As I mentioned a little over a week ago, I went snowboarding in Utah. I stayed with my friend, Chris, and his wife during my visit. I snowboarded for six straight days at the Brighton resort. It was my first time, so I took lessons the first day. The instructors taught me the basics and, by the end of the day, I was able to do 'S turns'. An S turn is where you go down the hill, turn in an arc towards one side, then go down the hill and turn in an arc towards the other side. It keeps your speed under control. Once I knew how to do S turns, I felt it was time to practice rather than take more lessons. So the next five days I spent perfecting my S turns, while progressively subjecting myself to more difficult courses (blues and even some segments of blacks). For anyone, including experienced skiers who haven't snowboarded, I have the following observations: Take lessons. Practice is very important, but you have to know what to practice. The frustration of the first day or
When your product manager is researching the market, she has a choice between using hypotheticals and actuals . When interviewing a prospective customer, a product manager who uses hypotheticals asks such questions as: Would you be willing to buy a product that does x, y, and z? If I were to offer you a product that does x, y, and z, how much would you be willing to pay for it? How often would you use a product that does x, y, and z? In contrast, a product manager who uses actuals: Asks what the prospective customer does currently instead of using the product. Determines how much the prospective customer spends to accomplish her goals without using the product. Puts actual product or demos into the prospective customer's hands and determines whether she uses it. Both hypotheticals and actuals are helpful. Hypotheticals are notoriously unreliable , however. To the extent possible, a product manager should favor actuals when researching the market.