Tag Archives: leadership

Ihmisten johtaminen on lastenleikkiä

Ei ihmisten johtaminen ole vaikeaa. Päinvastoin. Se on lastenleikkiä. Ainakin teoriassa. Pohdiskelin aihetta varsin syvällisesti n. kymmenen vuotta sitten. Olen myös lukenut yhden rekkalastillisen verran kirjoja strategioista ja johtamisesta. Roskaa suurin osa. Ei erityisen hyödyllisiä tietyn annosmäärän jälkeen ja viihteellisyydessäkin jäävät reippaasti Tex Willerille. Jos asiat yksinkertaistaa sellaiseksi kuin ne usein ovat, niistä on vaikea kirjoittaa pitkiä ja puuduttavia kirjoja. Saati sitten rakentaa yksinkertaisten ajatusten ympärille kokonaisia MBA-ohjelmia.

Tämä tekstinpätkä on erityisen relevantti startupkontekstissa, mutta pääosin ajatukset soveltuvat sellaisinaan myös kypsemmän ja isomman yrityksen johtamiskontekstiin. Startupeissa menestys lähtee joka ja ainut kerta liikkeelle porukasta. Siis ihmisistä. Jos perustaja(t) onnistuu hyvin kaikissa rekrytoinneissa ja/tai korjaa rekryvirheet tehokkaasti, on perusteet hyvällä johtamiselle ja menestykselle olemassa. Jos taas rekrytoinnit eivät osu nappiin, tulee ihmisiä, jotka eivät ole motivoituneita tai taitavia tai ovat muuten vaan liian epäyhteensopivia luonteidensa ja arvomaailmansa puolesta, niin mikään määrä hyvää tai erinomaistakaan johtamista ei todennäköisesti korjaa rekrytoinnissa tapahtuneita virheitä kuin marginaalisesti. Koska onnistunut rekrytointi on onnistumisen perusta, on ehkä vähän omituistakin että johtamista käsittelevät kirjat eivät lähde liikkeelle rekrytoinnista. Mitä parempi porukka, sitä vähemmän sitä tarvitsee johtaa.

Jos nyt oletetaan että rekrytoinneissa ollaan onnistuttu hyvin, niin mikä olisi hyvä tapa tätä jengiä sitten johtaa? Johtaminen on alueena laaja ja siitä on helppo kirjoittaa kirjasarjoja. Perustotuus lienee se että johtamaan oppii johtamalla, ja tekemällä ensin virheitä erilaisten persoonallisuuksien kanssa ja havaitsemalla mikä ei ainakaan toimi. Kymmenisen vuotta sitten halusin kuitenkin kiteyttää kolme peukalosääntöä liittyen johtamiseen. Ja näitä peukalosääntöjä olen sitten kymmeniä kertoja jakanut startuppien perustajille ja vähän kokeneemmillekin johtajille vähän anekdootin omaisesti. Ja aina erityisesti silloin kun joku on ottanut esille MBA -ohjelman (jota pääosin pidän hyödyttömänä yrittäjille, tai en ainakaan investoinnin arvoisena) tai halunsa lukea lisää johtajuudesta. Tässä ne kolme peukalosääntöä tulevat.

1. Kuuntele.

Ihmiset yleisesti ja kollegat ja alaiset erityisesti haluavat jakaa omia ajatuksiaan ja tulla kuulluksi. Johtajan oven ja mielen tulee aina olla avoinna. Ei siis niin että ovi fyysisesti ikäänkuin olisi auki, mutta tosiasiallisesti yksikään alainen ei halua tulla kertomaan omia ajatuksiaan, koska tietää keskustelusession melko nopeasti kääntyvän monologimaiseksi saarnaksi. Kuuntele.

Yksi johtajan keskeisiä tehtäviä on priorisoida asioita ja auttaa muita priorisoimaan ja saamaan kaikkein tärkeimpiä asioita valmiiksi oikea-aikaisesti. Tehtävä toisinaan muistuttaa vähän lennonjohtajana toimimista. Ei jokaiselle koneelle tule eikä pidä antaa laskeutumislupaa sitä pyydettäessä, mutta kutsuun on vastattava heti ja sovittava järjestysnumero milloin asiaan palataan, ja palattava silloin kun on sovittu.

Joskus on tietysti menossa joku luova sessio tai työpaja, jolloin pomon on hetkellisesti kenties syytä rajoittaa puheille pääsyä lähes kokonaan.

