Category Archives: market research

Building a Product Culture

Product Tank is the monthly meeting for Product Managers, hosted by Mind The Product. This month’s event was curated by James Mayes.

Organisational culture is the shared values, beliefs and behaviours of an organisation. When you tell a new colleague, “This is the way we do things around here,” you’re talking about company culture. It’s not about having having table football or ping pong in your office, cool though that is, but about how your company operates, and how it is perceived. Product Tank March was about implementing and building a Product Culture: a solid product culture can lead your company to build better products faster.

Photo by flickr user dumbledad
Photo by flickr user dumbledad

Continue reading Building a Product Culture

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.

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)

Gamification with Dr Kevin Werbach

I’ve enrolled in a short course about Gamification. It’s run by Kevin Werbach of the University of Pennsylvania, and I’m studying online via Coursera.

What is gamification? It can be difficult to pin down the definition of a fast-evolving phenomenon, because it changes so quickly. But let’s try. Right now, in the context explored by this short course, gamification is the use of game elements in non-game contexts to engage users or change behaviour.

By non-game contexts we mean, simply, not as part of a traditional game. What kind of game elements are we talking about? Continue reading Gamification with Dr Kevin Werbach

December Reading

Earlier this month we went on holiday to Canon’s Ashby House, a wonderful historic property managed by the Landmark Trust.

CanonsAshby2

It was blissfully quiet, so I made a start on my holiday reading list. These are the books I read during December, and what I thought of them.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

I haven’t stopped thinking about this book since I finished reading it. Its core thesis – misdirected effort is waste – resonates strongly with me. I found several ideas especially exciting.

  • Minimum Viable Product: Understanding what customers want is crucial. A Minimum Viable Product is a prototype or rough version, which allows the team to “collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”
  • Continue reading December Reading