I know, I know. It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted here. And, in the spirit of every other well meaning blogger who just hasn’t found the time to stay as up to date as their blogging fantasies would like them to be, I too am resolving to do more of this in 2012…assuming the world doesn’t end, of course.
In the meantime, you can still find me posting on Lalawag on a semi-regular basis, as well as on Twitter, Tumblr and my newest obsession — Pinterest. Wherever I am, I’m always under the same name: mollierosev. So look me up, say hi and stay tuned. In 2012, I really do resolve to post more here. Provided I can tear myself away from Pinterest, of course.
This post was originally published on Women 2.0
Think of building a website like building a house.
There’s the engineers, who are akin to construction workers, actually putting the nuts and bolts of the structure together. The site’s designers are like decorators, making sure the house looks and feels put together and polished. And, the marketing team are the real estate agents, making sure the house attracts buyers — or, users — and driving up the house’s value as much as possible.
But, before any of that can happen, there has to be an architect. A person with the vision to plan the house out from studs to ceiling, and the project management skills to make that vision a reality. When building a website, that person is the Product Manager.
A lot of people don’t know exactly what a Product Manager does. Which is understandable, because a good Product Manager tends to do a little bit of everything. They’re involved in planning the site from a technical perspective, figuring out which features to pursue and which ones to punt on. They often wireframe the site, laying out all the elements according to the best practices of user experience,information architecture and the like.
And, since they know the product most intimately, they often tend to help out with marketing the site, speaking directly to users via copy and collateral, and helping the executive team formulate a strategic vision for the future.
A great Product Manager, like Google’s Marissa Mayer, Hunch’s Caterina Fake and Quora’s Sandra Liu Huang, has their hands in every little bit of the product – whether it’s the on-site experience or the way the product is presented at a conference or marketed in an ad. This is why you often see great Product Managers, like Marissa Mayer, go on to become great executives.
Product Managers are the ultimate advocates of the product — and by extension, the end user — above all else. And, like a great architect, they’ll fight tooth and nail to protect the integrity of the overall product vision.
That means that a typical Product Manager’s day might include everything from a business development meeting to a problem solving session with engineers. She could be looking at the birds’ eye view of the big picture one minute and conducting a microscopic examination of a single line of broken code the next.BusinessWeek detailed seminal Google Product Manager Marissa Mayer’s daily schedule which illustrates this point perfectly.
She jumps from design to business development, engineering to recruiting, all within a given day. That’s the beauty of being a Product Manager. You never get bored, because you’re never doing the same thing long enough to be. And, like an architect, you truly get to be involved with every step of the building process, from vision to execution.
Unlike an architect however, there’s no official schooling path to become a Product Manager. Well-known Product Managers come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Marissa Mayer and Leah Culver started off on the engineering side. Caterina Fake started her career as Art Director at Salon.com and she majored in English at Vassar. Sandra Liu Huang studied Economics and Management. I studied Film and Media and pre-law before helping to launch Ranker.com, which kickstarted my own career as a Product Manager.
Google has an Associate Product Manager role designed to help ease new graduates into the Product Manager position. But, if you’re not one of the lucky few to make it into that program, there are many other ways to become a product manager.
The best place to start is to begin developing your knowledge of the core competencies required of a good product manager:
- the best practices of user experience
- the basic tenets of website design
- a working knowledge of web development
These are not skills you necessarily need to learn in a classroom. There are plenty of online resources to get you started. A few great places to begin include Smashing Magazine, Stanford’s Engineering Everywhere Program, the Usability Professionals’ Association and Jakob Nielsen’s Useit.com. There are also some fantastic books out there, like Steve Krug’s user experience bible Don’t Make Me Think and Marty Cagan’s Inspired.
No matter how you choose to do your research, successful product managers all agree — the best way to become one of them is to take all that research and apply it to as many products and projects as possible. So go find a great idea and do your best to turn it into a great product.
The worst thing that can happen is that you walk away with the kinds of lessons you need to turn yourself into a great product manager, and your next product into a great success.
