Paul Young

Blog Post
Taking Event Support from Sales Tactic to Product Strategy
Oct 24, 2016 - Events. It’s natural to dread them. As a product manager, you may view events as largely tactical and time-consuming endeavors. Beyond that, you may loathe being stuck in a trade show booth taking on a sales role that’s not entirely comfortable for you. But the truth is that events aren’t just a sales and marketing tactic. They can and should be a strategic part of your market research—a way to glean feedback from your market as much as they are a place to push your message. Rethinking the Role of Events While some product managers have a sales background, most don’t. And when you’re put into a trade show environment, your focus suddenly becomes delivering leads. Maybe your sales people lure prospects in with a good pitch and then expect you to continue the conversation—maybe even close the sale. Frankly, a lot of product folks aren’t good at this. Ultimately, you may be wasting your time manning a booth when you could be making events more beneficial to your team, your company and even your prospective customers. So, what can we do to rethink event support and create events that actually benefit the product team? Here’s a start. 1. Talk […]
Oct 24, 2016 - Events. It’s natural to dread them. As a product manager, you may view events as largely tactical and time-consuming endeavors. Beyond that, you may loathe being stuck in a trade show booth taking on a sales role that’s not entirely comfortable for you. But the truth is that events aren’t just a sales and marketing tactic. They can and should be a strategic part of your market research—a way to glean feedback from your market as much as they are a place to push your message. Rethinking the Role of Events While some product managers have a sales background, most don’t. And when you’re put into a trade show environment, your focus suddenly becomes delivering leads. Maybe your sales people lure prospects in with a good pitch and then expect you to continue the conversation—maybe even close the sale. Frankly, a lot of product folks aren’t good at this. Ultimately, you may be wasting your time manning a booth when you could be making events more beneficial to your team, your company and even your prospective customers. So, what can we do to rethink event support and create events that actually benefit the product team? Here’s a start. 1. Talk […]
Blog Post
On Being a Pragmatic Marketing Instructor
May 06, 2016 - This week, I was fortunate enough to receive a new opportunity within Pragmatic Marketing, and accepted a new role as Vice President of Products.  It’s a rare occasion that the stars align and you’re able to do work you love for a company you love with a team you love – but that’s exactly how I describe working at Pragmatic.  If you haven’t experienced that feeling, I sincerely hope that you will, and I’d like to share some thoughts on the best job in the world with you in the hopes that it piques your interest, and points you down a path of achieving success, however you define the term. In 2010, I worked for Dell, and managed a small team who was responsible for portfolio management of several acquisitions that Dell had made over the years.  Prior to Dell, I worked for Cisco, a company Cisco had acquired called NetSolve, and a startup called NetStreams, amongst others.  All of these were good experiences in their own ways, but at a certain point I realized that I had the itch for something smaller, where I could see an immediate impact.  I had an idea for a startup of my own […]
May 06, 2016 - This week, I was fortunate enough to receive a new opportunity within Pragmatic Marketing, and accepted a new role as Vice President of Products.  It’s a rare occasion that the stars align and you’re able to do work you love for a company you love with a team you love – but that’s exactly how I describe working at Pragmatic.  If you haven’t experienced that feeling, I sincerely hope that you will, and I’d like to share some thoughts on the best job in the world with you in the hopes that it piques your interest, and points you down a path of achieving success, however you define the term. In 2010, I worked for Dell, and managed a small team who was responsible for portfolio management of several acquisitions that Dell had made over the years.  Prior to Dell, I worked for Cisco, a company Cisco had acquired called NetSolve, and a startup called NetStreams, amongst others.  All of these were good experiences in their own ways, but at a certain point I realized that I had the itch for something smaller, where I could see an immediate impact.  I had an idea for a startup of my own […]
Blog Post
Your survey data is flawed, and what to do about it
Feb 25, 2016 - Science magazine just come out with a bombshell: senior researchers at SurveyMonkey have detected that as many as one in five surveys contain fraudulent data. And we’re not just talking about a handful of surveys, they analyzed over 1000 public data sets from multiple different surveys to reach this conclusion. “…Among 1008 surveys, their test flagged 17% as likely to contain a significant portion of fabricated data. For surveys conducted in wealthy westernized nations, that figure drops to 5%, whereas for those done in the developing world it shoots up to 26%.” This is a major problem.  The usage of quantitative data in product teams has exploded in the past 10 years, and if you can’t trust your data, then you can’t trust the decisions you are making that rely on that data. Fortunately, the researchers, Michael Robbins and Noble Kuriakose, point to the likely culprit: “The basis of the test is the likelihood, by chance alone, that two respondents will give highly similar answers to questions on a survey. How similar is too similar? After running a simulation of data fabrication scenarios, they settled on 85% as the cutoff. In a 100-question survey of 100 people, for example, fewer than five people would […]
