Development & Culture
Malcolm Ong | Entrepreneur-in-Residence | @malcolmcasey
2. About myself
3. How do we get from
Product to Business?
1. Who: Leadership
2. Why & What: Vision & Focus
3. How: Product-centric Team Culture
4. I. Leadership
5. “Product Management is not babysitting. It’s a
leadership role. It’s about driving a product by taking
ownership and making decisions. ”
Dir. Product Development, Eastmedia
1. Product Leadership
6. 1. Set the Product Vision
- Ensure that everyone on your team knows and
agrees with where you’re headed
2. Instill a Product-centric Culture early
- Start now and develop as team grows
- Deliver simple and creative solutions, despite
- Get things done and ship with focus.
Product Lead (you!)
7. II. Vision & Focus
8. “It doesn’t matter how good your engineering team
is if they are not given something worthwhile to
“Getting a bunch of smart people together only
gets you so far. As a product grows, more and
more possible directions will present themselves. A
strong product vision is what will allow the team to
properly prioritize and focus on the right things.”
Head of Product, foursquare
9. Company Vision
“If we had to rebuild education from the ground-up, what would it
Democratize education and empower anyone to teach.
Product Vision: what problem are you solving?
“Education” provides little value for allowing people to learn what
they want at an aﬀordable price.
Community marketplace to learn anything from anyone.
Deﬁne your Product Vision
10. MLP = desirable* w/ personality**
- desirable: “providing an insanely great product experience and
creating value for the end user”
- personality: a voice, a mission, stand for something
* source: Andrew Chen
** source: Fred Wilson
Focus on validating your vision
11. “This can be as simple as going to a meetup for dog
lovers if you're building out a dog application, or
visiting the doctor 3x in one month to talk to them
about how they ﬁle share and send x-rays out online.
I won’t ever be an MD, but I can use my computer
Former Product Lead, drop.io
Get out of the building
12. Is your product a must-have?
- what % of people would be very disappointed if they could no
longer use it? (40%*)
Is your product a 0-to-1 or a 1-to-2?
- diﬀerence between a product and a business
Why won’t your idea work?
(e.g. only “teachers” can teach; you have to have a degree to
What are 3 solutions to address these gaps?
(e.g. work with people with no teacher training and teach them)
* source: Sean Ellis
Get feedback & Iterate
13. The greatest cost to a startup
Most startups fail because
they create the wrong
product for the wrong market.
14. source: Sean Ellis
15. “Make something
- Alexis Ohanian
16. III. Product Culture
17. PayPal Maﬁa
18. 1. Extreme focus & bias to action.
2. Dedication to individual accomplishment.
3. Refusal to accept constraints, external or internal.
4. Radical transparency on metrics.
5. Vigorous debate.
Culture @ PayPal
19. “It’s not about ideas.
It’s about making ideas happen.”
- Extreme focus & simplicity
- Action oriented (e.g. Action Meetings)
- Done is better than perfect
- Solutions, not problems
- Over-communicate (transparency)
- Set audacious goals
Culture @ Skillshare
20. “Much more important than working hard is knowing
how to ﬁnd the right thing to work on.”
Co-Founder, ﬂickr & Hunch
21. "People think focus means saying yes to the
thing you've got to focus on. But that's not
what it means at all. It means saying no to
the 100 other good ideas that there are."
- Steve Jobs, Apple
22. source: Ash Maurya
Done is better than perfect
23. source: Ash Maurya
Done is better than perfect
24. 1. Align Product Vision
Goal: get everyone on the same page
This can be done through a strategic brief or brainstorming session
Annually, Quarterly, Monthly
2. Product Sprint
Goal: deﬁne 1-2 things that need to get done w/ measures of success
Identify owners and milestones. Don’t micro-manage.
3. Horizon List
Goal: features, ideas, etc that will be implemented in the future
Product Process @ Skillshare