This post was originally published on Lalawag.
Halloween is less than a week away, which means it’s time to start stringing the cobwebs and stocking up on the candy.
Of course, most boys and ghouls start thinking about Halloween well in advance. In fact, according to Google, U.S. searches that include the term ‘Halloween’ start to really take off around mid-September. And that’s not the only fun fact Google Insights has to offer about All Hallow’s Eve. In fact, Google Insights offers all sorts of trivia treats about the holiday, and enjoying them won’t even give you cavities — unless your name happens to be Bing.
- Based on data from the last 90 days, LA ranks #1 in search volume for the term ‘Halloween’. In laymen’s terms, that means that lately, us Angelenos have been a whole lot more Halloween-obsessed than folks in other U.S. cities.
- Interestingly, California as a whole ranks tenth when it comes to ranking the popularity of the term ‘Halloween’ on a state by state basis. West Virginia takes the top spot on that list.
- Within the LA area, Lancaster, Temecula and Victorville are the top three regions with the most interest in Halloween — at least in terms of Google searches.
- Over the last 90 days, the top five most popular searches around the term ‘Halloween’ have been ’costumes’, ‘Halloween costumes’, ‘Halloween costume,’ ‘Halloween 2011′ and ‘Halloween ideas’, in that order.
- In Los Angeles, the top five most popular searches related to the term ‘Halloween’ have been almost exactly the same, except that ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ takes the fifth spot. Of course, with Universal Studios in our backyard, that’s about as surprising as a ghost saying ‘boo’.
The numbers come from a MoneyTree report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, using data from Thomson Reuters. The report also showed an $829.47M total for Q2 2011.
According to SocalTech, “In terms of industries, Software gained the most investments with a total of $165.7M invested, followed by Industrial/Energy–boosted by many clean technology investments–at $135.92M. Other large investment sectors were Biotechnology, with $65.8M invested, and Medical Devices, with $63.6M. On the other side, the most active firms investing in Southern California were DFJ Frontier, New Enterprise Associates, and the Tech Coast Angels, all with four deals each in the quarter; they were followed by 500 Startups, Siemer Ventures, Google Ventures, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, all of whom had three deals each.”
Conversely though, the LA Times recently reported a significant drop in third quarter venture capital fundraising. “Venture capitalists, thrashed by months of bad economic news, are scrambling to find investors after pulling together the smallest pot of money in eight years,” the LA Times said. “Firms raised $1.7 billion in the third quarter — less than half the $3.5 billion collected in the same period last year and the lowest amount since the third quarter of 2003, said the National Venture Capital Assn.”
Nationally, the numbers are also trending downward. According to SoCalTech “Nationally, venture capital was down 12 percent in terms of dollars, and 14 percent in terms of deals, dropping to $6.96 billion across 876 deals, compared with Q2, when $7.9 billion was invested in 1,015 deals.”
But hey, at least now we can all read the not-so-sunny economic forecasts from our new iPhone 4S’s. And, with $165.7M going into software development, it shouldn’t be too long before those phones can read our news to us — while also toasting a bagel and brewing up a cup of coffee to go with it, of course.
During my time at Cooking.com, I’ve worked with amazing clients, gotten a crash course in E-commerce 101, spec’d an entire mobile website and even gotten to try bacon, peanut butter and chocolate cookies. I’ve had the privilege of working with amazing colleagues and making wonderful friends. And, I’ve learned a very important lesson about myself.
As much as I enjoy regular sleep and a steady routine, in my heart, I’m truly a start-up kind of a girl. There’s just something about the energy and excitement of building a product from the ground up that just clicks for me. God help me — and the bags under my eyes — but I love that startup pace and passion.
Which is why I’ve accepted a Product Manager position at BetterWorks, where I’ll be starting on Monday. I can’t say enough how much I believe in the product they’ve built thus far. And, I couldn’t be more excited about joining such an intelligent, innovative team. Between the concept and the creative energy of the folks building it, I see huge potential for the BetterWorks product, and I’m psyched to have the opportunity to help contribute to it.