Feb 25, 2016 - Science magazine just come out with a bombshell: senior researchers at SurveyMonkey have detected that as many as one in five surveys contain fraudulent data. And we’re not just talking about a handful of surveys, they analyzed over 1000 public data sets from multiple different surveys to reach this conclusion. “…Among 1008 surveys, their test flagged 17% as likely to contain a significant portion of fabricated data. For surveys conducted in wealthy westernized nations, that figure drops to 5%, whereas for those done in the developing world it shoots up to 26%.” This is a major problem.  The usage of quantitative data in product teams has exploded in the past 10 years, and if you can’t trust your data, then you can’t trust the decisions you are making that rely on that data. Fortunately, the researchers, Michael Robbins and Noble Kuriakose, point to the likely culprit: “The basis of the test is the likelihood, by chance alone, that two respondents will give highly similar answers to questions on a survey. How similar is too similar? After running a simulation of data fabrication scenarios, they settled on 85% as the cutoff. In a 100-question survey of 100 people, for example, fewer than five people would […]
Blog Post
March Market Madness!
Mar 23, 2015 - Pragmatic Marketing is running a neat Market Madness promotion – a “playoff” between the boxes on the Pragmatic Marketing Framework.  You can vote on each match up and see who the winner will be at productmarketing.com.  But half of the fun is just seeing the college logos the marketing team created for each box.       My money is on Distinctive Competencies.  I think they are underrated as a #3 seed.  Go grab the bracket (PDF) and see the seeding, and tell us what you think!
Mar 23, 2015 - Pragmatic Marketing is running a neat Market Madness promotion – a “playoff” between the boxes on the Pragmatic Marketing Framework.  You can vote on each match up and see who the winner will be at productmarketing.com.  But half of the fun is just seeing the college logos the marketing team created for each box.       My money is on Distinctive Competencies.  I think they are underrated as a #3 seed.  Go grab the bracket (PDF) and see the seeding, and tell us what you think!
Blog Post
It’s time to get your Ph.D. in Sales Comp
Jun 08, 2014 - A few years ago, I was working for a large company in Austin. This company had recently acquired a series of software startups and was integrating them into their larger portfolio. The team I managed was responsible for the product management and transition. What I learned during this time about Sales behavior was a shock to my system – and may help you as well.
Jun 08, 2014 - A few years ago, I was working for a large company in Austin. This company had recently acquired a series of software startups and was integrating them into their larger portfolio. The team I managed was responsible for the product management and transition. What I learned during this time about Sales behavior was a shock to my system – and may help you as well.
Blog Post
Who Owns Design?
May 28, 2014 - One of the most frequent questions I receive is “Who owns Design?”  Should the designers report to the Development or Engineering team, should they report to Product Management, or perhaps Marketing?  Or, should Design be its own group?  The answer might surprise you. Before we can define where Design belongs in an organization, we must first define “Design.”  There have been dozens of books written on this topic and the debate will continue to rage online long after this blog turns to dust.  For now, let’s turn to “Paul’s Pragmatic Definition of Design” “Design is the role in a team that understands a market problem, and comes up with a solution to that problem.” It’s doesn’t have to be harder than that.  To determine where Design belongs, lets examine whom the Design primarily works with on a day-to-day basis.  Design works sits as the middle layer in this diagram: Typically Product Management is responsible for the top layer of finding and quantifying the markets’ problems.  Development is typically responsible for the Build layer of bringing the designed solution to life. However, to make this picture more complex, Design doesn’t mean just one thing.  At a minimum, there are two flavors […]
May 28, 2014 - One of the most frequent questions I receive is “Who owns Design?”  Should the designers report to the Development or Engineering team, should they report to Product Management, or perhaps Marketing?  Or, should Design be its own group?  The answer might surprise you. Before we can define where Design belongs in an organization, we must first define “Design.”  There have been dozens of books written on this topic and the debate will continue to rage online long after this blog turns to dust.  For now, let’s turn to “Paul’s Pragmatic Definition of Design” “Design is the role in a team that understands a market problem, and comes up with a solution to that problem.” It’s doesn’t have to be harder than that.  To determine where Design belongs, lets examine whom the Design primarily works with on a day-to-day basis.  Design works sits as the middle layer in this diagram: Typically Product Management is responsible for the top layer of finding and quantifying the markets’ problems.  Development is typically responsible for the Build layer of bringing the designed solution to life. However, to make this picture more complex, Design doesn’t mean just one thing.  At a minimum, there are two flavors […]
Blog Post
The Problem with Building Products in an Agile World
May 28, 2014 - Agile is a helpful methodology to build products faster, but also suffers from some major issues that can catch teams and wreck projects. Learn what to look out for and how to prevent issues before they start.