2. Pidä aina lupauksesi. Lupaa paljon.

Kuulostaa yksinkertaiselta, mutta on oikeasti hiton vaikeaa. Toimitusjohtajalla on ainutlaatuinen mahdollisuus määrittää yhtiön tekemisen tahti esimerkkiä näyttämällä. Hänellä on mahdollisuus auttaa kollegoitaan, perustajia ja johtoryhmän jäseniä suoriutumaan paremmin heidän tehtävistään.

Tuskin missään muussa positiossa on yhtä helppoa keksiä mahdollisuuksia auttaa muita ihmisiä lähes päivittäin ja tekemisen ja oman esimerkin kautta rakentaa korkea työmoraali. Vitsi on siinä että pyrkii selkeästi aina lupaamaan selkeitä aikaan sidottuja tuloksia ja pitää lupauksensa aina. Se on hyvin vaikeaa.

3. Arvosta alaisiasi.

Yksikään kasa rahaa, optioita tai osakkeita ei liikuta ihmisiä tiettyyn suuntaan yhtä tehokkaasti ja yhtä edullisesti kuin ihmisten sisältä lähtevä halu seurata johtajaa. Tarvitaan luottamusta ja molemminpuolista arvostusta. Jos arvostat ihmisiä, jotka työskentelevät sinulle ja kanssasi, osoita se heille mahdollisimman usein, niin he kyllä hyppäävät kanssasi kuraojaan kun se hetki tulee.

Kolikon kääntöpuoli on se että jos et kykene arvostamaan alaistasi, niin anna hänelle välittömästi kenkää (pätee erityisesti startupeissa). Isommissa firmoissa lienee joskus mahdollista löytää joku sopivampi positio, startupeissa tätä mahdollisuutta ei juuri koskaan ole. Kun arvostus ja luottamus loppuu, tehokkaalta tekemiseltä on pohja pudonnut pois. Kannattaa minimoida vahingot.

Väitteeni siis oli että ihmisten johtaminen on verraten helppoa teoriassa. Kuuntele. Tee aina se mitä lupaat. Arvosta. Pelkästään näiden fundamentaalisten luottamusta rakentavien asioiden noudattaminen käytännössä konsistentisti on erittäin vaikeaa. Mutta aina kannattaa yrittää. 🙂

P.S.

Tämä on vielä raakatekstin tasolla, mutta venäytin peukaloni sunnuntaina ja sen parantuminen saattaa kestää kuukausia, joten ajattelin että pistetään pihalle nyt … vaikka sitten pahasti keskeneräisenä. Toivottavasti herättää ajatuksia.

Startup Chairman’s Requirement Specification

Any company must have a board of directors and a chairman who leads the board. It is quite common practice, at least in Finland, that especially an inexperienced team will select the chairman among their advisers and business angels. The selection of the board and especially its chairman has far reaching implications. Don’t take it lightly.

Running and leading a startup’s board is a whole different ball game as compared to the board work done in more mature companies with revenues and established business models. The work in a startup’s board should be much more intense and requires practical product-level detailed tactical understanding on what a startup is up to. This is rarely the case in larger companies. It is extremely difficult for even the most prominent professional managers (or board professionals) to successfully cross over from a large company to a startup setting. And be useful and acknowledge and apply the startup sensibility. This fact alone makes most big name prominent business leaders not only useless but downright dangerous implementing their large company experiences to a vastly different setting. There, however, are few exceptions who can handle both. In brief, beware of the so called board professionals and figure out if they understand what kind of a beast a fast growing tech startup is.

So, what would then be a good high level list of competence requirements for a startup’s chairman of the board? Here is my list for the must have skills:

  • In-depth understanding and vast practical experience on how the entrepreneurial process works by transforming mere high tech ideas into commercial products. Deep understanding and experience across all operational functions of a company and how they play together.
  • Strategy and venture funding knowledge and practical experience are vital.
  • Willing and able to use enough time. The right attitude. Engaged from his heart.
  • Good understanding of corporate governance and legal in a startup context. Practical experience in managing change including hiring and firing employees, CEOs etc.
  • Understanding of the importance of a great startup culture and how to build it.
  • No fear attitude.
  • High integrity.

