Weekly reads, week of July 18 2016

Product management

How A/B Testing at LinkedIn, Wealthfront and eBay Made Me a Better Manager interview with Elliot Shmukler
// A good synopsis of why testing of low-consequence decisions (Type 2) has a great cultural impact through enablement of learning and encouragement of diverse approaches to product management.

The brilliant mechanics of Pokémon Go by Matthew Lynley
// Very sticky and viral product driven by a great combination of variable rewards system, requirements to keep the game open, and unique gameplay driven by ever-changing environments produced by the users themselves.

Complexion Reduction: A New Trend In Mobile Design by Michael Horton
// Mobile design continues to simplify over time. This may be driven by the highly functional and specific usage of apps on mobile relative to desktop.

Business and Strategy

// Gillette’s multiplicative advantage of innovation X awareness X distribution eroded as innovation yielded increasingly diminishing marginal returns and as the costs of awareness and distribution declined enough to allow smaller businesses like DSC to compete. As far as the acquisition price is concerned, ‘but $1 billion for a 16% unit share of a market dominated by a brand that cost $57 billion is startlingly small’.

Dollar Shave Club: How Michael Dubin Created A Massively Successful Company and Re-Defined CPG by David Pakman
// The winning formula = (Price X Convenience)^Brand. Also interesting is Venrock’s thesis to ‘choose categories where incumbents only sell through retailers and have no direct relationship with their actual customers’

Medium lands biggest website yet by Tom Kludt
// Medium’s approach to publishing is a significant departure from that of Facebook, Google, and Amazon in that the company has positioned itself as a network for publishers rather than a publishing platform. This is reflected in Medium’s intent to enable publishers to derive value from allowing content to be hosted on the site.


The hedgehog and the fox
// The latest era of the hedgehog may be waning given the sheer number of technologies that have matured in recent times

Were There Aliens Before Us?
// As we gain greater certainty around more variables in the Drake equation, it becomes increasingly likely (almost guaranteed) that an advanced civilization has existed in the universe at some point in the universe’s history.

  1. 1. Product management
  2. 2. Business and Strategy
  3. 3. Perspectives