V1 innovation within a V+1 org

Startups are optimized towards launching version 1.0 offerings, identifying product-market fit, and putting in place the best go-to-market organization to attract new customers. Once the “magic” happens (or should I say the challenging work pays off), when users and products find each other in a happy place, the growth loops evolve towards retention in addition to the original focus purely on acquisition. As the company matures, there is a natural tendency to increasingly drive the business towards delivering incremental products, focusing on the existing target audiences. After all, that’s where the revenue has come from historically, so why not concentrate the R&D and go-to-market investments on what we know best and minimize financial risks? Larger companies sometimes have a hard time going after something unproven that will take investing multiple years to become a meaningful part of the revenue. It could even take market share away from existing offerings!

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Where in the org is Product Marketing?

As companies evolve, they (sometimes) take the time to reflect on the best teams’ structure to achieve their strategies and goals. For most groups, the roles and responsibilities are self-contained within that function. For example, while the sales team organization to deliver the expected results might change significantly over time, from an inside-sales structure to heavy OEM or direct-to-consumer focus, the boundaries remain within “sales” – I can’t name any examples of companies beyond the Seed stage where the R&D leader manages the enterprise sales team. Yet, for one role, defining its location in the org-chart is not as clear… and that challenge is fundamentally described in the function name: Product Marketing.

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The amazing business model of Santa, Inc.

When the success of your organization depends on global delivery within a window of just 24 hours, it’s imperative for your logistics and delivery systems to be flawless. Add to that a strict focus on delighting the customers using processes that rely heavy on outsourcing and you can see just what a challenge it would be. Wait a minute! There’s also that whole “deliver significant shareholder value and growth, year after year” thing. Daunting? Yes. But not for Santa, Inc.

How does the company do it?

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Product Managers: Doing nothing is a lot of work

It’s a question every product manager faces: What do you do, exactly? I got it from a newly appointed Executive Vice President of Marketing, to whom all the Product Managers reported, about eight years ago. After a short reflection, my answer was simple. Sort of. They do nothing—but it’s a lot of work.

It was certainly not the answer he was expecting, and I somehow felt compelled to provide a further explanation to my boss’s boss if, for no other reason, than to keep my job.

But at least I got his attention.

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Passion and care: Business lessons from the top chefs

In recent months, I’ve found myself watching numerous food-related documentaries. From the Netflix show, Chef’s Table, to the PBS series, The Mind of a Chef (also available on Netflix), it’s fascinating to see the passion displayed by these culinary geniuses. It’s also interesting to see how they focus on every detail, how they all craft the unique experience they provide with care in an effort to achieve customer delight.

These shows also share glimpses of the journey some of them took to find their own voice, their unique value proposition that enables them to stand out. While each of these chefs have very different culinary styles and experiences, they offer amazing examples of customer delight. And although the lessons they teach are from the culinary world, they can be used by companies of any size and in any sector to achieve similar success.

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Microsoft’s transition to a customer-centric company

High-technology products can be divided into many different categories. One such segmentation is to divide products into those you want to use vs. those you have to use.

For the first group, many Apple products almost certainly come to mind. Its devices are beautiful and designed to enhance the overall user experience. Together, the hardware and software are recognized as being among the best—if not the very best—around.

When it comes to products you have to use, however, did Microsoft come to mind?

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