PuttMate : Gravity-Powered Putting Ramp

 

Perfect your 5-foot putt with PuttMate. This is a new product that helps golfers of all levels perfect their short putt. Place the ball 2.5 feet from the front of the ramp–about the length of your putter–and PuttMate’s half-sized hole emulates a 5 foot putt. If you miss, PuttMate’s unique design guides it right back to you, without the power cables and without the noise of conventional putting devices. And when you make it, PuttMate stores up to 6 golf balls, keeping things nice and tidy for the home or office.

How can I get a PuttMate putting ramp?

Request Loaner : $5

Send your street address to matt at dyor dot com, and I will mail you a PuttMate so that you can try it in the comfort of your own home or office.*

Purchase Prototype : $20

Email your street address to matt at dyor dot com, and I will send you payment instructions and get a hot-off-the-3D-printer PuttMate in the mail for you.

Pre-Order : $20

Pre-order a production-grade PuttMate. I am planning to get an injection mold built for PuttMate, and I think that runs about $10,000. The more pre-orders I get, the quicker I will pull the trigger on making the injection mold.

Investment Options : $50 and up (hypothetical)

If you are interested in investing in PuttMate, check out our hypothetical investment round. If you are interested, you can request to be notified should I open up an actual investment round.

Tell me what you think of PuttMate.

*If I do not know you, I may ask for you to purchase a prototype, and I can refund your money when you get the prototype back to me.

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What is a Product Manager?

There are a lot of great posts about what a product manager is (like here and here), but there is only one problem: none of them say the same thing, because there is no globally accepted definition of the role. In some organizations, a product manager keeps the trains running on time, in others the product manager is “CEO of the product”, and in others the product manager is the voice of the customer.

One thing that most product managers (and organizations that employ product managers) agree on is that data beats opinion, so I decided to put together a highly scientific test to figure out what a product manager really is, as defined by the “customer” that is buying product managers. In other words, I grabbed a couple dozen product manager job postings from LinkedIn, selected  9 high-quality postings (well written, specific requirements, clear scope), and then identified common features present in posting. This experiment was far from perfect, but I did see some patterns that I found interesting.

So without further ado, here is a visualization of the data:

Product Manager Features

The most interesting point to me: no job feature was required by more than 2/3 of these product management jobs. Other interesting points:

  • Most companies want experience managing the product roadmap, from “Define, develop and communicate the product roadmap” to “You have experience in creating product roadmaps that are focused on achieving business goals” to “Own the roadmap, influence product and technology strategy and direction (roadmap).” Fun fact: I bet no 2 companies agree on what a good product roadmap is:)
  • Product management experience is typically expected, and 5 years experience seems to be a sweet spot.
  • Continuous customer discovery / voice of the customer was common, but not universally explicitly required, which I find crazy. If I was to pick one attribute that a solid product manager needs, it is an obsession with the customer. Product management experience you can acquire (everybody starts somewhere), and skills like building product roadmaps can be learned, but a lack of focus on the customer seems like it should be a non-starter.

One job feature that I found interesting in its absence was DevOps. I have a hunch that as customer / product feedback loops get tighter, the product manager is going to need to get closer to the DevOps process. Knowing how to get an experiment/feature into the wild and ready to gather data on whether it is working, and gathering this data as quickly as possible (and either double down or revise) seems like a natural experience to demand of your product manager. I am not saying that product managers will drive DevOps, but they should be familiar with it…where a feature is in the release process, when it is live (and for whom), etc.  But, alas, I am on the outside here, and not one job description mentioned anything about DevOps. Five of the postings did mention Agile, which in combination with DevOps, form the foundation of the feedback loops, so perhaps it is just assumed some familiarity with how features get operationalized and released to the wild is part of the product manager’s bag of tricks.

Let me know if anything jumps out at you, or if you have opinions that diverge from this highly scientific study. 🙂

Thanks.

Matt

 

Ps-here is the text associated with the graphic above:

Roadmap Development 6
Continuous Customer Discovery 6
Product Management Experience 6
Excellent Written & Oral Communications 6
Analytics/Data Driven 6
Bachelors Degree ++ 5
Agile Expertise 5
Strategy/Market Requirements 5
Project Management 4
Dev/Sales/Marketing Bridge 4
Business Planning 4
Technical Expertise 3
Proven PM Capabilities 3
Detailed product/business requirements 3
User Acceptance Testing 3
Backlog Management 3
Deliver V1 (version one) 3
Trendspotter 2
Public Speaking 2
User Experience 2
Roadmap Execution 2
Go to Market 2
Creative 2
Influence, Relationships and Teamwork 2
Stakeholder Management 1
Product Marketing 1
AB Testing 1
Team Management 1
New Product Pitches 1

 

Product Roadmaps (and Product Managers) Discussion

Just listened to a good podcast from Janna Bastow on building product roadmaps. In 24 minutes, here is what you will here:

  • Start with what problem are you solving and for whom.
  • 2 sources of input for roadmap
    1. Top down product management: vision + objectives + big steps
    2. Bottom up approach: conversations with customers, team, competitors – in the trenches.
  • Challenge – dealing with tons of data from customer, prioritizing, and communicating
  • How to address getting input from the team into the product plan: product tree game
    • Innovation Games was the inspiration
    • Put people from multiple disciplines in a room and put a huge tree on the white board
      • Trunk represents the core – foundation
      • Infrastructure is represented by the roots.
      • Ideas are the branches.
      • Have a bunch of post it notes and put them on the tree
  • Separate release plan (2-4 weeks out) from roadmap to give you agility – roadmaps do not have dates.
  • 3-6 months out for roadmap is reasonable for an immature product; 2 weeks is sprint for them. 
  • Roadmap should not be a set of features; distill out the higher level meaning of the features into more meaningful themes.
  • Every product should have objectives and metrics – but how do you measure the effectiveness of a product manager? Who knows:)
  • Is the HIPPO hijacking the roadmap? Stakeholder management and saying no are critical skills for a product manager.
  • Who else is doing interesting work in the product management thought space? Nate Walkingshaw, CXO at Pluralsight https://www.pluralsight.com/blog/career/product-development-directed-discovery