Product Management course syllabus

This is my second time teaching the 10-week course (2 nights a week, 2 hours per night) so I’ve made some improvements based on feedback.

The syllabus is based around this idea that Product Management is essentially a combination of a core new product development process and ancillary skills.

Core process:

  1. Validate the problem (through user research)
  2. Validate the market (through analysis)
  3. Sketch a solution
  4. Validate the solution (through MVPs)

Around that you add presentation skills, funnel analysis, pricing strategy, agile project management, web architecture and SQL, and stakeholder management, and you’ve got Product Management.

Here’s the syllabus for those interested:

  1. Introduction to Product Management

  2. Customer Development

  3. Personas and Empathy Maps

  4. Market Sizing and Competitive Analysis

  5. Business Model Design and Pricing

  6. Translating Ideas into Features

  7. Risks and Assumptions

  8. Minimum Viable Products

  9. Presenting Your Product

  10. Mid-Point Presentations

  11. UX Design: Wireframing

  12. UX Design: Storyboarding

  13. Metrics & Funnel Analysis

  14. Product Roadmaps

  15. Project Management

  16. Technology for PMs

  17. Product Management at Larger Companies

  18. Final Presentations / Demonstrations

  19. Final Presentations / Demonstrations

  20. Continuing on Your Path

I’m going to teach again in Q4 if you want to sign up. The course page is here.


“At the time the American football league had collapsed. There wasn’t one. And even worse we had this licence which EA had never heard of. They didn’t think we were going to sell a single copy of this. They thought it would be a complete disaster.

“We fought pretty hard to keep the FIFA brand and we thought we would sustain a market outside of the US. There were many, many meetings where it could have easily been cancelled. We had to constantly re-justify it.”

He adds: “This was a time where our budget was in the $50,000 or $100,000 region, so these were small budgets. If it was millions we would’ve been killed immediately. There was no way we could have justified that kind of expense. We were small enough to not really get noticed but I remember several meetings where people would say: ‘Didn’t we already kill this game?’

“I am sure that if it wasn’t in Canada and we were under the noses of the Americans it would not have survived. We just kind of just slipped through the cracks.”

Rejection, tragedy and billions of dollars - The story of FIFA via MCV

Fascinating story of how EA Sports launched FIFA and the how it almost never happened.  As it usually happens at big companies, great ideas get squashed by politics, budgets, and the desire to sustain existing products.  In this case, a small team in the UK and Canada pulled the game together on a shoe-string budget and launched in well ahead of the 1994 World Cup.  A game that no one at EA headquarters wanted or even cared about.  It is now their biggest selling game.

(via marksbirch)



Miles Grimshaw provides a great overview of Yodlee’s S-1. I’ve listed additional observations, following Miles’ highlights, below.


Yodlee just filed their S-1. Some of the highlights:


Customer Concentration

  • Bank of America was 14.9% of total revenue in 2013

Smells like shareholders who have run out of patience and want to get out before the window shuts. Pass.





Hey, guys.

It’s almost the weekend! And that means you’re probably wondering what you’re going to do. What friends to hang out with at brunch, what hikes to go on, which TV shows to watch on Sunday night. Game of Thrones is over for the season, Mad Men's over for the half-season, there's no more Breaking Bad, and you’re probably through season 2 of Orange is the New Black already. UGH SUNDAY TV WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO.

Well, there’s a show called Halt and Catch Fire on AMC at 10 pm that you’re probably not watching. I say this because if you were watching the ratings would probably be higher. The ratings are not very good.

I know this and can say this objectively because my husband is the co-creator, and we get the ratings every week, and every week we wish more people were tuning in. I think there are probably a handful of reasons for the low ratings, some of which are due to viewers choosing not to watch the show, and some of which are just a matter of timing and exposure. It’s summer, so people are out of town and in and out and DVRing stuff or just missing it. There have been good reviews, but since no one’s seen where the characters end up yet, it’s too easy to judge certain story lines before they’re given a chance to develop. It’s about computers, and there’s a guy who initially appears to be yet another boring alpha mystery dude, and honestly when Chris first told me the premise of the pilot I didn’t think it sounded like something I’d choose to watch if I didn’t know him.

But I’m asking you to give this show a chance. I’ve seen the whole season, and it’s blown me away. Friends of mine who were initially watching just because they knew it was Chris’s show and they thought they ought to watch out of friend duty have told me they were surprised by how invested they’ve become in the characters. The writers—who hail from Mad Men to The Sopranos to Southland—take Gordon and Donna and Joe and Cameron in directions you wouldn’t necessarily expect from the pilot. There are subversively intelligent people, and there are LGBT people, and there are women who wear pants, and there are men who cry, and there are people who try to be someone they’re not. (This scene, gorgeously gif-ed, is actually so very stunningly sad when you watch it in context.)

Rolling Stone (which, by the way, strongly disliked the majority of the first half of the season) called last week’s episode “42 minutes of solid, sometimes surprising, sometimes striking television, growing like that flower in Halt and Catch Fire’s heretofore sterile circuitry. Let it grow.” The Austin Chronicle lists five reasons you should be watching this season. The actors turn in fantastic performances—I have an especial soft spot for Toby Huss, who plays Joe’s boss with a fantastic combination of Texan charisma and subtlety. And, in this coming episode, Lee Pace delivers a particularly brave and lovely performance. 

Maybe you watched the pilot and thought it was okay but haven’t watched anything since. Maybe you’ve recorded the previous episodes on DVR and just haven’t gotten into them yet. Maybe you’re planning to binge it later. Maybe you didn’t DVR it at all—in which case, you can stream episodes for free on AMC’s website (all of them are still available for the next four days!) or purchase episodes on iTunes. Or maybe you don’t really give a shit about catching up, in which case I think you will LOVE this Sunday’s episode, which is one of my favorite episodes of the whole season. (BONUS: a Buffy veteran guest-stars. Start guessing.)

Anyway, if you have been even maybe possibly thinking about watching Halt and Catch Fire, it would be awesome if you tuned in now. I’d love for more people to love this show, and for the characters to get the chance to make you fall in love, and for the season to go out with more viewers than it came in with.

So. What are you doing this Sunday at 10 pm?

I’m completely hooked and so will you. Just watch it.

This show’s pretty good. Check it out.

I caught up on all the past episodes this afternoon. Really like it.



SATURDAY JAZZ BRUNCH: So Danço Samba by Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto - As the World Cup winds down, figured it was samba time in celebration of a great month of football.  While it is disappointing to not see Brazil in the final, here’s hoping they find success with afternoon.  Maybe some samba will help.

I have posted tunes off this album (Corcovado & Girl from Ipanema) in the past and I keep going back to it for one simple reason; it is one of the great albums of all-time.  It was the first jazz album to win a Grammy for Album of Year, it is one of the top selling jazz albums ever, and every song on the album is outstanding.  So Danço Samba, written by samba legends Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes is such a happy, bouncy tune that I had to spin it today.  Enjoy!

Love this album so much.