How simple products are powerful and disruptive

Several years ago, I read a great disruptive innovation case study by Dimitri Tarasowski. The study explains the Atlassian acquisition of Trello, the power of simple products, and filling the vacuum of innovation.

I liked the concept. So I created a presentation about it! And shared it with my teams at work. I even filled an innovation vacuum myself. More on that later.

What is the Vacuum of Innovation?

There are many companies that build fancy products. They build big, complex, full-featured products. They are always building new features to capture new and bigger customers. And bigger customers want bigger, more robust, more advanced products. Eventually…

Analogy of unintended side effects.

You probably see electric scooters everywhere, if you live in a major city. They are a disruptive transportation. Scooters in a city are an analogy, like a feature in a digital product. Adding scooters, or features, produces unintended side effects.

Scooters parked on a sidewalk

Scooter Benefits

Scooters are great for saving 5 minutes. Need to walk a few blocks? Now you can ride a scooter instead, up to 15 miles per hour. They’re fun. They get you there quick.

Most everyone can ride them. Flipflops, boots, heels, pants, dresses, skirts, suits. Doesn’t matter. They require little balance and little coordination. Only a smartphone and quick onboarding…

minimalism & meditation over managers & meetings

Jason Fried tells us to go Easy on the M&Ms. He’s talking about managers and meetings. This (and his Remote chapter, and TED talk) got me thinking about a better flavor of M&Ms: minimalism and meditation. These new M&Ms are a provocative counter to managers and meetings.

M&Ms candy as an abbreviation, and simile, for managers & meetings. Don’t eat too many.

In summary, Fried explains that meetings and managers interrupt productivity. Meetings break up the day. They communicate too little information for too large a time investment. Managers disturb the workday with frequent checkins and status updates. And they are the ones that schedule meetings. It’s a bad cycle. Business should go easy on…

how local coffee shops help beyond caffeination before work

Coffee shops are magical places

Fundamentally, they are spots to caffeinate and enjoy delicious pastries. Many offer much more. Coffee shops are places to be productive and collaborate on side projects. They are places to socialize and meet new people. Most have plenty of seating, plugs to charge your laptop, and wifi. They are open before business offices. They have wonderful ambiance that gets creative ideas flowing.

typical morning setup with notes, laptop, and coffee

How it started

My infatuation with coffee shops started last year. My friend Brandon Fancher and I started meeting at our local coffee shop before our day jobs. We worked on a crytocurrency side project. This started as a weekly routine…

A few approachable resources for digital PMing.

Sometimes people ask me how to get into digital product management. This happens at meetups, or through friends and colleagues. I usually share some resources and chat over coffee. I thought I’d share my regular response.

It goes something like this:

You want to be a product manager? That’s great! It’s rewarding and enjoyable. But I’m a bit biased, because it’s what I do everyday. It’s a cool combination of design, tech, and business.

a product manager writing feedback on stick notes

Product (quick videos)

The #1 product management resource that I recommend is this online class. It’s the one my mentor gave to me. …

get started, advance your career, collaborate, and stay inspired

Side projects are a great way to exercise creativity, meet new friends, and advance your career. They can make you happier, healthier, and more productive. They are easier to start than you may think.

What’s a side project?

A side project is usually a creative or learning endeavor that has some sort of output. This could be blogging, selling your paintings online, creating a software app that solves a problem, writing a book, podcasting, making candles, recording a music album, giving advice on gardening, speaking at local meetups, etc.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Simon Sinek’s TED Talk explains how certain people and organizations are more innovative, influential, and profitable than others. It’s because they start with why, over what. They focus on why they do what they do — their mission, vision, and beliefs. Not what — not the actual product, service, or feature.

Simon Sinek — How great leaders inspire action— Start with why

Every business owner, marketer, designer, product strategist, and app builder should consider Sinek’s why framework. Use why as a tool for growth. A compelling why attracts others that agree with your cause.

Why helps determine whether the driver for your business, or app idea, has a strong vision, with…

Blockchain? Cryptography? Decentralized? Fiat? Wallets? Mining?

This is the bitcoin and blockchain introduction I wish I read months ago. There are lots of terms to understand. And how they fit together.

I learned about bitcoin from my good friend Brandon Fancher. His initial explanation led me to more questions. So I Googled, YouTubed, Wikipedia-ed and wanted to learn more.

I signed up for’s 10-day email course. I highly recommend the course. This article is heavily paraphrased from that course.

So read this for an introduction. Subscribe to the email course yourself. Then download their wallet. And get started with bitcoin!

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency

A learning experience over morning coffee

We all keep hearing about bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrency. It’s fascinating technology with a great mission. Decentralized, borderless, peer-to-peer. It has potential to disrupt traditional financial systems.

Coffee reading: Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System by Satoshi Nakamoto

My good friend, Brandon Fancher, and I got interested in late 2016.

We read Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper. We watched YouTube videos by Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, Jimmy Song, and Roger Ver. We bought some Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum… and some regrettable altcoins. We explored developer technologies. We wanted to contribute, and build something in the space.


Our inspiration came from trying many wallets and exchanges. Most missed good design. We didn’t…

original post on the MapAnything blog

As the “Where” company, MapAnything helps companies understand where their business is, and where it needs to be. Let’s take that a step further…wouldn’t it also be helpful to know, not only where your customers are, but also what are they saying about you?

As a product manager at MapAnything, I’m always exploring innovative ways for our clients to visualize the “where” of their data. So, how can MapAnything put the “where” in your customer’s social interactions? With the help of Twitter and Zapier, of course!

So, why do it?

A few use cases to consider:

  • Call Center

Joseph Guerra

Digital Product Manager. Interested in blockchain, motorbikes, and painting.

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