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LWOW 2016
Product management –
what makes or breaks a
startup
Anna Ronkainen 2016-01-17
Chief Scientist*, TrademarkNow
@ronkaine
*+co-founder,formerheadofproduct
What is product
management?
Product management – what makes or breaks a startup
Product management – what makes or breaks a startup
Product management = figuring out...
-  what the product is and what it is for
-  who the product is for
-  the competitive landscape
-  what goes and doesn’t go into the product
-  evaluating the product to make sure it does
what it is supposed to (and users love it)
-  what to do and when (“product roadmap”)
-  how to build it (with development/mfg)
-  how to sell it (with marketing and sales)
90% of product management
work can be automated...
Our latest product management hire
can handle all this:
“Can we get feature x?”
“But y would buy our
product if we had
feature x!”
“Our competitor z has
feature x!”
...but it’s the 10% (that you
actually decide to do) that
makes or breaks a company
So, how to do it
?
1. Be your own customer:
build products for yourself
For aspiring legal
entrepreneurs,
it can make a lot of
sense to first get a
“normal” legal job to
figure out where the
pain points are...
2. Become your own customer:
listen, learn, empathize
Listen to your customers, but remember
that they don’t have (all) the answers!
“If I had asked people what they
wanted, they would have said
faster horses.”
– commonly attributed to Henry Ford
(possibly apocryphal)
Remember what your actual product is
Start small:
Minimum viable cake
Final words of advice
-  find a specific problem worth addressing
-  figure out who your customer is (maybe
even sketch a user persona or two?)
-  get out of the building!
-  validate your assumptions!
-  believe in your product...
-  ...but don’t be afraid to change course if it
turns out you’re on the wrong path
Thank you!

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Product management – what makes or breaks a startup

  • 1. LWOW 2016 Product management – what makes or breaks a startup Anna Ronkainen 2016-01-17 Chief Scientist*, TrademarkNow @ronkaine *+co-founder,formerheadofproduct
  • 5. Product management = figuring out... -  what the product is and what it is for -  who the product is for -  the competitive landscape -  what goes and doesn’t go into the product -  evaluating the product to make sure it does what it is supposed to (and users love it) -  what to do and when (“product roadmap”) -  how to build it (with development/mfg) -  how to sell it (with marketing and sales)
  • 6. 90% of product management work can be automated...
  • 7. Our latest product management hire can handle all this: “Can we get feature x?” “But y would buy our product if we had feature x!” “Our competitor z has feature x!”
  • 8. ...but it’s the 10% (that you actually decide to do) that makes or breaks a company
  • 9. So, how to do it ?
  • 10. 1. Be your own customer: build products for yourself
  • 11. For aspiring legal entrepreneurs, it can make a lot of sense to first get a “normal” legal job to figure out where the pain points are...
  • 12. 2. Become your own customer: listen, learn, empathize
  • 13. Listen to your customers, but remember that they don’t have (all) the answers! “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – commonly attributed to Henry Ford (possibly apocryphal)
  • 14. Remember what your actual product is
  • 16. Final words of advice -  find a specific problem worth addressing -  figure out who your customer is (maybe even sketch a user persona or two?) -  get out of the building! -  validate your assumptions! -  believe in your product... -  ...but don’t be afraid to change course if it turns out you’re on the wrong path