May 28, 2014 - Agile is a helpful methodology to build products faster, but also suffers from some major issues that can catch teams and wreck projects. Learn what to look out for and how to prevent issues before they start.
Blog Post
Join me at PIPELINE 2014!
May 28, 2014 - Watch me present "The Cornerstone of a Market Driven Organization" at PIPELINE 2014!
May 28, 2014 - Watch me present "The Cornerstone of a Market Driven Organization" at PIPELINE 2014!
Blog Post
Becoming a Product Leader with Win/Loss Analysis
Feb 24, 2014 - Win/Loss Analysis is a critical skill for product leaders to develop, and it can make a major difference in your career and your product's success.
Feb 24, 2014 - Win/Loss Analysis is a critical skill for product leaders to develop, and it can make a major difference in your career and your product's success.
Blog Post
Take the 2013 Pragmatic Marketing Annual Product Management and Marketing Survey!
Nov 29, 2012 - This is a quick reminder to take our annual survey. We’ve run this survey for over a decade to provide product managers and marketers with a “State of the Union” for their profession. We publish the information we gather for free back to the community as a service, so you can have valuable insights into compensation, job responsibilities, titles, and ratios that represent the industry. We hope that you find it useful and will help us help you, so go take the survey now! [UPDATE] Link fixed, thanks!
Nov 29, 2012 - This is a quick reminder to take our annual survey. We’ve run this survey for over a decade to provide product managers and marketers with a “State of the Union” for their profession. We publish the information we gather for free back to the community as a service, so you can have valuable insights into compensation, job responsibilities, titles, and ratios that represent the industry. We hope that you find it useful and will help us help you, so go take the survey now! [UPDATE] Link fixed, thanks!
Blog Post
What Product Managers can Learn from Project Managers
Sep 04, 2012 - Product managers and project managers:  how do they compare?  Though the titles of these careers may look and sound similar, the job descriptions are really quite different. However, both product and project managers can learn a great deal from one another to better perform their own job duties.  Let’s take a look at the general responsibilities for these two positions. Project Managers:  These professionals are primarily connected to the “how” and “when” of a project.  The main responsibilities of a project manager are to develop clear, detailed, and attainable objectives for a project, build the project requirements and oversee and manage constraints such as the cost, time, scope and quality of a given project.  Some have likened the role of product manager to that of a midwife – he or she oversees the project from start to finish, “delivers” the product to the product manager and then proceeds to the next assignment. Product Managers:  These individuals are typically responsible for defining and analyzing market conditions for a product, and discovering and quantifying the problems that the product must solve for the market.  They are the “what” and “why” folks. They research customer needs and develop sales and marketing plans that […]
Sep 04, 2012 - Product managers and project managers:  how do they compare?  Though the titles of these careers may look and sound similar, the job descriptions are really quite different. However, both product and project managers can learn a great deal from one another to better perform their own job duties.  Let’s take a look at the general responsibilities for these two positions. Project Managers:  These professionals are primarily connected to the “how” and “when” of a project.  The main responsibilities of a project manager are to develop clear, detailed, and attainable objectives for a project, build the project requirements and oversee and manage constraints such as the cost, time, scope and quality of a given project.  Some have likened the role of product manager to that of a midwife – he or she oversees the project from start to finish, “delivers” the product to the product manager and then proceeds to the next assignment. Product Managers:  These individuals are typically responsible for defining and analyzing market conditions for a product, and discovering and quantifying the problems that the product must solve for the market.  They are the “what” and “why” folks. They research customer needs and develop sales and marketing plans that […]
Blog Post
The Gift of Mentorship
Jul 10, 2012 - A great mentor can be a huge help at any stage of your career, especially the early and mid stages. I've been fortunate to have some excellent mentors throughout my career, who have helped me drive my career in the direction I wanted. I recently agreed to be a mentor to a young product manager, and going through this process has made me think about what I want to give and receive as a mentor. Unfortunately, most mentoring relationships are sorely lacking in structure and results, and it can be very disappointing to establish a mentoring relationship only to see it fizzle out.
