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Building Better Products Using Quantitative & Qualitative Data

Disclosure: This was an internal post I wrote and shared with my colleagues back in 2015. While cleaning out my Confluence space, I came across it and thought that I'd share it with everyone.
There is a much more recent and polished post by my good friend Glenn Block on Mind the Product that you can read here: What Data Is/NotData cannot compensate for bad design or replace good design, but it can inform designers.Data cannot compensate for listening to actual users, but it can inform the kind of user research we conduct.Data cannot tell us what to build, but it can inform what we should investigate. Example If you can visualize a funnel report where visitors are leaving a buying process during various stages of the journey, quantitative data can give you information about where you may have a problem.
In the above example, the quantitative data (QT) informs you that 36 people are falling out of the cycle du…
Recent posts

Hiring: Scheduling Interviews

Interviewing candidates is never easy. There's a lot at stake. Many notable managers and companies will bloviate about their hiring processes; often in self aggrandizement but occasionally to share tidbits of wisdom.

A successful hiring process requires that a lot of pieces be firmly in place. Corporate messaging. Job descriptions. Salary ranges. Benefits packages. Application process. Referral programs. The list goes on...

One very important yet often overlooked item is scheduling, and that is the focus of this post.

While interviewing a candidate recently, I was doing my routine pre-interview preparation and reviewed with whom and when the candidate had already spoken. To my confused dismay, I learned that the candidate had spoken to 5 people already on three separate days. I was to be the 6th interviewer (on day #4), and there was still one more interviewer scheduled for later that week. That's 5 distinct interview periods!!!

After conducting the interview, I immediately re…

Back to work!

Wow, it's literally been YEARS since I've posted something on this blog. I'd like to blame the fact that I've been too busy at work, or that I've been spending too much time on Twitter...but blaming anyone or anything but myself would be disingenuous.

So with that, let's get back to posting!

Improving Win Rates

Still here at the Gartner Local Briefing. In a session with Richard Fouts about customer win rates.

Sharing Win/Loss Data
Sales teams tend to advertise their wins, yet contain their losses. Why is this so?

Q: How many global IT companies conduct win/loss on an enterprise scale? Less than 5%? About 10%? About 20%?
A: Less than 5%

CEOs and Sales people say "I know why we win/lose". Some politics are touchy; people don't want you to expose what they did well/not (especially in competitive environments). "I clicked the won/loss checkbox in" One company evaluated their win/loss data. They looked at 140 wins, and 55 losses. Looking at this data, they noticed a correlation between the wins and the fact that they beat their competition to market with compelling announcements in over a third of the scenarios.

An IT services firm attempted to sell a more sophisticated solution. Upon evaluation of the win/loss data, they found that more deals were being …

All of the People, None of the Time

Sitting here in a local Gartner briefing in San Francisco, where they're describing the Marketing Investment Model. As usual, a lot of sensible information presented that is unfortunately not always followed.

One of the interesting aspects that was discussed was the typical marketing message style employed throughout the tech industry. "At [company name], we..." "We work the way you work..." "We're platform agnostic..." "Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce..." OK, I inserted that last one...but you get the point.

Many companies employ a very passive message in an attempt to put prospective buyers at ease with the promise of flexibility. This boils down to: "Don't scare away any prospective buyers; let's appeal to them all!"

What often transpires, however, is that companies fail to sufficiently entice a buyer with a clear, firm, confident, focused position bolstered with a sound approach and success stories.

When you try…

OSX & Mac Office Team: Please Be Kind

Recently I opened a Word document from Outlook. I worked in it for a while, tracking changes, etc. Then I did a "Save As...". The prevous three Word documents I had saved automatically went to my Desktop. However, because this one originated in Outlook, I didn't notice that the destination folder was set to "Outlook Temp".

Needless to say, I went looking for it. Lo and behold, Word didn't have any recollection of this being a recently-opened document. So I couldn't open it from Word.

Very lame Word. Very lame.

Suspecting something was amiss, I opened another document from Outlook and did a "Save As..." and then noticed that the save folder was set to "Outlook Temp".

No problem, I thought. I'll just go to that folder and fetch my file. Actually, this turned out to be a problem.

I searched in vain for "Outlook Temp" via Spotlight to no avail. I searched for the file name in Spotlight. Nothing. I then went back to the Save …

A Change In Perspective on Mobile Content Creation

Over the past few years, I've championed the idea that smartphones are by-and-large consumption devices; not creation devices.

Someone asked me recently: Do you send email from your smartphone? Isn't that creation?

I suppose that it is. But I typically send bite-sized emails, SMS, and Tweets; not long-form content. But when you also share photos and videos and links and likes and plus-1s, smartphones are clearly creation devices.

This reflection challenged my previous perspective from thinking of content exclusively as robust documents to include rapid-fire info-blurbs. Where now is the dividing line between smartphone content creation expectations and those of laptops and desktops?

This question prompted me to try the previously unthinkable; to write a blog post on my mobile phone. This is clearly long-form, but still distinct from the rich authoring experience I enjoy on my full-fledged computers.

Perhaps then the discussion ought not be about content creation, but rather r…