On specialization

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, coöperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

— Robert Heinlein


HBR: Being early beats being better

The goal should be to get to market as quickly as possible with a product that customers will keep. If early customers abandon your product, that could erase the value of a first-mover advantage, but if your early adopters keep the product, there’s a good chance that will lead more customers to adopt it. And that dynamic, more than the technical features of the product, is what determines who wins

Source: HBR, June 2014 issue, Henrich R. Greve is a professor of entrepreneurship at INSEAD, and Marc-David L. Seidel is an associate professor of organizational behavior at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.


Lead with “why”

From Bruce Temkin’s blog:

Lead with why. Most corporate communications focus on “what” and “how,” telling people what needs to be done and how they should accomplish it. This command and control pattern may elicit short-term compliance, but it’s efficacy decays quickly and it loses value completely when situations change and the “how” no longer applies. Leaders need to elicit buy-in from people by starting communications with “why,” explaining the reason that something is important to the company and to the people who are being asked to do something. To fully empower people, share “why” a goal is important and “what” success looks like and leave it up to the individuals to figure out “how” to make it happen.


Focus on what matters

Came across this quote today, likely others have seen it before, but it captures some great thinking:

Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don’t turn out – take another shot.


Strategy, the Roger Martin way

Strategy is the answer to five questions:

  • what is our winning aspiration
  • where will we play
  • how will we win
  • what capabilities need to be in place; and
  • what management systems must be instituted?
Product Management

Steve Jobs on product design

Designing a product is keeping five thousand things in your brain and fitting them all together in new and different ways to get what you want.

Jobs and Careers

Heading back to UX

I’m back to work after a couple weeks of vacation. And with the new year comes some changes.

In December I had the fortunate experience of having a number of great career opportunities put in front of me. In the end I decided to make a move back to UX. Starting January 21, 2014, I’ll be joining Yellow Pencil as Director, User Experience and Design. I’ve known the some of the team at Yellow Pencil for some time, and am super excited to help lead and grow their Vancouver office and user experience practice, and work with this talented group of people. I’m also expecting to be a root cause of a dramatic increase in their skittles output given my love of candy 🙂

Over my almost 4 years at Central 1 I’ve enjoyed a rewarding career filled with opportunities to work with diverse teams and clients on a number of great initiatives. It’s been a great product to come back and oversee and I’m proud of the contributions to this direct banking offering that powers over 300+ financial institutions in Canada. I’ve also had a chance to grow my team from 3 to 8 people, all the while trying hard to grow them in their careers as well. I truly have a great team that will be missed.


New Year’s Resolutions – 2014

Here’s my 2014 resolutions:

A guideline: smile more

A smile makes a better introduction and keeps you positive. Can’t go wrong with this.

A lifestyle change: eat more vegetarian and in moderation

I love food, but food does not love me at times. With a carnivore wife and son, finding a balance can be hard, but I always feel better when I eat less and slanted heavily towards veg.

An achievable milestone: 2-hour half marathon, get back playing with a band

My son called me out on this while we were on holidays in Europe telling me I should “get back at it”. Friends too have been pushing, especially my good friend who saw me play last May in Portland at a bar.


A look back at 2013

Coming into 2013 I made three resolutions. Here’s how I progressed with each of them:

A guideline: listen more, talk less

I felt I made some good progress here. Feedback from others was that I seemed more patient and that I was giving them the room they needed. That said, this might come back as more of a permanent guideline, than a one off experiment for the a year.

A lifestyle change: more running

I did ok here, but no where near what I hoped. Overall my RunKeeper app notes a total distance of 775.1km and a total time of 74 hours, 6 minutes in my shoes.

RunKeeper for 2013

My running dropped off dramatically in the later part of 2013 due to work commitments and my wife’s busy work travel schedule. That of course led me to look for new work at Yellow Pencil where work/life balance could be better.

I’ll have to improve here in 2014 as not running sucked.

An achievable milestone: run a half marathon or two

I did the BMO half in May with a time of 2:10, and the Fall Classic out at UBC in November with a time of 2:18. BMO I was on a path to 2:00 but a lack of water in the last 4km killed me. UBC was fine, but the lack of training made for a much different race than May’s race.

Next year, hoping for more miles and maybe a 2:00 half.

Product Management

Product Management at Central 1 Credit Union

highres_258439212I had the pleasure of speaking last night at the inaugural Product Management meetup here in Vancouver. For those interested, here’s a copy of my presentation on Product Management at Central 1. Thanks so much for all the great questions and positive feedback on my presentation.