Product and Engineering Wisdom - Issue #13

Timeless lessons from building products

free fortnightly email that highlights the relevant tips, advice, and case studies from the world of product and engineering for the SEO community.

Hello 👋,

In this issue, the topic is timeless lessons in building products.

Although product management is complex, there are key lessons when it comes to building products.

The following articles can highlight the lessons that can be learned from product experts:

Stay safe and enjoy.


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Building Products at Slack

Interview by Ken Norton

Ken Norton interviews Slack’s VP of Product Noah Weiss and Senior Staff Product Designer Anna Niess about the product culture at the company. They specifically talk about the product launch for Slack Huddles.

Adam’s Insight: I always enjoy understanding the culture behind some of the largest software companies in the world.

The launch of Slack Huddles allowed the team to talk about the agile values at the company and how they have a “prototype path” value. In one week they had a prototype which they put in front of users.

Prototypes and user testing is crucial to better understanding how users interact with a new design before scaling a product. This is something I learned at DeepCrawl, where we’d put low-fidelity prototypes in front of customers (SEOs) to test new ideas.

The experiments surprised us and allowed us to identify key features we needed to release (instead of trying to release everything at once). It's great to see Slack talking about using prototypes, user testing and experiments to get a better understanding of a new idea.

If you’re interested in learning more about the culture at Slack and how they release products. This is an excellent read.


Five timeless lessons

by Linda Z, Product Manager Toolkit

A newsletter from Linda Z who shares five timeless lessons based on how to pull off big ideas from the book: Amazon Unbound.

Adam’s Insight: Launching new innovative products is scary.

There are a lot of factors that can cause the product to fail. Linda focuses on lessons to learn from Alex voice assistant project.

A lot of the lessons in this article struck home. As many businesses become tempted by quick SEO wins and short term solutions to growing organic search channels.

I’d recommend reading this if you want to understand more about Amazon’s culture from an experienced product leader.

Five Lessons on Continuous Discovery

by Austin Nichols, Product Manager at Hudl

Austin Nichols talks about the traps many product teams fall into and the lessons that can be learned from reading the book Continuous Discovery Habits.

Adam’s Insight: Speaking to customers and gathering feedback is a criticalpart of anyproduct manager’s job.

For SEOs, we rarely speak to customers or gather feedback on changes we make to a website (we talk about user experience but rarely actually talk to users).

A great article (and book) if you are interested in the process of product discovery and how product teams gather customer feedback to create products.

Difficult Product Discussions with CEOs

by Rich Mironov, Product Bytes

Rich Mironov goes through how to handle difficult product discussions with CEOs.

Adam’s Insight: I thinkwe’ve all had tough conversations with senior leadership team members.

Although aimed at product managers, this article provides advice (but states there isn’t a magic recipe) that could be used by SEOs in these situations.

For more information on leadership skills, I recommend reading Tom Critchlow’s SEO MBA.


Helping members connect to opportunity through AI

by Rupesh Gupta and Lingjie Weng

Rupesh Gupta and Lingjie Weng talk about how AI is being used to improve LinkedIn.

Adam’s Insight: I always enjoy engineering teams being transparent about how they are using AI to improve LinkedIn for users.

This case study is that the team are using experiments to make sure that features improve weekly active users (WAUs). A key success metric.

If the tests showed poor results then they removed the feature.

They even provide lessons learned from the project at the end of the article. One lesson that jumped out to me was that it was important to pick a metric that aligned with the product vision and strategy.

An interesting read for anyone who wants to learn more about how LinkedIn is trying to improve their product.

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Please feel free to leave feedback so I can improve this newsletter.

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