in Products

My Product as an Equation

One of the most important things I learned when becoming a product manager was being able to see my product as an equation. In the startup phase it’s easy, there’s just costs and they’re often tangible: people, hardware, software. Then you add marketing in various forms each with a different cost/revenue profile, then revenue streams and revenue sharing, then business overhead in myriad forms, and so on.

Developing a mental model of this equation (particularly the more volatile variables) and designing with that equation in mind is a fun part of managing a product. Maybe writing it down and posting it on the wall would be an educational tool for the team?

  1. Of course it would. As would perhaps a more general form (on a different sort of wall) for the world (or a larger subset thereof)…

  2. Good analogy, Victor. I’d even go further to say that the equation you chose is your strategy. Robert Kaplan, of “balanced scorecard” fame, likens a strategy to an equation: the strategy can be expressed as a serious of IF-THEN statement (just like an equation). The Strategy Map approach makes this visible, not just for the strategy owner but for everyone on the team. So, yeah–make this an educational tool for all your coworkers. Communicating your product equation is as important as having one. Hear some of my thoughts on that:

  3. The next step being a way, perhaps, to evaluating the ROI of Design investment.

  4. interesting idea … so what does the equation look like … so far you have presented an idea with no particulars … share a few to put some meat on the idea

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