Jul 10, 2012 - A great mentor can be a huge help at any stage of your career, especially the early and mid stages. I've been fortunate to have some excellent mentors throughout my career, who have helped me drive my career in the direction I wanted. I recently agreed to be a mentor to a young product manager, and going through this process has made me think about what I want to give and receive as a mentor. Unfortunately, most mentoring relationships are sorely lacking in structure and results, and it can be very disappointing to establish a mentoring relationship only to see it fizzle out.
Blog Post
You Might Be a Product Manager If… (2011 version)
Dec 19, 2011 - It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, not the holiday season, it’s time for the 5th (almost) annual “You Might Be a Product Manager If…” list!  Favorite entries from past years include: You might be a product manager if your wedding included a PowerPoint presentation. You might be a product manager if you […]
Dec 19, 2011 - It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, not the holiday season, it’s time for the 5th (almost) annual “You Might Be a Product Manager If…” list!  Favorite entries from past years include: You might be a product manager if your wedding included a PowerPoint presentation. You might be a product manager if you […]
Blog Post
The 2011 Annual Product Management and Marketing Survey Results are in!
Feb 19, 2012 - Every year for the last decade, Pragmatic Marketing has run a survey of the product management and marketing community in order to assemble a profile of common industry practices, team sizes, responsibilities, and compensation.
Feb 19, 2012 - Every year for the last decade, Pragmatic Marketing has run a survey of the product management and marketing community in order to assemble a profile of common industry practices, team sizes, responsibilities, and compensation.
Blog Post
Medical Science Verifies: Price Impacts Perceived Value
Aug 04, 2011 - A student in my class last week in San Francisco sent me a great article from the Stanford Knowledge Base about how a products’ price impacts the value that a customer sees in the product. We’ve long known that products that carry a higher price are generally perceived by the market to be higher quality.  [...]
Aug 04, 2011 - A student in my class last week in San Francisco sent me a great article from the Stanford Knowledge Base about how a products’ price impacts the value that a customer sees in the product. We’ve long known that products that carry a higher price are generally perceived by the market to be higher quality.  [...]
Blog Post
How Should You Measure a Product Manager?
Apr 03, 2012 - Rich Mironov at Product Bytes weighs in with a thoughtful post about measuring product managers. He had a recent experience in Sweden where the product executives he worked with shared the same concerns as product executives in the U.S., Europe and the rest of the World, namely: what is the right way to measure the performance of a product manager?
Apr 03, 2012 - Rich Mironov at Product Bytes weighs in with a thoughtful post about measuring product managers. He had a recent experience in Sweden where the product executives he worked with shared the same concerns as product executives in the U.S., Europe and the rest of the World, namely: what is the right way to measure the performance of a product manager?
Blog Post
Join me at ProductCamp Austin!
Aug 03, 2011 - If you are in the product management and marketing community and live in or around Central Texas, there is only one place that you need to be next Saturday: ProductCamp Austin. ProductCamp is the largest, most important networking event for product management professionals for the entire year, and it is a fantastic learning opportunity as well. You will have an opportunity to learn about everything from Innovation, to Strategy, to Media Relations and Segmentation. It's like a mini-MBA in a day! Go register now, the deadline is Wednesday (today)!
Aug 03, 2011 - If you are in the product management and marketing community and live in or around Central Texas, there is only one place that you need to be next Saturday: ProductCamp Austin. ProductCamp is the largest, most important networking event for product management professionals for the entire year, and it is a fantastic learning opportunity as well. You will have an opportunity to learn about everything from Innovation, to Strategy, to Media Relations and Segmentation. It's like a mini-MBA in a day! Go register now, the deadline is Wednesday (today)!
Blog Post
ProductTank is coming to Austin!
