Jeff Morris Jr.

Jeff Morris Jr. quotes on product management

Founder at ChapterOne, an early-stage product fund. Building Product Club this summer. Before VP Product, Revenue at Tinder.

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1

Many of the best product people I know are historians of our industry. They can tell you about features built by companies big & small many years ago. Their intuition is guided by years of studying failure and success. The sooner you become a historian, the better you’ll be.

2

Product has been glorified. What they don't tell you: 1. Your job is to say "no" to distracting ideas. People will often be frustrated with you. 2. When things break, you're accountable. Get ready to bite the bullet. 3. Designing new products is a small part of what you'll do.

3

The best consumer product people I know often come from random walks of life. They are not CS grads from top universities. They didn’t start their careers as Google PM’s. They have unique backgrounds (education, career path, hometown) that make them view the world differently.

4

Beware of product people who use data as a crutch for a lack of taste. Beware of product people who use taste as a crutch for a lack of data.

5

Product is: 1. Coming up with 100 ideas and realizing that 99 are terrible, but 1 is promising enough to pursue. 2. Going down rabbit holes for a living and never getting bored. 3. Finding out that "someone already tried that" and convincing yourself that you can do better.

6

The hardest part about product has nothing to do with designing UX/UI or motivating engineers. Those skills can be learned through hard work. The hardest part is having a unique point of view about the world & being able to articulate those ideas to customers in a simple way.

7

The most important lesson I’ve learned for developing new products: You don’t have to be the first person to come up with a product idea. In fact, that will rarely be the case. But you can almost always make an existing idea better. And that’s when you get the big wins.

8

The best product people I know are truth seekers. They overcome their own ego, politics within their organization, and personal biases — and they build what customers actually want. Truth is the hardest thing to achieve when building products. Seek truth.

9

What "product people" don't tell you about building products: 1. The confidence and conviction required to build new products can be overwhelming. 2. We have many sleepless nights & moments of self doubt. 3. The most successful PM's persevere & push their ideas to production.

10

I often receive notes asking for the best resources to learn how to build product. Product is an art learned over time, like playing an instrument or becoming a writer. The best way to get better at product is to practice the art. Read less articles. Build more products.

11

Thoughts on being "good" at product: 1. The best product people I know are entrepreneurs at heart. 2. They identify high impact ideas & fight like hell to get them made. 3. Their real "magic" is perseverance, grit, and creative fortitude.

12

One things I've learned "managing people" on a product team: If you love building products, always have 1-2 projects that you build yourself. Don't give that up. Too many managers on product teams stop building. Unless you're managing an XL team, you likely have time for both.

13

The best PM's I know understand value: 1. They quantify market potential for ideas (# of customers with a problem). 2. They understand time value of engineers & designers (opportunity cost). 3. They master financial models & deeply understand inputs that drive value creation.

14

How to become better at Product: 1. Read books 📚 2. Travel more often ✈️ 3. Discover new apps📱 4. Be quantitative 📈 5. Learn how to listen👂

15

The best Product Managers know how to: 1. Prioritize a collection of ideas. 2. Sell products to stake holders. 3. Communicate vision with engineering team & make them partners. 4. Be honest with themselves & team while analyzing results. 5. Dust themselves off & keep building.

16

The secret to building products: 1. Find designers you love working with and trust. Work together for a long period of time. 2. Recognize that engineers are your partners and give them the credit they deserve. 3. Be comfortable failing and trust that you’ll figure it out.

17

Things I wish I knew earlier in my product career: 1. You’re only as good as your Engineering partners. 2. Focus on a single KPI for a long period of time & master one piece of the funnel. 3. Always be a student. Life is a never ending search to discover things that inspire you.

18

Sometimes I can’t believe that I get to wake up in the morning and build products for a living. We are all incredibly lucky to be able to call this a career. Never forget that.

19

Building products is a hits business, like being a screenwriter or a movie producer. For better or worse, you will often be judged by the success or failure of your last release. Celebrate the wins. Learn from the losses. And have some fun along the way.

20

When building products, it’s so easy to feel self doubt. You have OKR’s to beat and teammates who rely on your decision making. It can be paralyzing. The best thing you can do is get outside of your own head and go talk to a customer. That’s how you get your confidence back.