Of course, I’m sorry to leave Cooking.com. I’m so proud of everything I’ve helped to build there, and I truly believe in the strength of the team I’m leaving behind. I love what we’ve done together, and I know they’ll continue to do great things once I’m gone.
That said, I’m extremely excited about this next step in my career. I know it will be a challenge and an adventure, and I can’t wait to get started. Wish me luck!
The event, termed MobileHackDays LA, is set to kick off on Friday September 16, with a session where aspiring developers will do five minute pitches of their mobile app ideas to attract team members for the weekend’s festivities. Of course, pre-determined teams are also allowed to enter.
Once the teams are finalized, hacking kicks off at 9AM on Saturday the 17th. As the MobileHackDays website says, “This will be the day you get the majority of your coding complete. We suggest you focus on doing 1 or 2 things really well to demonstrate your concept, as time is limited. This also depends on the size and experience level of your team, but just don’t try to throw in the kitchen sink in a weekend.” Starting at 10AM on Sunday, teams will demo what they built Saturday, answer a few minutes of Q&A and have their work judged for the chance to win a $500 cash prize, face time with seasoned investors and a feature on the MobileHackDays homepage. Plus, plenty of glory of course.
According to a press release posted on the LA PHP Meetup group, #MobileHackDays is “A three-day, no-holds-barred, almost no rules event [...] This won’t be your normal hackathon, it’s going to have a true LA flair and high energy, we’ll have all the normal components, beer, developers, VC’s, etc; but also Juice bar, Masseuse for tired coders, a film crew filming for a startup internet show [...] think of this as the “luxury hackathon.”
The whole thing takes place at The Aviation Room at 3400 Airport Ave. Bldg D in Santa Monica.Tickets are selling out at about $75 each on the lower end, but there’s still room for a few more UI/UX designers, VIP teams, engineers, developers and more. For more info check out theMobileHackDays site.
This post was originally published on Lalawag.
Last night, Twitter clocked a record 8,868 tweets per second. The cause of the big bump? A baby bump. R&B singer Beyonce’s baby bump to be exact, which she revealed at 10:35PM ET during the MTV Video Music Awards.
The awards, which took place at the Nokia Theater here in sunny Los Angeles, also set a record for MTV. According to TechCrunch, the network “also saw record online viewership of the event, with 2.3 million video streams for the day. MTV reports that on Sunday, MTV.com attracted its biggest VMA day audience ever (nearly 2 million), while MTV’s mobile site scored its biggest day ever, including 2.7 million mobile views. MTV.com also had its highest level of referrals from Twitter ever on Sunday and it was ‘the most social VMA day ever,’ according to the network.”
TechCrunch also had some interesting stats to put that Twitter record into perspective. For example, prior to Beyonce’s record-breaking reveal, the US Women’s Soccer Team held the tweets/second record, with 7,196 tweets sent per second during their July game against Japan. Osama Bin Laden’s assassination also caused a tweets/second spike, capping out at 5,106. During the royal wedding, almost 23 million viewers tuned in on TV’s worldwide. That caused a spike of 3,966 tweets/second.
It’s interesting to see how symbiotic Twitter and these live television events are now. In the course of a few short years, it’s become hard to imagine a moment like Beyonce’s big reveal happening without a chorus of Twitter reactions blowing up in the background. Sure, the Britney and Madonna kiss went viral — by 2003 standards. In this day and age, it may very well have brought down the internet. Or at least the Twitter stream.
Not to get too academic about it, but personally, I love that the world can — to an extent — experience these events together. Sure, Beyonce’s pregnancy isn’t exactly world-changing news of sociopolitical import. But, it’s a shared topic of conversation and maybe, just maybe, that conversation can be a conduit to connection and engagement across global, political and ideological boundaries. Sort of like the Golden Arches theory with hashtags instead of hash browns. Twitter — over 200 million served…so far.