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Monthly Archives: June 2008

This is a term that we use often in our office, and more generally in product management and marketing conversations. It seems to sometimes baffle people as to it’s meaning; but once explained, you are like no shit, I get it. It seems that most of the time that we use the expression, we are using it in terms of product features or functionality that are simple and easy to implement, would not take a lot of effort or development time and produce a good return on investment.

Seth Godin has a great post recently on the magic of low hanging fruit, and he focuses on the marketing side of it and how attacking and implementing the marketing side of low hanging fruit, you can accomplish quite a deal of good. See, often times in the product feature decision making process, we look at the things that we can accomplish with minimal effort and it may be a feature that has been requested by an influential group of users, or it may be a feature that could drive more traffic or usage. According to Seth, it makes more sense to go after those features that would drive more traffic and usage by the masses rather than those features that may have been requested by that group of influential users. Looking at it from that perspective, it makes sense. By going after the low hanging fruit that could convert the average or passive user into a more active user is more worthwhile that trying to make the already amazing users even more amazing. Seems simple in theory but a little harder in practice.

Just something to keep in mind the next time you sit down for your planning session to determine what the next features should be, take a look at the whole picture when you are picking that fruit 🙂 .

NOTE: sorry Doug, this post was not inspired by you 🙂

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So it has been a week or so since I have attributed inspiration for a blog post to the new guy at work Doug. However, it is not to say that he has not provided me with “numerous” inspirational tidbits, I have just been holding off for awhile for this one, but the time has come. So Doug, this one is for you 🙂 .

Through an IM conversation that I will not recount here (no need to bore you all), Doug had a typo, well at least that is what I thought. In fact, it was not a typo, but a word from a language that I did not know, the language of the Internets. He went on to say that the “typo” that I thought he typed was part of a language called L337 (that is Leet for those of you that do not speak it, and Elite for those of us who have no F’ng clue what it all means). Of course, I was like WTF? about this whole “language” and Doug was so kind as to point me to the Wikipedia page for it. That’s right folks, it is a language alright because Wikipedia says so (after all, everything on Wikipedia is 100% accurate, right?). I was floored, how could there be a language out there that I was not familiar with? Once I understood the meaning behind it all, I quickly realized why I did not know of it. I fashion myself a fairly savvy Internet user, but apparently not savvy enough. I am not down with using various combinations of ASCII characters to replace Latinate letters.

Lesson learned here for me, I am not one of the cool kids, I guess I have some catching up to do. In the meantime, I am going to get schooled on L337 so I can hang with the cool crowd. Once I do, you all will be pwned by me 😉 .

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday, for the first time in a long time, it was a multi day event (have not had one of those since my early 20s, yes I am that old). I had an impromptu birthday party Friday afternoon, went to a wedding on Friday evening and then a beer festival on Saturday. There were several “little things” that my wife, kids and others did for me that meant so much, even though they were “little things”.

It all started with a little birthday party when I got home early from work. Nothing extravagant, just my wife and kids, birthday cards, presents, a hand made sign and an ice cream cake. This was completely unexpected and meant so much to me, it was a bunch of little things that brought out so much emotion and pride, it made me feel extremely important. Later, we were off to a wedding where amidst of all of the commotion, the bride and groom took the time during the ceremony to tell me happy birthday and went as far as to have a birthday card for me on the table waiting for me. As if that was not enough, they had the band sing happy birthday to me. Saturday we were back at it, headed to a beer festival with friends that I had no idea we were going to. My wife coordinated the whole thing without me knowing, and I was so surprised and extremely happy. It was the little things that meant so much.

It amazes me at how something that seems so small can have such an impact on you at that moment, that in hindsight, those things were actually bigger than they first appeared. I am thankful for the wonderful weekend I had, and can say that the little things really surprised me, and I really enjoyed it. Little things can have the greatest of meanings, so pay attention and give thanks when they happen.

Even though I can sometimes come across as being one who enjoys being in the limelight (well perhaps that is a misconception on my own part about myself), I would actually prefer not to be front and center, getting any attention. I fashion myself a team player, I do not need to be the quarterback or the star receiver, I am content being part of the offensive line, getting the job done so the team can win (sorry for the football analogy, you tend to go with what you know). As a result of this mindset, I am quick to give credit to others when they do a good job, and even if I am responsible for something, I still like to look at it as a team effort, the credit really should go to the rest of the team.

There are others that are on the other end of the spectrum. They like to swoop in at the last minute, just as something is about to be finished and claim they were a critical part of the overall success. Bad move on so many levels, but I have seen it happen time and time again. Why are people that way? Why not roll up your sleeves and get dirty and be part of the team and make the magic happen? Don’t try to steal the thunder of those that have put in countless hours, sweat, and dedication to make something a success. If you are not going to be part of the team, then stand to the side when the credit is being doled out and let those that deserve it take it.

There have been several instances lately for me where I have been part of something, but I have not been the major contributing factor in it’s success. To those that have been the major forces behind it, I say THANK YOU. You know who you are and if it were not for you, we would not be on the brink of something truly remarkable. You have poured your heart and souls into this and for that I am thankful. For others, thank you for having the blind faith that something great was going to come of it, if it were not for you, it would still just be a thought. My success throughout my career has been the result of some amazing work by some amazing people. I have been privileged to work with such greatness.

Success breeds success and something as simple as giving due credit can go a long way in continuing that success. Many a great leader have recognized that in order to be truly successful, you need to ensure that your team is successful. This is a lesson that is easy to understand, but sometimes extremely difficult to implement.