Friday, September 17, 2010

Product Guys succeed and inspire

Just read on Techcrunch, that Yahoo has plans on reaching up to 1BN unique users and $10BN in revenues in three years. How are they going to do that? What product will help them achieve that? None. They have no idea. It's just a business talk. They are being run by a business executive without any sense for products... And business may be business, but to succeed you need to inspire people with great products. Just like Bill Gates did it in the 90s with Windows and Office... and Steve Jobs is doing it now with iPods, iPhones and iPads:


Product Guys create great companies:

According to the great article by Chris Dixon: “We don’t ask consumers what they want. They don’t know. Instead we apply our brain power to what they need, and will want, and make sure we’re there, ready” great companies are created by Product guys:

Akio Morita of Sony brought the company to $40B Market cap. Now that he's no longer with the company they fell to $28B and they lost the Walkman idea to the iPod

Bill Gates of Microsoft brought the company to $470B, now that Steve Ballmer (a sales guy, not product guy) runs it, they are at $270B

Steve Jobs came back to Apple when they were worth $3B, now they are worth $250B

Akio inspired people with his Walkman idea that initial marketing researchers dismissed. Bill Gates ruled the computers with Windows and Office and Steve is just getting started with his i-products that keep on entering successfully each market.

When I started my company, I wanted money....

I've lived this scenario myself. When I finished college years ago I wanted to run a successful software product that will sell all over the world and will bring me lots of money. I've tried several times and always failed miserably. Why? Because it wasn't about product. It was about business and money. It's not what inspires people. It ultimately didn't inspire me as well.

... then I created a product for myself... and succeeded and I'm just getting started!

That's right. I needed Nozbe so I built it for myself. Then I built some more. Then I added some AJAX magic. Then I showed it to the world. The rest is history :-)

Fast forward three and a half years and I'm indeed running a successful software product that sells all over the world and brings me money. But this time around I'm truly passionate about this product and I'm working on it because I love it so much.

This time around I'm a Product Guy

This inspires my users, my team and myself... and we keep on rolling out new features and most importantly, we are making lots of people very productive, thanks to our little web app :-)

We keep on innovating with Evernote integration, Gooogle Calendar sync and many other great features that hardly anyone in our industry is doing. And we love it. We even inspire other companies like Macoscope to create great iPad and iPhone apps for us (that also support Evernote ;-)

It's all about the product, stupid!

CEO of every company should be a product guy. Exception is Google - their CEO is not a product guy, but ultimately he's not the only person calling the shots - the founders Sergey and Larry are - and they are product guys, too. Want to be like Google or Apple? To succeed and inspire, you need to be that Product Guy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Don't disturb - genius at work

Starting this September we moved to a new home with my family and I had to set up my new home office all over again. It's my third home office in 3 years, I previously featured my first one based on Ikea cabinet, later in a new apartment I had a separate room with a big wide desk, and this time I also have a separate room, but for many practical reasons I focused on building it as minimalistic as possible and with mostly IKEA furniture - here's a sneak peak of the work-in-progress:
Why "genius at work"? I'm no genius, but I love this kind of genius work!

The office is almost ready and I'll post more pictures soon, but in this post I'd like to focus on the key question - why am I doing all this mess and why do I take so much time to build my own home office?

Why am I building a home office myself?

I just moved to a new place. There are many things to take care of. I'm also ultra-busy running a successful productivity software company and a magazine... and yet I take my time to build a perfect home office just for me. Why?

It's where I get things done

I don't rent an office. I work from home. My home office is my office. All of my co-workers work from home. It's essential to create the best working environment for myself so that I can really get some serious stuff done. I'm actually going to write a book about it :-) Yes, it is a lifestyle choice and I love it.

It's where I feel great

I want my office to be "my thing" and I want to feel great there. This is why I'm taking so much time to build it right. I never expected to move to a new home last year... or the year before... but I love to move and live in different places and when I do - I want to have a good working environment there.

It's pure fun

I love doing it. I love figuring out how to put cables, how to mount my gear, how to design my tables, how to... basically everything. I love the process and it makes me feel great. And it makes my home office really "mine".

What about that "genius"?

Well, when I was young and I didn't want my parents to disturb me, I'd put a sign on my door: "Don't disturb, genius at work" - now that I get to build my own home office it reminds me of these times. I may actually put a similar sign on the door again to let the rest of my family know I'm working... we'll see :-)

More details and pics next week - you'll see how my "genius zone" looks after it's done. It's almost done and I love it already! How does your genius zone look like?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.