Given that the solutions we’re building are entirely new, I thought it’d be a good idea to share a few thoughts on our vision.
Product management is an art: we draw from our past experience, our instincts and other inputs to bring new things to life. Steve Jobs took this notion to an extreme, sometimes remarking that he didn’t hire engineers — he hired artists.
That’s all fine and nice. But art — and the creative process — is messy. Erasers exist for a reason. And no matter how purposeful we aim to be when making something new, our brains can’t even come close to making sense of all the inputs from reality that could make our creation better, faster or more elegant.
How does this look in the business world? Too often, product and market decisions are made in an ad hoc manner using only a partial view of reality. When identifying product requirements for a new market, for example, an executive may ask her direct reports for analysis. The answers that come back may be based on any number of things: the team’s best estimation; third-party research; an amalgam of market data and sales numbers.
While it sounds reasonable, this process has two glaring deficiencies. First, it’s highly unlikely that the exec’s direct reports will have clarity into every market nuance and all the necessary requirements — a much larger group should be polled. Second, the process doesn’t leverage data in a structured, repeatable manner. The executive and her team are going to have to take a leap of faith and make a best guess. Finally, since the decision-making process wasn’t transparent and inclusive, other team members may question the decision if sales numbers fail to meet expectations down the line.
This is the weakness of product development as an art. While past experiences and gut instinct are necessary, they’re not sufficient. In order to make consistently good product and market decisions, it’s imperative to add a scientific dimension to the product development process.
Wizeline aims to do exactly this. With our product intelligence solutions, companies are able to gather data from across their organization to clearly understand the market potential of the products they are considering building. From here, companies can easily track product success rates to calculate the ROI of their engineering investments.
But this is just the beginning. We’re working to create what we refer to loosely as “the corporate brain,” a platform that assembles disparate business data, accelerates group decision-making and “remembers” team success rates over time.
Right now, Wizeline answers “Which products should we build?” In future, we’ll help companies use science to answer a much broader set of questions. Which partner will deliver the highest upside? What should compensation look like for each and every hire? In which market should we invest most heavily? Many of these questions are currently answered arbitrarily or by convention. We envision more science.
Follow our progress and share your ideas on Twitter: @thewizeline.
– Bismarck Lepe, Wizeline Founder & CEO