This is the foreword to a twelve-part series on product strategy.

Image for post
Image for post
That’s me, talking about product strategy in London.

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:

  • The Good. I learned to accelerate progress by thinking strategically. In building children’s software, I anticipated the value of brands and signed many of them to long-term exclusives. I also learned to appreciate the value of grade-based positioning (Elmo’s Preschool, Reader Rabbit’s 1st Grade) as well as the emerging internet opportunity.
  • The Bad. I was a co-founder of Creative Wonders, which we sold to The Learning Company (TLC), and then sold TLC to Mattel for $3.5B. But two years later, Mattel spun TLC back out of the company for one-tenth of its value. …


Image for post
Image for post

Disney+ has a shared viewing mode. Amazon Prime Video does, too. There’s even a “Netflix Party” Chrome extension available in the Google Play store. So, why won’t Netflix launch the feature?

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:

  1. Delight. During COVID19, when we all crave connection, enabling members to watch the same TV show or movie simultaneously makes sense. Even more, letting them chat, heckle, and compare notes on the movie sounds fun.
  2. Hard to Copy. Netflix’s APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) make it easy to enable features like this, while other companies would struggle. But the stronger hard-to-copy effect is a network effect. …


Sign up for my “Friends of Gib” email list to be invited to test drives of my new virtual talks, workshops, and exec events.

Image for post
Image for post

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 new ideas and most of my test drives this year (“Inventing the Future (Is Hard),” “Chegg: Wicked Hard Decisions,” and a new “Culture Workshop”) are now part of my main line-up. …


(I’m not convinced that all Medium readers know this.)

Image for post
Image for post
Hum. I wonder If she clapped just once. (I doubt it.)

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!

Gib


Applying my strategy frameworks to Netflix today.

Image for post
Image for post
Black Mirror’s “Bandersnatch” is one of Netflix’s new interactive stories.

As companies grow, product strategies evolve. Here’s how Netflix might communicate its product strategy today. The purpose of this mock strategy is to:

  1. Demonstrate how product strategy evolves, and
  2. Further illustrate the strategy models.

The GLEe Model

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, these step-function innovations are hypotheses about the product’s future. There’s no reason the “GLEe” model should end at three steps, however. As companies evolve, extend the model further into the future. …


And I’m looking for entrepreneurs, product, and marketing leaders to participate in my free, “test-drives.”

Image for post
Image for post

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. …


What I learned about giving high Net Promoter Score online webinars over the last year, with accelerated learning in the last four weeks.

Image for post
Image for post
Screen capture from my most recent webinar.

Like many, I have moved very quickly from in-person to online events. The challenge is to create engaging experiences when you can’t see your audience, they are distracted (by email, Twitter, and COVID19), and the online tools are both flaky and hard to use.

Below are my learnings from this transition. I describe the tools I use today, how I make them work together and the principles that are common to both in-person and online presentations.

My Webinar Tools

I have been hacking with several tools and have had good luck with the following combination:

  • Google Slides: These are “live” and require an internet connection. …


How to make tough decisions about products, people, and business.

Image for post
Image for post
That’s me, at a “Netflix: Wicked Hard Decisions” no-slides, case study dinner In Montreal.

Three years ago, I gave my first talk at a Greylock Partners event. When I asked the product leaders what they wanted to talk about, one answered, “I just want to know how Netflix made the wicked hard decisions.”

Figuring out how to make tough decisions is a topic that’s always worth revisiting as you develop as a leader. To help you make these decisions more quickly and confidently, I’ve compiled ten decision-making habits I’ve learned over the years about people, products, and business.

1. Ask questions, form an opinion, and engage in debate

Early in my career, the head of product at Electronic Arts asked me, “What would you do?” as he contemplated a tough decision. In response, I blubbered incoherently. Later, a friend at work coached me: “Relax — he wants to know what you think. If you don’t know the answer, ask questions until you can form an opinion, then engage in debate.” …


Focus on story structure, engagement tactics, and fast-paced experimentation to give high Net Promoter Score presentations your audience will love.

Here’s a quick 30-minute webinar video I created for product people who want to deliver great product presentations. Here’s the outline:

Image for post
Image for post

Click here to watch the video and to download a PDF of the presentation. As always, remember to give feedback using the SurveyMonkey link at the end of the video. I also provide links to a few articles I have written on how to deliver impactful presentations on my “Speaker Tips” page.

Best,

Gib

www.gibsonbiddle.com/speakertips


Plus all the step by step exercises in one place to help you define your company’s product strategy.

Image for post
Image for post
I’ve got lots of Product Strategy videos at www.gibsonbiddle.com.

Below are all of the exercises from each of my strategy essays. I have also included pre-formatted Google Slides to enable you to define your strategy quickly. The Google Slides provide all the activities and examples you need, so it’s fine to skip to them directly by clicking here. Some find it easier to read the summary below first, however.

Essay #1: Delight Customers in Hard to Copy, Margin-enhancing Ways

About

Gibson Biddle

Former VP/CPO at Netflix/Chegg. Now speaker, teacher, & workshop host. Learn more here: www.gibsonbiddle.com or here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gibsonbiddle/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store