21

The best product leaders I know: 1. Embrace their own weaknesses & do not pretend to know everything about building products. 2. Recruit the smartest PM's/designers they can find and let them build. 3. Have very little ego & know that the product is all that matters.

22

How to come up with product ideas: 1. Dig into data & identify broken parts of your funnel. 2. Use your own products & be honest about the experience. 3. Get outside your office & meet new people. 4. Work with with amazing designers & engineers. 5. Talk to customers everyday.

23

Favorite quote of the day: “The best product teams crave truth and do math.” Truth + math is an amazing combination when building products.

24

A PM makes thousands of tiny decisions while building a product. To understand a PM, figure out how they make decisions: * What % is data vs. instincts? * Do they have a decision making framework? * How quickly can they make decisions? ("analysis paralysis" can kill a product)

25

The best product teams: 1. Obsessively follow product releases throughout the entire industry - this is their hobby and not part of the job. 2. Download obscure apps and find inspiration from unlikely places. 3. Challenge each other to learn faster than other product teams.

26

I've often seen "hiring paralysis" when hiring PM's. Example: "We want a PM with a Data Science background who has experience solving [x] problem." Try to be more flexible when hiring PM's. If you find incredibly smart people, they will usually figure it out.

27

Product is... 1. Showing empathy for customers when internal politics try taking you in another direction. 2. Breaking the rules of your product when you're told those rules will never be broken. 3. Making brave decisions and letting customers decide if you're right.

28

Product leaders must remember: 1. Customers don’t care about your org charts. 2. Your emotional connection to your product won’t matter if customers don’t feel the same way. 3. Your job is to build products that customers need, which is usually different from what you need.

29

My favorite product leaders are people who have strong opinions and zero ego. So hard to find.

30

Advice for product teams working w/ machine learning & data science: Start with a project that has *near term* deliverables. When young PM's first meet with ML/DS teams, they often start with projects that have 6-12 months deliverables. Like everything else, start with MVP's.

31

If you work in product and say that you’re “too old to use that product” as an excuse for not following a consumer trend, you are being intellectually lazy. Go outside and talk to someone who uses the product. Be curious. Do the work.

32

Build products with: * Teammates who inspire you to be more creative when you share ideas. * Leaders who challenge you to become a better version of yourself. * Companies who trust you to own the products you build and hold you accountable for their success and failure.

33

The products you build should: 1. Help your customers become a better version of themselves. 2. Create a new reality for your customers and challenge their expectations of your products. 3. Always solve a fundamental human problem.

34

Product Managers: if you're aren't willing to dedicate 1-2 years of your life to a single idea, you won't be great at your job.

35

As a Product Manager, one of your primary jobs is to avoid distractions and shiny new ideas. You need insane levels of conviction and focus.

36

Getting products on a roadmap is challenging. Same as every creative industry. Film, TV, Music, Journalism. Every industry has creatives struggles & bringing ideas to life will always be hard. Make ideas happen with data, thoughtful design, & relentless energy. Don't give up.

37

A teammate told me about "seagull" product leaders today: 1. Seagull products leader are self-important and act very busy. 2. Seagulls give you product tasks & do most of the talking when you meet. 3. Like a seagull: they fly in, shit on your ideas and then fly away again.

38

Getting a product idea greenlit is never easy. 1. Arm yourself with data. 2. Identify champions within your organization. 3. Pitch with a prototype, not a deck. 4. Get your engineering partners excited. 5. Don't let your idea die. It's your responsibility to keep it alive.

39

I’ve never pitched a product that got a “yes” after the first pitch. Keep your idea alive and keep pitching. That’s being a PM.

40

"Home country bias" is a tendency for investors to favor companies from their own countries over those from other areas. The same tendency exists for products leaders. We build products for people we know and often overlook the rest of the world. Think outside your country.

41

You need great "real estate" when building new products: 1. Product owners must negotiate with stakeholders for real estate in your app during design process. 2. You need an amazing product to justify premium real estate. 3. Giving premium real estate to bad products never works.

42

Being good at Product is having an obsessive desire to discover new apps, interactions, and forms of expression. You have to be an explorer.

43

Knowing how to use Jira doesn't make you a good product manager.

44

For Product Managers: being a strong and concise writer is one of the most important skills.

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