PRODUCTHEAD: A single point of failure

PRODUCTHEAD: A single point of failure

PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.

everything in its right product


Even seemingly successful companies fail because of “one thing”

Amazon is winning because it’s playing the game differently

6 ways to defend your business from systemic stresses

Practical ways to build your mental resilience to setbacks


I’m super-stressed and getting a bit snappy with people, and I don’t like myself for it. But I’m finding ways to keep things under control and in perspective.

One of the oddly reassuring thoughts I’ve had is that living through a global pandemic is still less stressful than the job I left in 2012. That was the one that almost caused me to give up product management entirely.

I didn’t, because instead I accidentally started a business.

I was at a conference and was embarrassed about being unemployed. So when someone asked me who I worked for, I made up a company and what we did: Product People – we help people to build better products, more successfully.

When this was met with an unexpected amount of interest, I apologised for the lack of business cards (for my non-existent company), then spent the rest of the week rapidly setting up the company, website and bank account. Minimum viable company, if you like.

While I didn’t get any work from the person I was talking to, I did realise I was a bit more resilient than I’d given myself credit for. I stopped thinking I’d failed, and started thinking how happy I was to have left a horrific employer.

So this week, as Product People turns 8 years old, I’ve been thinking about different types of resilience and have shared a few good reads with you below.

Speak to you soon,


what to think about this week

Brittleness comes from “one thing”

It’s fun talking about companies that failed because they were vaporware, were attempting to solve a non-problem, or simply downright dysfunctional.

In this article, Jason Cohen looks at some of the reasons why companies suddenly fail, even though they had a good idea, a market and real, paying customers.

Add some resilience to your business


Amazon is eating the software world

Simon Wardley’s writing engages, challenges and perplexes me in equal measure. He has a mapping technique for thinking about your product strategy that will be a revelation (once you wrap your head around it).

Once you understand the technique, you start to understand how companies like Amazon are winning by playing a completely different strategic game to their competitors.

The runaway success of AWS is no fluke


Don’t miss out on my Product Management Masterclass

You still have time to grab tickets to my live, conference-style sessions running on Tuesdays in October.

  1. What Do Product Managers Do (And Not Do)?
  2. Understanding User Needs
  3. The Secrets of Meaningful Product Roadmaps
  4. Landing and Starting Your Product Manager Job

Each session is USD $20 to attend, and you’ll get 25% off when you buy tickets to all four.


A guide to building a more resilient business

We can define resilience as a company’s capacity to absorb stress, recover critical functionality, and thrive in altered circumstances. COVID-19 has highlighted how reliant business in fact are on each other, and where the weak points in the ecosystem are.

This is Harvard Business Review’s guide to some of the strategies you can use to build resilience into your business.

Embrace change as the default


7 ways to look after your wellbeing at work

Brenda Wong knows that working life isn’t perfect. Even if you are doing what you love, you’ll encounter obstacles, challenges and setbacks that’ll test the most jovial of employees. This is why it’s so important to build resilience.

Be compassionate with yourself


recent posts

You wouldn’t drive blindfolded, would you?

Imagine yourself jumping into your car, strapping in, and firing up the engine. You have a quick look around then pull on a blindfold before launching yourself into traffic. Likelihood of an accident? (Quite high.)

So why do so many take the exact same approach when it comes to creating products?

Take off the blindfold


Save yourself from product management hell

You know you’re in product management hell when you realise corporate strategy is absent or dysfunctional. I’ve certainly been there. This video shows you how to define your product strategy and use it to (hopefully) influence corporate strategy.

‘Get of hell free’ cards available here


The black art of designing content

While distracting myself from doing real work this week, I learnt the phrase ‘black art’ comes from the world of printing presses. So I delved deeper into the world of content design. Eventually I found a product management angle.

Fonts, content and solid user research


upcoming talks and events

13th October 2020, 16:00 BST / 11:00 EDT

Product Management Digital Masterclass

Understanding User Needs


20th October 2020, 15:00 BST / 10:00 EDT

Product Management Digital Masterclass

The Secrets of Meaningful Product Roadmaps


27th October 2020, 15:00 GMT / 11:00 EST

Product Management Digital Masterclass

Landing and Starting Your Product Manager Job


can we help you?

Product People is a product management services company. We can help you through consultancy, training and coaching. Just contact us if you need our help!

Product People Limited logo

Helping people build better products, more successfully, since 2012.

PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from old episodes of The Simpsons.

Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock Busuttil is a product management and leadership coach, product leader and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *