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Mind The Product: Paving the Cow Paths and Other Stories

Some campfire stories of product management at Facebook.

In 2016, I had the privilege to give a talk at Mind the Product in London.

Mind the Product is the largest product management conference in the world, so it was a huge responsibility to deliver a talk I hoped was both interesting and useful.

Here’s the summary from the organisers:

Facebook product manager Simon Cross chose to talk what has influenced his theories of product management at this year’s London MTPCon, giving the audience some constructive advice and leaving them with some food for thought. Cross has spent most of his six years with the company working on developer products and is currently working on Facebook at Work. “I’m pretty sure I’m a terrible product manager,” he joked, “at least I used to be - and I’ve spent most days in the past six years thinking about how I can be better.”

In what proved to be a recurring theme of the conference, Cross said that analogies have shaped what he now is as a product manager – the captain of the pirate ship, the conductor of the orchestra. If you’re steering in the wrong direction the shipmates will throw you overboard, or you’re helping the players deliver an amazing experience to the audience.

But the product managers who came before him at Facebook and the products they built have been instrumental in shaping his theories of product management – so Cross chose to look at what could be learned from some of their camp fire stories.

Tradeoffs and Payoffs
Tradeoffs and Payoffs
Simon Cross