships with other apps to improve user experience and much more. They could talk for hours about every aspect of Airbnb.
  • Is in charge of product communication, be it internal product specs and requirements or external communication about feature launches, user guides or media coverage.
  • Keeps a steady cadence. Cadence is critical for any team working on any type of product. A product manager can help establish and maintain cadence for cross functional teams working on different parts of the product.
  • Manages overall product UX. Ensures that the entire experience a user goes through right from the point that they sign up, the welcome email that they receive, when they user your product on the web vs in an app, when the contact you through a support channel, when they communicate with you using social media and everything in between is consistent and pleasant.

Most startups fail not because their software didn’t scale or they had fewer engineers than needed. They fail because of their inability to build something unique and valuable for their customers. This is the responsibility of a PM – to ensure that the team is solving the right problems.

For most startups, the founders are in charge of managing product.
However, good product managers inculcate in themselves the vision that the founders have for the product and can execute on their behalf while bringing their own perspective.
They can allow to scale the most non-scalable aspect of any startup – the founders themselves.

This was originally my answer to a Quora post – How can product managers add value in an early stage company?

10 ideas that I want to write about!

This is a meta-list, a list of ideas I want to write lists of ideas for –

  • 10 ideas to improve online education
  • 10 types of people (skills) I would hire
  • 10 ways to validate your startup idea
  • 10 ideas for technology startups to make money
  • 10 ways to build a network of really smart people around you
  • 10 things about our current world that will sound surprisingly antique in 2050
  • 10 online consulting business ideas
  • 10 things that I wish existed
  • 10 non-academic skills to learn in college
  • 10 technologies that will change our world in next 20 years

Teleportation systems in 5 years?

Three existing technologies – holographic telepresence, immersive virtual reality and telepresence robots, are the building blocks necessary for futuristic teleportation-like technology. With more sophistication and innovation in these areas, teleportation might not be a distant dream!



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