How Basecamp’s Hill Chart provides a useful frame of reference to master the Startup chaos

A Hill
A Hill
Photo by Karl Bewick on Unsplash

Working at startups can often feel as an exercise in balance. With so many things happening at the same time, and with multiple forces pushing to different and often opposing directions, one can easily feel quite disoriented. This is further exacerbated by the fact that any member of the team usually wears more than one hat, and so juggling becomes the de-facto national sport.

All these conditions often translate into a mentality of ‘which might seem as the only available given that traditional processes just don’t work at this environment. …


Some concerns about the Ethics and overall applicability of The Lean Startup in current times

The Wizard Of Oz , Movie Banner
The Wizard Of Oz , Movie Banner
Source: Warner Bros.

In previous posts I have discussed Eric Ries’s well-known The Lean Startup theory, going through its core elements and key takeaways. I also provided my own personal impression, working in and with many startups, of some of the key mistakes or misinterpretations that are often made in practice.

Today I want to shed some light on another angle, often missed, of this book, that personally strikes me as the most troubling one. It is not something that Ries openly discusses, but it is implicitly present throughout many of the techniques that are given as a way of learning and experimentation…


An honest account on how The Lean Startup is being implemented in practice and why 90% of the Startups still fail

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

In my previous post, I gave a brief overview of The Lean Startup theory of innovation by Eric Ries, and walked through its key concepts. As Ries describes in the introduction part to his book, his motivation to write it came mostly from his observation of the troublesome rate by which startups all around him were failing .

According to him, these are the two key reasons why startups fail:

  1. Planning too much — what Ries calls “the allure of a good plan, a solid strategy, and thorough market research”; in a startup world of extreme uncertainty, this traditional thinking…

The Lean Startup

An introductory guide to The Lean Startup business theory as the influential book is reaching its 10th anniversary

Photo by Andre A. Xavier on Unsplash

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is approaching its 10th anniversary; published in September 2011, the book has been a tremendous success, selling over 1 million copies. The book has gave birth, or at the minimum popularized, terms, concepts and methodologies that have become the cornerstone of the day-to-day conducts of startups. Specifically, the term Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which is associated with Ries, has become one of the most popular terms governing discussions of innovation and early-stage execution. …

Product Design

How successful companies embody nostalgia into their product design and philosophy.

Vinyl records on a street cart
Vinyl records on a street cart
Photo by Pascal Brokmeier on Unsplash

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. We all have our moments of reflecting fondly on the past, and how things used to be so much better (or at the minimum ‘simpler’).

Digitally enhancing our support network as a key to meaningful interactions.

One person reaching out to another
One person reaching out to another
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

We go about our lives as consumers making transactions. Think of the last time you bought a pizza slice or a pair of shoes. A brief engagement with the merchant at the point-of-sale and an exchange of money for value. Transactions are transient and ephemeral; the value you pay for is provided then and there. Whether you will return in the future to the pizza parlor or shoes’ store, depends just as much on factors of chance and circumstances as it depends on your satisfaction with the product.

Sellers don’t like much a transaction-model as they prefer to have more…

Cover image: engeineering
Cover image: engeineering

Ok … I’m going to piss some people off with this post; to make things worse, some of them are my close friends. Would it help if I start by saying that I, myself, am a software engineer that has practiced product management through large parts of my career?

Secondly, I’m sure to make some wild generalizations here which will do injustice to many great product managers who happen to have a background in engineering, but I’m trying to make a statement here, and you can’t make a statement without highlighting insights which are based on generalizations, and you can’t… homepage (2012)

Medium, the publishing platform, has recently launched an overhaul of its application. Its founder, Ev Williams, has written a post on the company’s blog, where he gives the rationale behind the change.
It is titled “Toward a more relational Medium”. He writes:

Disneyland Theme Park at County Orange, CA
Disneyland Theme Park at County Orange, CA
Source: Disney

In part one of my post series, I argued that by thinking of Software as Products, analogue to manufactured goods, we have subscribed ourselves to an engineering-driven mindset that fails to capture the customers’ expectations and results in failures in market-product fit. Part two introduced three modern approaches to innovation and software development that could help reduce the gap between what we develop and what customers want.

Both the Job-to-be-Done theory and the design-thinking movement make a strong case towards innovation that considers the entire dimension space of customers’ challenges including aspects of technical, psychological, social, and emotional nature. The…

My previous post discussed how the industry of PC software has evolved based on the analogy of physical goods; I argued that we have been using the wrong metaphor in referring to software-based offering as products. I also pointed out how advancements in technology have removed traditional constraints in a way which is gradually changing the software medium to introduce what I referred to as “streamed software”.

And yet, for the most part, too many companies choose to adopt a highly conservative engineering-thinking approach when they address the challenge of developing software. The mantra of

Asaf Atzmon

I’m passionate about product, strategy and innovation.

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