This calendar year has been one of progress. In addition to launching Your Look at Nordstrom.com, I have the fun challenge of the front lines of retail disruption through leading a redesign of the Nordstrom Product Page across desktop, mobile web, and app.
My product philosophy is nuanced and difficult to summarize. Correspondingly, the same elements that make my product philosophy apophatic are the same that make it successful. My product philosophy is divergent. That is, my philosophy diverges from the expected.
Growing up hip-hop
The smoothest bridge to my perspectives on product development and strategies is hip-hop. As an up and coming emcee, I learned the process born out of taking something known, let’s say a record or an aphorism, and transforming it into something completely new and different.
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I am Mikal Lewis, a Seattle based Product Leader and entrepreneur. This blog focuses on the intersection of philosophy, design, and business strategy specifically as it relates to technology.
I strongly recommend Paul Graham’s Growth in its entirety. It highlights the phase every startup goes through whether inside a larger organization or an independent entity: The only essential thing is growth.
As it turns out, the tactics for what got us here are not the tactics to get us there. Continue reading “The Managing for Growth Toolkit”
Note: This list is largely skewed towards company founders.
Steve Jobs. Accomplishments: creating the home computing industry as well as the mobile era.
Learn about him: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli. Steve Jobs (Film); Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview (Documentary)
Steven Sinofsky. Accomplishments: implementing at scale a product development process with strategic integrity.
Learn about him: One Strategy by Steven Sinofsky.
Julie Larson-Green. (Office Ribbon)
Brett Taylor. Facebook Newsfeed.
For those learning the Product Management discipline, Inspired is one of the best books you can start with. However, don’t take the book literally, Marty Cagan offers some extremely hazardous guidance in advocating for high-fidelity prototypes as the only means of shipping software: Continue reading “Your codebase is the best prototype”
We write to think
We write because you don’t know what you know
We write because it’s the only way to onboard others on your thoughts
Temporal knowledge vs durable knowledge
If you want to predict a competitors future moves, look at their leadership team’s previous moves.
This is summarized in a simple maxim I learned from Ben Gilad at the Academy for Competitive Intelligence:
Leaders repeat the strategies and tactics that get them promoted until those strategies and tactics get them fired.
Every discipline and domain has foundational texts. These texts are oft cited and under read.
They represent the dominant philosophy of the domain. For example in business: Innovator’s Dilemma, Crossing the Chasm, and Strategy books by Michael Porter.
Everyone cites their superficial perspectives. To be an expert in your domain you have to read the foundational texts. No matter how dense no matter how boring. You have to have a perspective. Otherwise you don’t have a point of view ok the foundations of your own domain and are suceptable to colleagues’ sophistry built upon misinterpretations.