Product management for SMB marketing websites?

A distinction we like to highlight at Postlight is that a product manager is not a project manager. Don’t get me wrong. Project management is important. But the focus is too often on maintaining a process, not shipping a product. That’s sensible on big projects, but less useful when you need to bring a product into the light. Product managers get in there. Moving things around. Dropping things off. Explaining to the team that the research doesn’t support this tactical move or that. My co-founder Paul Ford says that a good product manager has a crooked index finger from hitting “Command-R” to reload a web app tens of thousands of times. I think that’s right — you’re looking for that person willing to obsessively look at tiny changes until the entire picture of the product comes into view.

Source: What Makes a Good Product Manager?

Tangent time.

Lately I’ve been thinking about SMB marketing websites & eCommerce websites in the context of product management.

You have all the ingredients of a web app. There are UX considerations, performance considerations, back-end logic and infrastructure considerations, user stories and jobs-to-be-done.

(Isn’t monthly unique traffic similar enough to MAUs?)

So, along that train of thought… I wonder what principles we can borrow from product management and apply to SMB marketing & eComm websites?

(Aside: I’m a big fan of Postlight. You should read their blog and subscribe to their podcast.)

Missing GeoCities

Basically, I miss Geocities. I miss the feeling of any given webpage being a moment in time, a familiar blaze on an unfamiliar trail, a place where URL hacking was a shortcut and not state manipulation. I want apps to look like I’ve been there, not like the Ghost of Material Design has. I want the web to look like my living space, which is neither clean nor limited to a six-color palette. The one-page webapps that neatly shunt us into text areas do so beautifully, but all the content we can ever create won’t break the surface of their style guide. They tell us to make more things that look like this and act like this. There’s comfort in consistency, sure—but that horizon in the distance is only a landscape, painted on a sheet.

Source: Bless This Mess

Props to Kevin Barrett from Postlight for the pang of nostalgia.

We’ve got all this hype around authenticity and individuality and being creative. Meanwhile we’re rearranging grey boxes on our screens and calling it cutting-edge design.