Monthly Archives: February 2014

Highlights from Product Camp London 2014

Product Camp is an unconference for product managers. There is no schedule, no keynote speaker, no list of hot topics prepared in advance. Instead, those who want to speak claim a spot, write their title on the board, and see who comes along.

Photo by @simoncast
Photo by @simoncast

Talks run simultaneously, so it’s impossible to see everything. These are my highlights of Product Camp London 2014. Continue reading Highlights from Product Camp London 2014

What doctors don’t know about the drugs they prescribe

This is the last week of one of the courses I’m studying through Coursera – Critical Thinking in Global Challenges. The final exam asked students to apply their critical thinking skills to the problem of publication bias in medicine. One of the sources we were asked to evaluate was this TED talk by Dr Ben Goldacre.

I make no secret of my admiration for Ben Goldacre. I loved his Guardian columns, and I think his book Bad Science is a must-read for anybody who aims to make evidence-based decisions. His campaigning for the the findings of all clinical trials to be reported, AllTrials, is commendable, and this TED talk explains why it matters so much.

Bonus: here’s an article from the NY Times on publication bias from 1999.


In his talk “The Future is not an Internet-connected Egg Box,” Alex Jones of Fjord highlighted one of the major gaps in thinking about the internet of things. We shouldn’t link every device to the internet just because we can. Instead, the act of connecting must add value to the experience of using the product. The human layer of the interaction is where meaning and value is added. We don’t need to hook up our egg box to the internet. We need to make connected products mean something to the people using them. In the white paper Product Relationship Management, Evrythng CEO Andy Hobsbawn sets out a clear and compelling vision of how to make that happen.

“It’s time for our physical products to be as clever as Google, as immediate as Twitter, as informative as Wikipedia, as social as Facebook, as useful as Evernote, as personal as Amazon, and as entertaining as YouTube.”


Five reasons to use gamification to market breakfast pastries. (part 2 of 2)

This is my answer for the first written assignment for the Gamification class I’m taking through Coursera. You can read the question in full here.

Provide as many reasons as you can why gamification could be a useful technique to apply to the situation your manager has presented to you. Explain why these reasons address the specific scenario provided. At this stage, focus on the problem rather than the solution. In other words, describe the goals of the project, not the particular game elements or other techniques you plan to use.

Why would gamification be useful in marketing a new line of breakfast pastries? I will outline five reasons.

Why use gamification to market breakfast pastries? (part 1 of 2)

This is the first written assignment for the Gamification class I’m taking through Coursera. I’ll publish my answer later this week.

Why use gamification to market breakfast pastries?

Project Part I: Definition

You are an employee of Cereals Incorporated, a large manufacturer of breakfast food products.  Your supervisor, Madison County, approaches you because she knows you recently took a course on gamification, which she has heard will revolutionize marketing.  She tells you that Cereals Inc. is about to release a new line of ready-to-eat breakfast pastries, and she wants to know whether to use gamification as part of the marketing strategy.  The breakfast pastries will be aimed at the 18-35 age bracket. Surveys show members of this demographic often skip breakfast because they don’t want to eat the typical cereals of their youth, and they are too active to cook their own breakfasts. 

Market research indicates that the pastries are likely to appeal more to women than men by a 65%-35% ratio. Cereals Inc. has a 35% share of the overall breakfast food market, but only a 10% share of the fragmented ready-to-eat segment.
Continue reading Why use gamification to market breakfast pastries? (part 1 of 2)

Games and Play

This is the latest in a series of posts relating to the Gamification class I’m taking through Coursera.

“A game is a series of meaningful choices” – Sid Meier

What is the difference between games and play? In broad terms, play is unrestrained, spontaneous, exuberant, whereas games are formal, structured, and driven towards outcomes. In lecture 2.3, Kevin Werbach discussed the work of Roger Callois, who drew the distinction between ludus – structured activities with explicit rules, i.e. games) – and paidia – unstructured and spontaneous activities, i.e. playfulness. You can read more about Callois and his ideas here.
Continue reading Games and Play

Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse – preview

I’m a huge fan of point and click adventure games, and one of my all-time favourites is Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars. I loved its beautiful art style, engaging gameplay and well-plotted story. The latest installment is Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse, which was part funded through Kickstarter. Episode 1 of the game was featured as Editor’s Choice in the Apple App Store last week, and as you might imagine, I downloaded it as soon as I found out. Expect a full review once I’ve played it through. In the meantime, here are a few juicy screenshots to whet your appetite.

Continue reading Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse – preview

The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences

Over the weekend, I finished reading The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences, by Matt Watkinson. It’s an invigorating and enlightening read, and if you’re interested in service design or product management, I think you’ll enjoy it.

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(image from

Matt Watkinson applies design thinking to the whole user experience. The book outlines a series of perspectives on how to make interacting with a business, product or service into a great experience for the customer. Continue reading The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences