Early in my career as a product leader, I learned to execute quickly, leading to success in building games and children’s software. But two things reinforced the value of strategic thinking for me. One good, another bad:
Note: This essay is from my free “Ask Gib” newsletter on Substack, where I answer a few product management and leadership questions each week. You can sign up here.
Given rapid changes in product management roles and technologies, most of my learning has come from bosses and peers.
To answer this question, I created a list of learning from my thirty-year career. The list reinforces how product leaders can accelerate both their learning and career growth:
I’m having lots of fun answering daily product management questions on Substack.
I will return to writing long-form essays on Medium soon, but it’s fun to build a daily writing habit on my new “Ask Gib” Product Management newsletter.
Hit the “subscribe” button on Substack, and my answers will be delivered to your inbox each day.
I did more than one hundred talks last year and never had enough time to answer everyone’s questions. So I’m dedicating time to answer one question each day in writing.
I launched a new column on Substack and created a Slido link where folks can ask and upvote questions. Within an hour of launch, here’s the top upvoted question:
You can read my answer by clicking here, and Substack makes it easy to subscribe so you’ll never miss an answer.
I’d love it if you’d ask and upvote questions by clicking here, too.
Over two decades, Netflix improved its subscribers’ monthly cancel rate from 10% to 2%. They did this by balancing delight against margin (profit) while building a durable, hard-to-copy advantage. I call it the DHM model: Delight customers in Hard-to-copy, Margin-enhancing ways.
Today, Netflix’s hard-to-copy attributes are:
A challenge along the way: How do you evaluate trade-offs between delight and margin? When might you choose to lose money to delight customers?
Below, I answer both of these questions…
As a product leader, your job is to delight customers in hard-to-copy, margin-enhancing ways. On the face of it, a Netflix Party feature seems to combine all three elements:
Sign up for my “Friends of Gib” email list to be invited to test drives of my new virtual talks, workshops, and exec events.
This year I did 120 virtual events, two-thirds free and one-third paid. I am motivated to help other product leaders through teaching, but also by the pursuit of new ideas. A cool thing about virtual work is that I am no longer dependent on meetups and event organizers. Test-driving a new event is as simple as sending an email to my “Friends of Gib” email list. I love being able to quickly experiment and iterate on…
(I’m not convinced that all Medium readers know this.)
I look through my data, and there are so many single claps. I recognize that the clap on Medium borrows from real-life behavior — you clap more for something you love.
But online, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter perpetuate a one-clap system. So it’s strange to clap more than once on Medium.
Go crazy, clap all you want!
As companies grow, product strategies evolve. Here’s how Netflix might communicate its product strategy today. The purpose of this mock strategy is to:
Earlier in this product strategy series, I outlined how Netflix hoped to “Get Big,” “Lead,” and “Expand” during its startup phase. Below I have added the company’s current focus, as well as a speculative next step, which may have substantial traction in five to ten years:
1. Get big on DVDs
2. Lead downloading
3. Expand worldwide
4. Original content
5. Interactive storytelling
Like product strategy…
And I’m looking for entrepreneurs, product, and marketing leaders to participate in my free, “test-drives.”
If you haven’t seen one of my virtual talks, I focus on product management, product strategy, consumer science, career hacking, and culture. All of my talks are highly interactive as I combine Google Slides and Slido for highly engaging experiences. I also do lots of “What would you do?” cases about companies you know and love — like Netflix. Sometimes I use Zoom virtual rooms to enable you to discuss cases with product leader peers around the world. You’ll learn a lot and have fun…