Good Leader/Bad Leader

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A good product manager knows the context going in (the company, our revenue funding, competition, etc.), and they take responsibility for devising and executing a winning plan (no excuses).

Bad product managers have lots of excuses. Not enough funding, the engineering manager is an idiot, Microsoft has ten times as many engineers working on it, I’m overworked, I don’t get enough direction. Our CEO doesn’t make these kinds of excuses and neither should the CEO of a product.

Good product managers don’t get all of their time sucked up by the various organizations that must work together to deliver the right product at the right time. They don’t take all the product team minutes; they don’t project manage the various functions; they are not gofers for engineering. They are not part of the product team; they manage the product team. Engineering teams don’t consider good product managers a “marketing resource.” Good product managers are the marketing counterparts to the engineering manager.

Good product managers crisply define the target, the “what” (as opposed to the “how”), and manage the delivery of the “what.” Bad product managers feel best about themselves when they figure out “how.” Good product managers communicate crisply to engineering in writing as well as verbally. Good product managers don’t give direction informally. Good product managers gather information informally.

Good product managers create collateral, FAQs, presentations, and white papers that can be leveraged by salespeople, marketing people, and executives. Bad product managers complain that they spend all day answering questions for the sales force and are swamped. Good product managers anticipate the serious product flaws and build real solutions. Bad product managers put out fires all day.

Good product managers take written positions on important issues (competitive silver bullets, tough architectural choices, tough product decisions, and markets to attack or yield). Bad product managers voice their opinions verbally and lament that the “powers that be” won’t let it happen. Once bad product managers fail, they point out that they predicted they would fail.

Good product managers focus the team on revenue and customers. Bad product managers focus the team on how many features competitors are building. Good product managers define good products that can be executed with a strong effort. Bad product managers define good products that can’t be executed or let engineering build whatever they want (that is, solve the hardest problem).

Good product managers think in terms of delivering superior value to the marketplace during product planning and achieving market share and revenue goals during the go-to-market phase. Bad product managers get very confused about the differences among delivering value, matching competitive features, pricing, and ubiquity. Good product managers decompose problems. Bad product managers combine all problems into one.

Good product managers think about the story they want written by the press. Bad product managers think about covering every feature and being absolutely technically accurate with the press. Good product managers ask the press questions. Bad product managers answer any press question. Good product managers assume members of the press and the analyst community are really smart. Bad product managers assume that journalists and analysts are dumb because they don’t understand the subtle nuances of their particular technology.

Good product managers err on the side of clarity. Bad product managers never even explain the obvious. Good product managers define their job and their success. Bad product managers constantly want to be told what to do.

Good product managers send their status reports in on time every week, because they are disciplined. Bad product managers forget to send in their status reports on time, because they don’t value discipline.

-Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Jason Johnson on 5 things Christians should stop staying.

We mean well, don’t we? But sometimes our attempts to say something spiritual actually come out unbiblical, or at a minimum, not very helpful. Here’s the 5 I hear the most…

David Romano on God, gays and advice.

As a Christian walking away from the homosexual lifestyle, I have some do’s and don’ts I’d like you to keep in mind when addressing this issue.

Tim Challies on Mobility, Pornography and Privacy.

Did you buy your children an iPod or iPhone or other mobile device for Christmas? You just bought them the major porn-consumption device. So what are you going to do to protect them from it? One of the most popular articles I wrote in 2013 concerned The Porn-Free Family. I will be returning to the subject in the new year, but for now, I want to point out an important fact: Most of our attempts to block pornography and to use accountability software are effective only or primarily on desktop devices.

5 ways to relax on your Christmas break.

So you’re off for Christmas, but some of you for sure are going to have a hard time winding down. I know I do. Being a driven kind of person, the idea of doing nothing but resting is unsettling for me. But rather than secretly doing email while your family isn’t looking, pacing the house because you can’t sit still or being agitated most of the time, there is an alternative.

Brian Howard on How to remember 2013 and set goals for 2014.

Welcome to the day after Christmas! Each year between Christmas and New Years I walk through a simple exercise to help me think through the past year and plan for the coming year.  I originally learned this exercise from David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, and have customized it over the years. My wife and I both walk through it, and I use it with those I coach as well. Allocating an hour or two over the next week to walk through this exercise will help you to start the new year well.

Jon Acuff on The empty shelf challenge.

Empty a shelf in your house somewhere. Every book you read from now until December 31, 2014 goes on the shelf. (Waiting until January 1st to do something awesome is stupid and fake.) At the end of the year, I guarantee you will have read more than you did in 2013. Best of all, you’re scientifically more likely to accomplish something when you have people working on it with you.

Justin Taylor on How to read the whole bible in 2014.

Do you want to read the whole Bible? The average person reads 200 to 250 words per minute; there are about 775,000 words in the Bible; therefore it takes less than 10 minutes a day to read the whole Bible in a year.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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  1. Gary MacIntosh on Six ways to prevent church member dropout.
  2. 5 counter-intuitive ways to lead a team member.
  3. Thom Rainer on the 8 most frequent preaching distractions.
  4. Shai Lynne puts Joel Osteen, Paula White and other False Teachers on blast. Then, Paula White Ministries responds to his accusations. Then, Shai Lynne explains his motives behind the song.
  5. 9 things you should know about female body issues.

iPhone Marimba Ringer gets a Creative Reworking

Songs to Help You Prepare for Good Friday

I had to share these 2 songs from the We are Soma blog as a way to prepare your heart before attending a Good Friday service today.

