PRODUCTHEAD: Prize winners / reinventing HR

PRODUCTHEAD: Prize winners / reinventing HR

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

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tl;dr #

Netflix on HR: “Be honest, and treat people like adults”

How commission-based recruitment usually works, from an insider

a favour: please share this with other product people

every PRODUCTHEAD edition is online for you to refer back to


One of the things I don’t miss about my old jobs is HR. Just the name, “human resources”, sets out its stall as something that is only sees people as dehumanised workers feeding the corporate machine.

Much of company HR policy and procedure tends to fulfil two purposes: to prevent a minority of idiots from doing stupid things; and to attempt to reduce the likelihood of the company being on the receiving end of an employment tribunal for bad practice.

This week I was drawn to an article written by the former head of talent at Netflix. It’s a refreshing pragmatic take on HR that really speaks more about the underlying culture there: recruit great people (not idiots), and then trust them to act like adults and do great things.

Does your organisation trust you?

Speak to you soon,


#ProductCon prize draw winners

Thank you for all the entries to win tickets to #ProductCon this month.

By the power of the RANDBETWEEN() function in Excel, here are the winners picked at random:

  1. L Ball
  2. R Faulkner
  3. (anonymous)
  4. I T Ly
  5. D Pollender
  6. S Moore
  7. A Mafi
  8. G Beckett
  9. (anonymous)

All the emails letting people know they’re a winner have gone out, so if your name’s on the list and you’ve not received yours, check your spam folder.

#ProductCon will send the Hopin link to join the virtual event to me a week before, so I’ll forward that over to the winners then.

what to think about this week

How Netflix reinvented HR

When Netflix executives wrote a PowerPoint deck about the organization’s talent management strategies, the document went viral—it’s been viewed more than 5 million times on the web. Now one of those executives, the company’s longtime chief talent officer, goes beyond the bullet points to paint a detailed picture of how Netflix attracts, retains, and manages stellar employees.

Hire fully formed adults


Want to know how recruitment agencies work?

I often get asked about the process of recruitment from the point of view of someone who does it for money. What are the stages, how does it work, what does the life cycle of a hire look like? So I thought a great first post for the site should be just that – a transparent look at what the life cycle of a normal paid for recruitment commission based process looks like. This is not an every outcome post, but an idea of the main processes.

Lifting the veil on recruitment


Product Management Coaching

Whether you’re new to product management or have been a product manager for years, a coaching session can help you to step up your career.

We’ve coached people wanting to get into product management, product people with nobody in their organisation to manage them, and experienced product managers preparing to apply for a promotion.

We can help you prepare for your product manager interview, including mock interviews.

“Jock has been instrumental in my personal growth as a product leader but also as a person.”

Ludovic Lacay

Ludovic Lacay
Co-founder & Chief Product Officer, Napo

A proportion of the fees from every coaching session is donated to charity. Just reply to this email if you’re interested in finding out more.

recent posts

The product leader’s guide to interviewing

As a product leader, you will inevitably be hiring at some point. Be under no illusions — hiring is a lengthy and time-consuming process. In each of the head of product roles I’ve been in, at least half of my time was devoted to ongoing recruitment. The larger the product team, the more recruitment you’ll be doing.

Objective, unbiased assessment


Replatforming the cash cow

Recently people all seem to be encountering the same problem. Their engineering teams are choosing to work on projects that make them look busy, but which don’t actually move things forward. What they’re usually working on is a convoluted — and arguably doomed — attempt to replatform a legacy ‘cash cow’ product.

A strong signal to discover the replacement product


The unifying principles of product management

A recent tweet by John Cutler provoked some interesting reactions. It got me thinking about whether there are unifying principles of product management that apply in all contexts.

Become one with everything


What to do when service transformation goes wrong

When companies set out to improve a service or redesign a product, the results can sometimes be underwhelming. Instead of delivering service transformation, the team recommends only minor efficiency tweaks. If this has been happening to you, there can be many underlying causes. I’ve identified a few common problems and what you can you do about them.

Change means doing things differently, not just a rebrand


upcoming talks and events

10th November 2021 – 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM (PT)

Defining Your North Star Inputs & Flywheels with John Cutler

So you’ve figured out an inspiring North Star Metric. Your team is excited. But by design, a good North Star Metric is not immediately actionable. To operationalize the framework, it will be necessary to align on a set of key North Star Inputs.

While well-defined inputs are an essential part of the North Star Framework, they are often overlooked. During this session, John Cutler, co-author of the North Star Playbook, will share a foundation to pick the right inputs across varying use cases and explore the importance of testing a flywheel hypothesis.


18th November 2021 – 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM (PST) 

Win tickets to #ProductCon

ProductCon conference

Organized by Product School and structured around the hottest topics in Product Management, ProductCon takes place online four times per year, and gathers over 15,000 product professionals from all over the world.

ProductCon is hosted on the cutting-edge virtual event platform, Hopin. Recreating the look and feel of an in-person event without the hassle or travel, you’ll be able to watch presentations, access slides, interact with speakers, network with fellow attendees, and even collect goodies from the virtual booths.


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!

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

PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from albums that I can’t believe are 20 years old.

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.

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