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The plight of product managing myself

By Peter Hanschke

For many years now I’ve been writing blogs about all things product management. I’m not sure that there is a subject I haven’t talked about. I found that the majority of topics came from my interactions with software companies — large, small, new — as well as conversations with people who have ideas, but are not sure where to begin.

As a product manager, I routinely asked myself what gives me the right to advise companies and individuals on what they should do. It boils down to having been through so many product management experiences in the past 20+ years of being a product manager that there really isn’t anything I haven’t seen.

There is, however, one scenario that I have not experienced. That is, me advising me on building an app – a mobile app, to be exact. I’ve always advised others as they plan and build out their software applications. I’ve talked to some people who have an idea of what they want to do; some who have a full-fledged idea and are well on their way; and some who have been at it a while and need some help on their next product move.

But I have never advised myself as I go through the planning, building and commercialization of an idea for a mobile app. It kind of feels like I’ll be eating my own dog food!

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Giving your team ownership

This is the fifth article in a continuing monthly series chronicling the growth path of Screenreach Interactive, a startup based in Newcastle upon Tyne in England’s North East. Screenreach’s flagship product, Screach, is an interactive digital media platform that allows users to create real-time, two-way interactive experiences between a smart device (through the Screach app) and any content, on any screen or just within the mobile device itself. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

In our last post, we looked at how Screenreach Interactive is managing its beta testing process to prepare for the launch of a new version of Screach in the near future. We focused on the logistics of soliciting, encouraging, filtering and interpreting user feedback to fine tune and debug the new app.

But working toward a deadline and ensuring that all of the pieces fall into place is about much more than technical and logistical details. Perhaps the most important variable to manage is the human factor. Individuals from different parts of the organization, each with their own role and responsibilities, must work together collaboratively and appreciate the needs and priorities of their peers.

“We are fortunate to have a team that is more interested in achieving an ultimate common goal than focusing on their own interests,” said Screenreach CEO Paul Rawlings. “Decisions must be made based on what’s best for the product and the collective.”

In this post, we’ll look at how the beta testing process is coming along and how the Screenreach team has learned to keep everyone rowing in the same direction.

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Putting your assumptions to the test

This is the fourth article in a continuing monthly series chronicling the growth path of Screenreach Interactive, a startup based in Newcastle upon Tyne in England’s North East. Screenreach’s flagship product, Screach, is an interactive digital media platform that allows users to create real-time, two-way interactive experiences between a smart device (through the Screach app) and any content, on any screen or just within the mobile device itself. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

In our last post, we looked at Screenreach Interactive’s recent inroads in the radio and television industries, including its appearance on Popular U.K. television program The Gadget Show at Radio Festival, Europe’s top radio industry event, and its new “experience” for long-running U.K. current affairs program Dispatches.

But making a splash at major industry events and with high profile clients demands one thing – a compelling product. But a compelling product can’t be developed in a vacuum; it must address a clear market demand. As we have emphasized time and again on this blog, marketing and product development must work together from the get go. To quote guest commentator Ronald Weissman, “Great companies constantly test the market, for validation and feedback.”

The team at Screenreach has taken this to heart. With a new version of the Screach app expected to launch in February, every effort is being made to solicit input from beta testers and prospective users. In this post, we’ll look at how Screenreach approaches the beta testing process, what third-party tools it has found to make life easier and the lessons it continues to learn along the way.

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Making waves in radio and television

This is the third article in a continuing monthly series chronicling the growth path of Screenreach Interactive, a startup based in Newcastle upon Tyne in England’s North East. Screenreach’s flagship product, Screach, is an interactive digital media platform that allows users to create real-time, two-way interactive experiences between a smart device (through the Screach app) and any content, on any screen or just within the mobile device itself. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

In our last post, we caught up with Screenreach Interactive founder and CEO Paul Rawlings on his way out the door to attend the Digital Signage Investor Conference in New York. We explored how the company has developed its target markets, including the digital signage, or “out of home advertising,” market.

It has been a busy month for the company since then as it continues to build market share in the digital signage, television and radio industries.

David Weinfeld, Screenreach’s chief strategy officer, is based in New York. He and Rawlings hit the tradeshow floor together to speak with experts in the digital signage industry to deepen their understanding of how best to serve this growing global market.

“The conference really gave us a chance to get into the shoes of the clients we wish to serve,” Weinfeld said. “As a result, we are making some exciting changes to the product that we think will make a significant difference in how useful and appealing it is to advertisers and digital signage operators.”

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Telling the right story to drive customer acquisition

This is the second article in a continuing monthly series that will chronicle the growth path of Screenreach Interactive, a startup based in Newcastle upon Tyne in England’s North East. Screenreach’s flagship product, Screach, is an interactive digital media platform that allows users to create real-time, two-way interactive experiences between a smart device (through the Screach app) and any content, on any screen or just within the mobile device itself. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

When we caught up with Screenreach Interactive founder and CEO Paul Rawlings last week, he was in the midst of packing for a trip to New York, where he was booked as a panellist for the Digital Signage Investor Conference.

Digital signage, a so-called form of “out-of-home advertising,” delivers video content, advertisements and messages to specific locations at specific times on static or touch screens, often in combination with movement detection and image capture technology. According to one recent industry forecast, the market is growing at a compound annual rate of 40 percent, with 22 million digital signs expected to be deployed world-wide by 2015.

For Screenreach, it’s an industry ripe for the Screach app.

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Recent Comments

  • James LaPalme : Francis Would not say thrived - but close - in spite of geography. 15ish years ago - a group of similar skilled and experience and capable business folks (sales, channel, alliance, business development) all lived in Canada (Ottawa-Toronto-Waterloo). All except for one stayed - that would be me. Well the guys that went to Silicon Valley have thrived well beyond expectations. The others - Boston, Dallas and EU have done very well - thrived. My survival has been predominately based on CEO's from outside Ontario seeing my value. Best to move on to more receptive fertile ground if ambitious. A successful strategy is to move south do a few years and remove the pure northern business experience then come back - which my experience is very few will.

  • Francis Moran : I'm so glad to see you warming to this idea, Luc. Not that you were ever one of those mindless critics who automatically opposed the proposal; you were properly skeptical and demanding that it contain more of what folks like you and I believed was necessary for success. Looks like the city is listening.

  • Luc Lalande : Hi Francis, thank you for the steady and keen eye on the development of this important project for the City. I share your view that open spaces in the building’s design will be critical components for encouraging spontaneous interactions between people. Integrating such spaces in the Innovation Complex sends the right signals to the community-at-large and not just the local startup ecosystem: everyone is welcomed! With respect to Patti’s comments about the arts sector, it would be worth bringing back to light that the Hintonburg-Mechanicsville area has emerged as the first Arts District in the City of Ottawa, housing many artist studios, performing arts studios, and media groups. While the 7 Bayview located Innovation Complex may cater to the entrepreneurial set, there is still considerable property on these lands that could, one day, be developed and capitalize on the area’s sizable artistic community. But perhaps the open spaces at the Innovation Complex can be equally accommodating for anyone who embraces creativity and entrepreneurship: artists and innovators alike.

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