The following skills are nice to have:

  • Domain knowledge. A person with a fast brain and clock speed can learn any domain just by asking a set of questions and paying attention to the details. Chairman, as well as any other member of the board, must understand the domain but they can learn it on the job.
  • Networks. While a relevant network can help a lot, the chairman’s key value add should be elsewhere.
  • Celebrity status. Pick always competence over prominence. It, however, doesn’t do any harm if a chairman has a good reputation and is known as long as he is not a mere figurehead.

Being a startup’s chairman is a really tough and mostly underpaid job. A chairman must always optimize what is good for the company, not for an individual stakeholder be that an investor or founder.

The best thing about being a chairman in a startup is the fact that it will spice your life and bring a lot of excitement and takes away all your free-time problems if you so wish. 🙂

I would love to hear out your thoughts on this post. Please keep the comments coming. The best place to have the discussion is the Tough Love Angel’s Facebook page.

What Makes Dumb Money Smart?

Some time ago I decided to write a series on how to raise funding from angel investors. It is a broad topic. I start with this lengthy blog post where I explore the ways an angel investor can add value to a startup beyond mere money.

So, please grab a cup of coffee and let us begin.

What a business angel invests and expects?

An angel investor can invest dumb money, relevant knowledge or both. The combination of money and knowledge is called smart money.

  • Money. This is the easiest element to evaluate and compare alternative offers against each other. How much? What’s the funding structured (equity vs. convertible)? What is the valuation and other key terms?
  • Knowledge. A relevant knowledge is rare. Almost any investor will claim to be investing smart money. Smart knowledge applied at a pivotal point can either accelerate success or prevent a failure. Knowledge matters!

An angel investor doesn’t offer a free lunch but expects to get something back also. 

  • Return on Investment. The investor expects to get paid if a startup gets off the ground and later on gets either acquired or IPOs.
  • Control. Traditionally investors have wanted a degree of control in the companies they have invested. The latest trend is less contractual control or no control at all. The control, or ability to influence, comes through mutual relationship between the founders and the investor.

In spring time 2012, I was asked to keynote in a local startup event. I decided then to talk broadly about business angels; where do they come from, how they differ from each other, and most importantly, how to evaluate and measure their value add. Here I will present and discuss the distinct contribution dimensions and angel profiles I quickly generated back then.

I acknowledge this is not an absolutely coherent presentation of the topic but I do hope you will still be able to derive some value and gain fresh insight from this.

What are the typical angel investor profiles?

  • Super Angel. These are highly influential and rare creatures. They are mostly based in the Silicon Valley. They are prominent and deeply networked individuals with access to proprietary information through their relationships. Super angels have deep pockets and they have a diversified investment portfolio, and they like to co-invest with other super angels, and double down when initial bet turns out to be successful. Super angels are super busy and thus their contribution beyond money focuses on creating access and increasing credibility. We don’t have a single super angel in Finland. The best super angles have highly proprietary deal flow and they have a very detailed picture on what happens in the market. Their failure tolerance is high because they are the players and know the rules of the game.
  • Startup Specialist. That’s me. This is a hard position to be at. You fight against people with money and reputation. You have to be better or work harder in areas that require considerable use of non-scalable sweat i.e. time. Startup specialists have in-depth understanding how startups are built. They have been there. Preferably in the role of a CEO as nothing replaces CEO experience – nothing. The key contribution takes place in defining the product, helping the team identify and prioritize tactical steps, and being a close leadership mentor to the CEO of a startup. Good startup specialists with product sense and nuts’n bolts level understanding of the business and technology are rare.
  • Professional Manager. There are large corporation executives most of whom are taking their first baby steps with startups. Oh boy, different world! Very few professional managers have been able to cross from large corporation to a small startup without doing major damage to startup(s) in this process. They just don’t get it easily what hands-on and being lean means. A prominent CEO of a public company will always increase credibility of a startup but do be careful to follow their tactical and/or strategy advice.
  • SME Founder. If you have successfully founded a small company and made an exit, that must count for something. You probably know how to be hands-on. Having said this, most SME founders who have gotten rich but do not have background in high technology, they may be nice persons but their money is dumb as building a fast food chain don’t qualify you as a savvy tech investor. The same rule applies to successful technology entrepreneurs who were successful because they were in the right place at the right time. Luck plays a major role!

When evaluating the value add of an angel investor, please do look beyond the track record and celebrity status. Try to understand what are the specific areas he excels at and what are the basis for his claimed particular competence.