 ARMY OF ANGELS

They took you out • Stripped off your clothes • Spit on your face • While the raven crows • They beat you down • Like a criminal • And raised you up like a king • So, so cynical • They dressed you up • Mocked you like a fool • “Hail to the King of the Jews”

Why not call • An army of angels to fall • Why not curse • The ends of the earth • Why not save yourself • Let blame fall on someone else • Why did you have to die?

They led you outside • The city walls • Like a lamb to the slaughter • No resistance at all • They nailed you up • To a dead man’s tree • They bled you out • For all the world to see • The sun burnt out • The sky turned black • One last breathe • The father turned his back

Why not call • An army of angels to fall • Why not curse • The ends of the earth • Was there any other way? • To make it all go away • Why did you have to die?

BY HIS WOUNDS

He suffered in silence • Said not a word • Father forgive them • Each mockingbird
He took all the punches • Till it was done • There I was standing • Holding with the gun

By his wounds we are healed • By his wounds we are healed

All my perversions • All my regrets • Every last sorrow • And my best attempts
Every last murder • And adulterous heart • Every last nickel • Spent after dark

For more music, visit the Soma Music Bandcamp site.

Music Monday 2.6.12: Rend Collective Experiment

I recently came across Rend Collective Experiment. If you are looking for some fresh, creative worship music, look here. Here is a sampling:

Their Story as a Band

You are my Vision

Come On

Exalt (Performed on iPhones)

Now, go buy their albums: Organic Family Hymnal and Homemade Worship by Homemade People.

Links of the Week

  1. 52 key sermons from John Piper. I am a big John Piper fan and if you are new or have listened to him before, this is a great list. It pulls 52 of his sermons from a variety of topics, a great introductory to John Piper and theology.
  2. J.D. Greear on What is the gospel.
  3. AT&T is acting just like a church. I have verizon and eventually will get an iPhone, but this is pretty interesting look at how AT&T is acting like a lot of churches.
  4. Mark Driscoll on What is idolatry. This is a great article.
  5. Thabiti Anyabwile on I’m a complementarian but women must be taught and they must teach.
  6. Where have all the leaders gone? This is right where I am being challenged right now:  how do we raise up leaders, train people to lead in the world’s they inhabit and be on mission everyday?
  7. Paul Tripp on Parenting is never an interruption.
  8. Matt Carter on Missional Communities. This is really challenging me right now as we think through how to take mission and community to a new level at Revolution.
  9. How and why to do daddy dates. I do these with our kids and Dads, I can’t stress how important this is.
  10. Books every leader should read. I’ve read a lot of these, but this list definitely added to my list.
  11. David Wooten on 10 ways you and your church can be involved in orphan care in 2011. This is definitely something on our hearts and these are some great ideas.
  12. This past week, Tucson was rocked by a tragedy. Here are some thoughts from Kevin DeYoung on The tragedy and God’s gift of moral language.
  13. What is the message of the Bible in one sentence?

Links of the Week

  1. The Role of Vision Casting in Preaching. I was talking with D.J. about this the other day. Very few pastors understand the power they have when they preach in terms of leadership and vision casting. Their preaching sets the tone for the church.
  2. “Sexual Detox” is now available. This is a great little book on porn, sexuality from a man’s perspective. If you are struggling with porn, this is definitely worth picking up.
  3. Collide Magazine on Who do you create for. This is a great question that many worship leaders and pastors never ask, let alone answer. If you don’t know who will be in your audience this weekend, how do you know who you are speaking to, what their needs are and what and how you will need to communicate.
  4. Justin Holcomb on 12 ways to make your teaching and writing anti-Christian. Sadly many pastors and churches these.
  5. C.J. Mahaney on The humbling power of cross-centered thinking.
  6. Al Mohler on Christianity and Yoga. This was a really helpful and thorough article. I practice yoga, but don’t meditate or pray or look for energy when I do it, for me it is about stretching and staying limber as I grow older. According to Mohler, “I don’t do yoga, I do stretching.” It is a helpful distinction and I think Christians need to be aware of where yoga came from and what it is really all about and be careful, but I also don’t think that it is wrong for a Christian to practice yoga.
  7. Steven Furticks book Sun Stand Still is only $6.99 on amazon. This was one of the best books I read all year and easily one of the best on the topics of faith and prayer. If you want a book to challenge to have big faith, pray big prayers and believe in a big God, this is the book.
  8. I’m hoping that Apple will block the new iPhone “pimp” app. Read more about it here and how to tell Apple to block it. This would be disastrous for the fight against sex trafficking if they allowed this app to be put on the iPhone.
  9. Ben Roethlisberger is back at practice. This makes me so happy.
  10. Men’s Health 20 Best Weight loss tips. Many of these have helped me over the last 2 years lose over 100 pounds.