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Product Leadership

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Some good reading on customers, products, and leadership.

First, Union Square Ventures' Albert Wenger looks at why it’s hard to listen to customers. The hard part isn’t hearing what they say, it’s knowing what to listen to.

How should you reconcile listening to your customers with your strategy? This is often the hardest part. You have a strategy that you believe in. It’s difficult enough to not outright ignore any customer feedback that’s not on strategy. After all, you don’t want to be a flag waving in the wind and shifting with every breeze. But how can you tell that apart from your customers telling you that your strategy is actually wrong? What if you are trying to solve too hard a problem, when the customers really need something much simpler?

Next, a Brooklyn apartment building decides to allow residents to decide how to paint the building, floor by floor. Hilarity ensues. 37Signals has the choice quotes and makes the observation, "when it comes to designing something, a benevolent dictator is sometimes a welcome alternative to the chaos of democracy."

Finally, Media Post looks at how strong product driven companies have strong product driven leaders.

Product-centric leaders, the ones that are obsessive about what gets shipped out the door, are customer-centric by nature. They understand the importance of that magical intersection between product and person, the sheer power of amazing experiences. They focus attention on the importance of that experience, and know, somewhere deep down inside, that if they get it right, the revenue will take care of itself.

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