What are the key value contribution areas?

Time Usage

Most contribution areas require considerable investment of time. This is the underlying reason why sweat equity investing doesn’t scale at all. If as an entrepreneur you are looking for a strong contribution in areas that clearly require heavy usage of time (like helping you to build a go-to-market plan, or refining the core product), do ensure your angel investor is ready to spend the time needed. Measure output but be aware that certain type of output require enough time spent as input. Being smart, experienced and knowledgeable is only the prerequisite.

Failure Tolerance

Guess what happens in a startup where things go south and the future doesn’t look that bright anymore? People, including investors, panic. The more experienced ones armed with better failure tolerance panic less. An angel investor, with fear of failure and lack of failure tolerance, can become an incredible pain in the ass for a startup.

Angels who fear – both losing their money and more importantly losing their face – stop doing intros, may become hostile, and in worst cases start talking behind your back to kill your reputation while saving their own face. This is just a normal human behavior yet it shows how so few angels in practice understand the true nature of early stage investing; most will fail and there is nothing wrong with that, it’s part of the game.

Luckily, there are exceptions. Those few angels who understand the rules of the game. The ones who continue to back you up even when you are facing a certain death. My advice is never to take any angel onboard who fears failure. It is contagious and makes your life miserable.

In addition, it might be a good idea to request all angel investors to sign a memorandum of understanding in which they acknowledge that most likely outcome of the venture is that they lose their investment in full. Should this be an issue a question should be raised about their suitability of being an angel investor in the first place.

Corporate Governance

The in-depth understanding of startup legal is absolutely critical. If you are building your first startup, you don’t know what you don’t know and that’s a big problem. One of the areas where this shows is legal. An angel investor with tons of experience in startup legal is a great asset. Most angel investors, however, don’t know well enough this stuff. It is so specific with all nuances and details. Even most lawyers don’t understand this area well enough and their advice is oftentimes not good at all.

Credibility

Any new startup without proven founders and market traction has a credibility issue that prevents it from either closing early customers or raising funding. Increasing credibility means increased chance of success. Thanks to social psychology, you can enhance the perception of your company’s credibility via social proof. A prominent, important, distinguished person joining to the company as a director to its board or an advisory director. This must mean something! If you bring in a brigade general or almost any prominent person who is appreciated by your target market, tech press or your prospective customers, the credibility goes up – even if there would be no real basis for his reputation or value add to your startup. It is about the perception. Perception matters.

A prominent angel investor with good track record and reputation always increases the credibility of a startup. For an angel, this value add dimension is the most scalable way to invest knowledge (or reputation) as it doesn’t necessitate any use of time.

Network

Some angels are taken onboard because they claim or are known to have a vast network with breadth and depth. This network is further expected to translate into meaningful meetings and business opportunities through introductions. It all depends. It is not a done deal. Very few people, in fact, have a good cross-industry international networks to top decision makers in large platform companies (e.g. Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Google etc.), startups, and venture capitalists.

If you are building a mobile app or a Facebook app in Finland, if someone can introduce you to a right person in a platform company it can be very valuable. A typical Finnish angel can’t do that, as his reach stops at the border.

Influence

The network alone has almost zero value. You are looking for introductions that have impact. Introductions that will get you the meeting or a quick phone / Skype call with a decision maker right now. Many people have large networks, very few people have great influence at the highest echelons. Seek angels with influence!

It takes a lot of time (10-15 min) to write or call a good introduction. It doesn’t sound much but if you  are known for your network, the queue of introduction requests is endless. The more prominent you are, the more people ask introductions from you. Luckily, this is an area where increasing influence greatly decreases the need to write lengthy introductions.

I mainly do introductions to my inner circle, which means I can cut off the nonsense and just write “Qintro” standing for quick introduction to the email subject line. I never do an introduction if I don’t see there a fit and trust on the integrity of the participants, and neither should you.

Funding

The best angels not only know a lot of other angels but they also have experience and track record on how to raise angel and venture capital. They know what are the milestones you need to achieve to become fundable. Trying to raise capital when a venture is non-fundable is waste of everyone’s time yet companies do it all the time.

Lean Startup Strategy

Helping the founders to put together an executable plan is very valid and important value add. Things like:

  • Understanding the big picture and helping the team to define a competitive business strategy.
  • Defining meaningful customer and product development steps that are reachable yet stretchy and well aligned with the funding requirements.
  • Changing strategy in case the existing assumptions are tested and shown invalid.

