Aha moments are great. No, we’re not talking about an ’80s Nordic band. Product managers, user experience (UX) designers and marketers live for those (rare?) opportunities to delight a user with just the right experience at just the right time.

How exactly would you define an aha moment? The friendly folks at Intercom define it as

an emotional reaction to discovery of a feature

and then go on to mention that they are actually the positive emotions behind the user behavior.

I’m not sure if you noticed, but there’s a bit of a leap from emotional reaction to positive emotions…


We’ve all heard the virtues of setting goals for oneself. We have New Year’s resolutions, SMART goals and even micro-goals. In the modern workplace, we have MBO, OKRs and KPIs. If you don’t know what some of the acronyms mean, don’t worry; what they all have in common is that when you set out to accomplish something, you need to define some measurable way to determine if you have achieved the goal.

Working at an established company, with stable and fairly fixed processes, this is a reasonably predictable process. While nobody can tell the future with great accuracy, and surprises…


Startups are hard. Everyone knows that, but as entrepreneurs we have the amazing ability to kid ourselves into believing that this time it will be different.

For early stage startups, one of the most important things (some would argue the only thing that matters) is achieving product-market fit. Much has been written about PMF: what it is — and isn’t; how to recognize it or measure it (“you’ll just know”); and many definitive guides for how to get there.

However, a lot of these so-called guides are by necessity articulated in terms of generalities: pick the right market, hire the…


This week, someone in my network shared on LinkedIn that “Amazon received its Part 135 air carrier certificate from the FAA” clearing the runway for the company to use drones to deliver packages. This is a significant step forward, but what caught my attention was the range of reactions this received.

I know, it’s the Internet in the 2020's, so any announcement is bound to get a pretty extreme range of responses, often from people who don’t know what they’re talking about but won’t let that prevent them from getting entrenched in a particular position and blasting everyone who doesn’t…


Today, the US celebrates Labor Day, paying tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It has been a federal holiday since 1894. It’s a nice tradition, with families getting together with friends to barbecue outdoors and bid farewell to summer.

Outdoor grilling

However, this Labor Day 2020 feels different. It may be the shelter-in-place orders. Or the 2 million acres that have burned in California so far this year.

More significantly, labor itself has been going through changes — in the US and around the world — over the last two decades. The pandemic has accelerated this process across most…


Before I became a father, as I was contemplating the momentous decision of creating another life in partnership with my significant other and the implicit commitment to support our offspring for years to come, I was hesitant. I was probably not the first nor the last potential parent who wondered: “Will I be a good parent? Will I be good enough? What if I mess up?” The level of responsibility seemed daunting.

Different people deal with these questions differently. In my case, I leaned heavily into my builder and engineering roots. I know, I know. Babies are totally different from…


Wood-fired pizza.

Pizza has been a lifelong passion of mine — even before I was born. The story goes that my parents were having pizza the night before my mother went into labor, so I was born with the taste of gooey mozzarella in my mouth. I have also spent countless hours making my own pizzas and estimate that I have eaten at least 10,000 slices of pizza in my life, so paraphrasing Malcolm Gladwell, that makes me an expert.

Robots are a more recent passion. A little over two years ago, I co-founded InOrbit. We aim to put every robot “in…


Conviction. You either have it, or you don’t. As a startup founder, you probably do; if not, go get a job somewhere else. But how do you share your conviction with other people — especially investors? Getting this right may be the most important factor in fundraising.

First, a bit of context. We just announced a venture round at InOrbit, the startup I co-founded +2 years ago. In a category that we created, serving a nascent market. In the middle of a recession caused by a pandemic. How many so-called “miracles” did that take?

Venture capitalists like to say that…


You’ve probably heard of the power of storytelling: studies have shown that our brains are hardwired to respond to stories, and will even make up stories to make sense of the world. In a case of nature and nurture, conditioning starts at an early age and applies across all cultures.

Product managers in particular need to be aware of how they can use storytelling: one of the key PM skills is to get people (team members, customers, investors) aligned around a concept or product decision.

There are many articles, books, classes and events around the idea of “storytelling for business”…


Managing risk by creating a compounding portfolio of product investments

TL;DR

  • Great product managers behave like fund managers and are able to manage risk and create value over time through compounding.
  • One of Product Managers’ main responsibilities is prioritizing work from a virtually infinite number of options.
  • Many of the tools used today are overly simplistic, and do not really capture the impact of product investment over time.
  • Fund managers in financial institutions also face similar prioritization tasks, making decisions on where to invest and over what time horizon.
  • This paper introduces a model for Product Managers to make product decisions…

Florian Pestoni

Product management leader, entrepreneur and coach.

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