Mar 02, 2012 - Most of the readers of this blog are probably familiar with ProductCamp, a networking event for product management and marketing talent that I founded in Austin and have helped seed around the world. One of those seeds took root in London, where ProductCamp London merged with another group to form ProductTank, a group for London […]
Mar 02, 2012 - Most of the readers of this blog are probably familiar with ProductCamp, a networking event for product management and marketing talent that I founded in Austin and have helped seed around the world. One of those seeds took root in London, where ProductCamp London merged with another group to form ProductTank, a group for London […]
Blog Post
Great Design isn’t Created, it is Waiting to be Discovered
Sep 24, 2011 - Amazing design speaks to us on an unconscious level.  We appreciate it without knowing all of the pain and suffering that the designer went through to get to the final product.  We appreciate it because of its utility or simplicity and its ability to add value to our lives through beauty, or helping us solve a problem in our [...]
Sep 24, 2011 - Amazing design speaks to us on an unconscious level.  We appreciate it without knowing all of the pain and suffering that the designer went through to get to the final product.  We appreciate it because of its utility or simplicity and its ability to add value to our lives through beauty, or helping us solve a problem in our [...]
Blog Post
PowerPoint Karaoke Tonight at ProductParty Austin!
Oct 05, 2011 - If you are in Austin tonight and want to come out and get your networking on, check out ProductParty Austin, from the team that brings you ProductCamp Austin.  ProductParty is a networking event with drinks, followed tonight by a 1-hour session that I will be MCing called PowerPoint Karaoke, or PPTK. For the uninitiated, PPTK [...]
Oct 05, 2011 - If you are in Austin tonight and want to come out and get your networking on, check out ProductParty Austin, from the team that brings you ProductCamp Austin.  ProductParty is a networking event with drinks, followed tonight by a 1-hour session that I will be MCing called PowerPoint Karaoke, or PPTK. For the uninitiated, PPTK [...]
Blog Post
Take the Pragmatic Marketing Social Media Survey
Oct 09, 2011 - In an effort to learn more about how you use social media in product marketing and management, we’ve created a 9-question survey that we’d love for you to take. We’ll share the results of this survey next month on this blog and the others you see listed on the right hand sidebar. Thanks in advance! [...]
Oct 09, 2011 - In an effort to learn more about how you use social media in product marketing and management, we’ve created a 9-question survey that we’d love for you to take. We’ll share the results of this survey next month on this blog and the others you see listed on the right hand sidebar. Thanks in advance! [...]
Blog Post
Pragmatic Marketing’s 2012 Annual Product Management and Marketing Survey is Open!
Nov 14, 2011 - Every year for the past decade, we at Pragmatic Marketing run a State-of-the-Union survey for product management and marketing.  The survey goes out to the 75,000 alumni who have been to one of our seminars and is also open to the general public.  The annual survey seeks to help us define how the role of […]
Nov 14, 2011 - Every year for the past decade, we at Pragmatic Marketing run a State-of-the-Union survey for product management and marketing.  The survey goes out to the 75,000 alumni who have been to one of our seminars and is also open to the general public.  The annual survey seeks to help us define how the role of […]
Blog Post
Use of Social Media Survey Results
Nov 28, 2011 - Last month, we ran a quick survey about how you are using social media in product marketing and management.  The goal was not to develop a comprehensive picture of this broad topic, but to recognize some trends and validate some areas that we have heard out in the field.  Over 130 of you responded to […]
Nov 28, 2011 - Last month, we ran a quick survey about how you are using social media in product marketing and management.  The goal was not to develop a comprehensive picture of this broad topic, but to recognize some trends and validate some areas that we have heard out in the field.  Over 130 of you responded to […]
Blog Post
ProductCamp Global Coordination
Feb 08, 2013 - There is a problem with how ProductCamps are organized and run today: they are very tribal. Knowledge is passed on a one-to-one basis, or by physically traveling to another city to watch how that camp performs. This is inefficient and error-prone, and leads to a "multiplicity" problem where we are making a copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy and missing out on the chance to share what is working and what isn't to create a kick-ass experience for everyone.
Feb 08, 2013 - There is a problem with how ProductCamps are organized and run today: they are very tribal. Knowledge is passed on a one-to-one basis, or by physically traveling to another city to watch how that camp performs. This is inefficient and error-prone, and leads to a "multiplicity" problem where we are making a copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy and missing out on the chance to share what is working and what isn't to create a kick-ass experience for everyone.
Article
8 Soft Skills You Need to Succeed
Nov 14, 2017 - The hard skills of product management that are related to data gathering are challenging enough to master, but you also need...
Nov 14, 2017 - The hard skills of product management that are related to data gathering are challenging enough to master, but you also need...
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