Product

Startups die or fly with the product they build and launch. Adding value to product means working hands-on with the team on all aspects of a product be that its design, feature set, positioning, launch plan, choice of technologies etc.

Product contribution is the highest value adding area but it is also very complex.  An investor must spend a lot of time to truly grasp the intended product concept. The product visions of the in-house product person and investor must be in good alignment. Otherwise influencing the product vision and engineering decisions is not possible or becomes inefficient.

In addition to the above value add areas, leadership development and related contributions can be very valuable. Especially so if the founding team and its CEO are doing their first startup.

I don’t know why but spelling this stuff out from my mind felt like a big effort this time and I am not completely satisfied with the result. Anyways, I decided to get it done and publish it today no matter what.

Let me know what you think about this, and if you think I have missed or ignored something that I should have said here, please do let me know, and I will make this even better.

Nokia Startups Mistake #10 – Go-To-Market Strategy

This is part of my Nokia Startups Mistakes series. For a backgrounder, please read the introduction.

Selling an unknown product built by an unknown startup is not easy. Some Nokia-based startups do have marvelous go-to-market plans that could work but only if the startup had both the credibility and resources of a larger, more established company.

As they don’t have either, the plans will most likely fail miserably. Every startup desperately needs an entry point to its market, an entry point to close the first customer, then second, and so on. Problems with go-to-market strategies stem from not understanding customers and their needs well enough, and perhaps with Nokia background it is just a little bit easier to have an attitude problem and think that distribution and scaling up are not a big issues – as they never were while working at Nokia. Yeah, right.

I hope you will enjoy this series, the thoughts it provokes, and the discussion it triggers. Please do participate to the discussion by sharing your own angle and experiences on this topic, or commenting on something, anything on this post. The preferred place for discussion is the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ToughLoveAngel.

If you would like to get notified of a new post, please follow me on Twitter, and subscribe to the blog and its Facebook page.

Nokia Startups Mistake #9 – The Arrogant A**hole

“Don’t be an *sshole.”  

This article originally appeared on ArcticStartup.

This is part of my Nokia Startups Mistakes series. For a backgrounder, please read the introduction. This is a somewhat difficult mistake for me to write about as I haven’t personally witnessed it in my interactions with Nokia-based startups. Some angels and VCs, however, have mentioned enough times that they think quite many ex Nokians suffer from being arrogant. This behavioral trait most likely is rooted in how things were done at Nokia Corporation.

Let me first define what is understood with arrogance here.

In authoritarian leadership style a Nokia executive while still at Nokia directed his subordinates and especially external vendors to make various things happen without providing any intrinsic or monetary motivation beyond punishment in case of non-compliance. This style may work in a large corporation where an executive holds undisputed authority over his subordinates, and vendors are at the mercy of the corporation and its dictators.

When a Nokia executive who has lost his beloved badge, and the authority and recognition that came with it, continues to command external people and service providers without offering any other motivation than his lost authority – that’s what we call as arrogance.

Why arrogance can be bad?

Most startups are broke. To get things done, entrepreneurs need to leverage their own network and the networks of their co-founders, investors and advisors. Sometimes you need to get service from previously unknown service providers at below market price or paying with equity only. People don’t move their asses and do favors just because you say so but instead they want to get something in return – like feel good in helping you out, or get a pole position to offer their services later on when you can pay with real money. A startup co-founder, and this applies especially to the CEO, has to know how to ask help, and how to get people do things for him while most of the time the only instant payback is his gratitude. But make no mistake, earning someone’s gratitude and trust, and thus being able to someday ask help yourself, that’s incredibly powerful.

What then motivates people help each other?

So far we have firmly established the following two things:

  1. To get things done fast on a timely manner, and to operate at low costs in the early days, a startup needs to tap into the network of its co-founders and advisors, and once and awhile source important services while not being able to pay any significant money.
  2. Being arrogant, i.e. trying to exercise authority on people you don’t have any authority, is not going to help you win people on your side.

So, how should you then deal with people?

What are the six weapons of influence?

Robert B. Cialdini is my hero. He is the author of one of the greatest business books ever written: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. This book is a must read for anyone who ever needs to deal with other people, yeah – it’s like a bible is for believers. The book is fun to read and reviews many of the most important theories on and experiments in social psychology.

