Twenty-Twenty! W-H-A-T A Y-E-A-R!!!

To say that this was a challenging year is an understatement. I don’t think I’ve ever been more happy and thrilled for a year to have gone by, or more excited and hopeful for a new year to commence.

I know that this was an extremely difficult, hard, long, painful, scary, sad, devastating and deadly year for so many, here in the US and around the world. I wish I could take some of this darkness away.

Compared to the challenges and sacrifices that so many others had to face and overcome - this year for…

As Product Managers we don’t really build things, but rather facilitate and empower other teams (engineering and design) to do so. I’ve described, through analogies, some of the roles that we play for our teams.

Our role is complex and can encompass a variety of jobs and task. From understanding users’ problems, gathering requirements and competitive analysis, to defining business models, growth and monetization strategies and, sometimes, we bring the donuts, just to name a few.

But all the strategic and tactical work that we do, would be for naught if it wasn’t for the group of talented engineers and…

WOW! It’s hard to believe that 2019 is almost gone and a new decade is about to begin.

Between my last company getting acquired at the end of May, packing up the house in Oakland, CA., moving the family to Portland, OR. and getting our new lives started, this year just flew by. Fortunately, I still managed to make time (thanks in part to Atomic Habits and Digital Minimalism) and read a good amount of books and learn many new things.

Here are some of my favorite reads, in no particular order, from 2019. …

In the last few weeks I’ve read several articles written by people working at some of the largest technology companies in Silicon Valley (think FAGA).

These articles talk about the importance of embracing “ethical design” and how to design and build products that are helpful and useful to their users.

There were some nuggets here and there, but I ended up walking away with a nagging feeling… a feeling of hypocrisy and half-truths.

I find it highly ironic and hypocritical for them to be writing about “ethical design” when the work is being done for/by companies who have lost their…

If we ever get to spend any time together during a product meeting, whether it’s with engineers, designers or any other team in the organization — one thing that you will hear me saying a lot is — “thinking out loud…” and then proceed to verbally go through all the thoughts running through my head related to the problem at hand as we try to analyze and resolve it. …

Whenever there is a discussion about what role Product Managers play in an organization, the following Venn diagram seems to be close at hand:

Startups are hard.

There’s the frantic search for product/market fit and hiring the right team. Features and bug fixes are piling up in your backlog. There’s a feeling that there’s never enough time and resources to get it all done (not that it would matter, as it always seems that your to-do list grows exponentially as you add resources to your team). And finally , the urgency to get it all done before you run out of runway.

As your organization expands and chaos and madness ensue, hidden in plain sight, there’s a little speed-bump that can trip your team…

2018 turned out to be another great year with some fantastic reading where I kept exploring and learning about new subjects (climate change), reconnecting with old hobbies (close-up magic), preparing for new adventures (ultra running) and nurturing my mind and spirit (stoic philosophy).

Here’s a partial list of some of my favorite books of 2018. Hope you find some of them as much fun and engaging reading as I did.

For a little over a year, I’ve been, gradually, immersing myself into the readings and practices of the Stoic philosophy.

The Stoic philosophy was first developed in ancient Greece around 300 BC by Zeno. It came of age during the Roman empire, where three prominent Romans — Seneca, Emperor Nero’s tutor; Epictetus, a former slave and Rome’s very own emperor, Marcus Aurelius — wrote at large about their views on life, suffering and practices to forge a strong spirit that could survive the tumultuous challenges of their times.

Stoics believe that in order to live a happy, rich and fulfilling…

If you are a Product Manager and have worked at least at one startup, then I’m certain you are familiar with the concept of resource constraints, and the simple fact that there’s never enough time or resources (engineers, designers, testers, etc.) to get everything done on time.

In my experience, this is also an exponential problem. That being, no matter how many resources and/or time you have at your disposal, there’s always more to be done in less time than the resources you have available.

One thing that can exacerbate this problem is when you have multiple internal stakeholders with…

Diego Schmunis

Problem solver. Independent thinker & status quo slayer. Loving father & husband! Stoic, close up magic, 80’s music, books & fitness.

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