Amrinder Sandhu

Learn

To improve what I know and learn what I don’t know, I read blogs and articles. Here’s what I find useful.

Code alone can’t solve every problem. It’s okay to do things that don’t scale.

How Design Thinking transformed Airbnb from a failing startup to a billion dollar business

While Airbnb is data driven, they don’t let data push them around. Instead of developing reactively to metrics, the team often starts with a creative hypothesis, implements a change, reviews how it impacts the business and then repeats that process.

Individual team members at Airbnb make small bets on new features, and then measure if there’s a meaningful return on the bet. If there’s a payoff, they send more pirates in that direction. This structure encourages employees to take measured, productive risks on behalf of the company that can lead to the development of major new features. It allows Airbnb to move quickly and continually find new opportunities.

I always rely on a todo list. Now I know it has other benefits.

Writing to-do lists helps your brain (whether or not you finish them)

Keeping a list of tasks you need to perform is like taking notes when you’re reading a book or listening to a lecture. When you take notes, you need to filter external information, summarize it in your head, and then write it down. Many studies have shown that note taking helps us distill the information we hear and remember it better than we would if we’d just heard or read it.

So this is how Amazon innvotes at scale: relentlessly practising their principles.

Want to innovate like Amazon? Here’s their formula

You can’t escape Amazon in the digital economy. Now a trillion-dollar company, they have disrupted diverse sectors from retail to software development with a deftness and drive that’s admirable and alarming. They actually seem to be speeding up their rate of innovation as they scale, defying the Law of Large Companies that causes giants to get dragged down by their own girth. How do they manage that? A week ago at the MIT Platform Strategy Summit, Dirk Didascalou, vice president of IoT at Amazon Web Services (AWS), laid out their approach to innovating at scale.

Different ways to communicate product changes and how to select them.

How to communicate product changes to your users

When it comes to communicating new features and functionality, your main objectives are driving awareness and promoting adoption. That’s why you want to convey both the why and the how. When announcing something new, it can be tempting to start the story off with capabilities. But before you tap into your inner infomercial host, remember that users don’t really care about what a product can do. They care about what a product can do for them.

Output is a means to an end: Outcome.

Why product teams should focus on outcomes over output

Deciding what your engineers should do next can be a lot like climbing a ladder. On the lowest rung is a problem to be solved. At the top is an impact on the business, a change in the bottom line. Instead of trying to jump straight from the theoretical business impact to a directive for your R&D teams, it’s essential to stop for a moment and consider: “What is the desired outcome? If we implement a new feature, how will customer behavior change in a meaningful way?”