I have just summarized here Cialdini’s thoughts for your convenience, but to truly grasp them you should read the book.

  1. Reciprocation. We humans are unique amongst all animals as we incur debt from services and gifts from other people, and then we feel a growing urge to pay back. Likewise if we say no to someone that tried to sell us something, we become more prone to buy something from the same guy later on.
  2. Commitment and consistency. Once people have made a choice or taken a stand, they are under both internal and external pressure to behave consistently with that commitment. When you get someone to commit verbally to an action, the chances go up sharply that they’ll actually honor that commitment.
  3. Social proof. This is a very powerful shortcut that many smart and dumb people take in the times of information overload. Most investors are sheep that follow one other, and thus getting a lead investor that serves as a credible social proof will get you the rest.
  4. Liking. People love to say ‘yes’ to requests from people they know and like. And people tend to like others who appear to have similar opinions, personality traits, background, or lifestyle. More people will say ‘yes’ to you if they like you, and the more similar to them you appear to be, the more likely they are to like you.
  5. Authority. Most kids are raised with a respect for authority. Authority plays internally little role – yet it has a role – in startups which are meritocracies, and to get external people do things for you just because you say so – yeah, that’s arrogance and probably doesn’t work.
  6. Scarcity. Opportunities seem more valuable when they are less available. This, again, is a very important principle e.g. when raising funding or recruiting new people.

To summarize:

Startups should be meritocracies and thus ruling by authority doesn’t work inside or outside the company. To get outside people do favors for you, besides paying money for their services, you need to offer them incentives grounded to social psychology. Asking for help, for instance, is a very powerful way to empower people. People, in general, like to help other people when nicely asked, as long as the effort required is decent, and you pay back with your gratitude.

And, read the Cialdini’s book – you will have lots of fun, and the probability that you will be able to raise funding from investors or buy services below market rate increases.

I hope you will enjoy this series, the thoughts it provokes, and the discussion it triggers. Please do participate to the discussion by sharing your own angle and experiences on this topic, or commenting on something, anything on this post. The preferred place for discussion is the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ToughLoveAngel.

If you would like to get notified of a new post, please follow me on Twitter, and subscribe to the blog and its Facebook page.

Nokia Startups Mistake #8 – Product-Market Misfit

“Imaginary products based on pure guesswork won’t typically sell well.” 

This is part of my Nokia Startups Mistakes series. For a backgrounder, please read the introduction.This post builds upon previous posts about being far from your customers and the minimum viable product.

The single point I want to highlight in this post is the fact that a channel partner is not your customer.  Therefore you should not pay too much attention to their requirements. This is a common mistake for all entrepreneurs but perhaps even more common to Nokia-based startups as both Nokia and its network part are known for designing their products to mobile operator requirements. While this approach back in time was a competitive advantage for Nokia, the same approach won’t work for a startup.

Your channel is not your customer

I have been thunderstruck that some Nokia-based startups are not laser-focused on end users and their needs. They rather have a technology-driven and channel-centric mindset where building a product starts with internal product specification shaped lightly by feedback from prospective channel partners. Unlike a fragile startup, mobile operators with fear of Google and Apple, have all the time in the world to specify imaginary products that would in their dreams help them to stay relevant and compete against Google/Apple juggernauts. Most of these imaginary products can’t be pushed to end users unless they really want them.

Focusing on an imaginary product without true end user pull means typically a bitter death for a startup. Some products, e.g. many telecom products, have relatively long product development cycle, which further increases the overall risk. And this because you burn all the cash and when the real end users reject your product, then the channel rejects your product too, and at the end of the day there simply is no more money left for a pivot.

If you build a product to your channel, you don’t know if there is any real end user driven demand, and therefore a sustainable market for your product or not. You are practically betting your startup’s future on guesswork by a middle man. How stupid is that?

It makes a lot of sense to pay most attention to end users as they will ultimately decide which products fly or die. This is not to say that channels wouldn’t be important – yes, they are – but do design your product with real end users’ needs in mind.

I hope you will enjoy this series, the thoughts it provokes, and the discussion it triggers. Please do participate to the discussion by sharing your own angle and experiences on this topic, or commenting on something, anything on this post. The preferred place for discussion is the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ToughLoveAngel.

If you would like to get notified of a new post, please follow me on Twitter, and subscribe to the blog and its Facebook page.