Weekly reads, week of June 13 2016

Product management

// The ability to find and prioritize low-effort-high-impact work diminishes as organizations mature. Many organizations tend to shift into prioritizing low-effort-low-impact work as a result, which rarely creates long-term value. Focus on high-effort-high-impact work, since this is where the value lies.

Why Amazon’s Echo is better to talk to than Siri by Chris Smith
// The Echo team is completely focused on building a great voice-only in-home assistant, allowing them not to have to worry about or prioritize mobility, UI, or a slew of other things that the Apple / Siri team has to consider. As a result, they’ve produced a great always-on, high responsive product with a great user experience.

Data and Tech

How bot-to-bot could soon replace APIs by Niko Nelissen
// Interesting hypothesis that bots (bot-to-bot and bot-to-bot-to-consumer), could be the next evolution from APIs. This would be heavily dependent on the advancement of technologies that this evolution would rely on of course (NLP, ML, AI, etc.)

Facebook’s DeepText has “near-human” understanding of people’s posts by Tim Peterson
// Accelerating the evolution of NLP by eschewing traditional methods in favor of a character-based method, which uses massive swaths of available data to learn from observed relationships between characters, context, and sentiment.

Business and Strategy

The inside story of Facebook’s biggest setback by Rahul Bhatia
// Many things went wrong here. One big lesson is to spend effort learning about your customers and their problems rather than imposing your solution on your perception of their problems.

Spotify’s Financial Results Reinforce Just How Broken the Music Business Is by Mathew Ingram
// Despite rampant growth and engagement, Spotify’s costs-to-serve may be too high for the company to reach profitability into the future. ‘Of every dollar that Spotify brings in the door in revenues, about 85 cents goes right back out the door again in the form of payments to the music industry.’

The Curse of Culture by Ben Thompson
// Couple notable quotes:
‘As with most such things, culture is one of a company’s most powerful assets right until it isn’t: the same underlying assumptions that permit an organization to scale massively constrain the ability of that same organization to change direction. More distressingly, culture prevents organizations from even knowing they need to do so.’ ‘Leadership is now the ability to step outside the culture that created the leader and to start evolutionary change processes that are more adaptive. This ability to perceive the limitations of one’s own culture and to evolve the culture adaptively is the essence and ultimate challenge of leadership.’

  1. 1. Product management
  2. 2. Data and Tech
  3. 3. Business and Strategy