Responsive roadmaps, and three management behaviors to strive for
Also a bit about the brand journeys of Liquid Death and Folgers Coffee.
Before I get into it today, let me just say that the way Twitter is handling the impending layoffs is completely inhumane and unacceptable. It’s also in such contrast to how it could be done. Consider, for example, the way Stripe’s leaders took full responsibility for what happened, and tried their best to help affected employees. There is no good way to do a layoff, but there are better ways, and Stripe shows us how to remain human during the process.
If you are affected today (or are looking for a new role in general), check out my friend Vicki’s Twitter feed. She is retweeting a long list of companies that are still actively hiring:
Ok, so this is not going to become a Twitter newsletter, I promise, but the story is fascinating on so many levels that I have to reflect on a couple more interesting articles about it. First, let me say that Ryan nailed the ultimate take on the proposed $8/month Twitter Blue plan:
It is Twitter reimagined as an NFT and probably the best encapsulation of late-stage Silicon Valley greed and hubris: Pay us for the privilege of producing free content for our website.
Second, I am really intrigued by how hard Substack is leaning into the changes:
We believe that the next era of the social internet will be about deep relationships over shallow engagement; signal over noise; and ownership over serfdom. When people have the power over platforms, rather than the other way round, we can have more rewarding social experiences and healthier discourse, where we seek to understand our neighbors rather than score points against them. When the network is funded by paid subscriptions, not ads, trust relationships trump viral content.
I am really loving what Substack is doing right now. They are shipping so many interesting things, and they are doing it fast (the new chat feature looks really cool). The things they are shipping might not all succeed, but I am loving the fearless experimenting. It is truly refreshing.
Product and leadership reading
Russ Laraway simplifies what good managers should be focused on in Stop Overcomplicating It: The Simple Guidebook to Upping Your Management Game:
Through his own research studies he determined a list of three specific management behaviors most closely aligned with employee engagement.
Direction: Good managers ensure that every member of their team understands exactly what is expected and when it is expected.
Coaching: Good managers coach their people towards both short and long-term success, helping them understand what they should continue to do and how they can improve.
Career: Good managers invest in their people’s careers in a way that considers their long-term goals and aspirations beyond the four walls of the current company, and certainly beyond their next promotion.
He goes into detail on each of those behaviors in the rest of the article.
A responsive roadmap is a story of how a team will accomplish their goals. Any team can create, publish, and maintain their own roadmap.
I also love his illustration of what tends to happen with timeline-based roadmaps:
Sam Richard talks about how user journeys in product-led companies are different from sales-led companies in The New User Journey: Follow Your Users to Understand how to Excel at Go-to-Market:
This also means that the typical go-to-market playbook SaaS experts used to follow isn’t as relevant as it used to be. Why? Because it assumes that prospective customers will only encounter the product with a sales or customer success representative alongside them. Since product-led products enable users to discover, try, and buy products day or night, the standard “sales funnel” is no longer accurate.
She goes on to define a user journey for product-led growth that pays special attention to the “activation” step: that moment when a user discovers why they want to keep using your product.
Some stray links
How Liquid Death Became Gen Z’s La Croix is such an interesting branding story.
Speaking of branding, I love the defiance of Folgers drinkers on display in Folgers, a throwback coffee brand in a time of nitro lattes, wants to be cool: “‘If someone thinks Folgers is sludge, I'm not going to change their mind, but I'm going to enjoy the fact that I like it, and that my cup of coffee is probably significantly cheaper than theirs,’ says Simmons, the lifelong Folgers drinker from Arizona.”
It’s Friday, so new music day! I’ll especially be checking out the new Phoenix album Alpha Zulu.
Have a good weekend, friends. Take care of each other💛.