Product Managment

Pragmatic Marketing Product Managment

A few weeks ago i was able to take 2 courses from Pragmatic Marketing. I took “Practical Product Management” and “Requirements That Work”. I can’t say enough about these two classes. The instructor was very knowledgeable and had great everyday examples of the application of the concepts. I encourage anyone who feels overwhelmed as a Product Manager to look into this. For the price you will not find anything better. After my 2 day class i took the certification class, i have never been a great test taker but it felt easy after all the instruction we had. I am happy to say i passed.

The classes finally helped me to feel confident in the direction i was taking products because i knew i was making decisions for the right reasons. So try it out. Download and read their E-books. Tell me what you think.

Business, Engineering, General, Product Managment

Apple iPhone, SDK released

First the information you really want to know;

  • iPhone update 2.0  and public SDK will be released in June.
  • iPhone Beta SDK released today for $99.
  • iFund by KPCB VC worth $100,000,000 to be invested into the iPhone dev community.

Now on to the more nitty gritty details.

  • Exchange Support; Email, Cal, Directory
  • Cisco IPsec VPN
  • Cocoa Touch is how to build iPhone applications
  • With the SDK you can debug your plugged in iPhone
  • iPhone simulator also in the SDK
  • Ability to program against OpenGL, 3D
  • EA built a version of Will Wrights SPORE
  • Sega creating real 3D console games for iPhone
  • Aol IM client for the phone (ability to use bonjour for connections, imagine meeting people on the train around you)
  • Access to the iPhones Database SQLite
  • Applications delivered and updated over WiFi or Edge using the AppStore provided by Apple.

I will have more details later… See you soon.

Message to Steve Jobs:

Dear Steve,

Did you wake up one morning and while having your morning Starbucks mocha choca lata yaya decide that it was the perfect day to crumble the once powerful enterprise mobile communication solution known as Rim/Blackberry. If this was how your decision was made then my hat is off to you. Well played Jobs, well played.


Shaun Gehring

Business, Engineering, General, Product Managment

Apple iTv, is it for me?

When you look at an Apple product you realize that Apple has though, thought again an then maybe over though the product. With the iTv they have taken something that most of us already have in our home and improved upon it. On Demand content.


We all love having On Demand content in a world of “I want this and i want it now”. Our cable and satellite providers have given us and continue to give us the largest amount of content at one time but for a price. In the world today with our busy schedules sure having 700+ channels is great but how much of that and our dollars are wasted. To combat that is the infamous “A la cart” cable, great idea, not for the cable companies though. A la cart would allow you to only purchase the channels you really want to watch, that means less money for the cable providers.

What has apple done? Now we have this iTv that without a PC you can buy/rent tv shows and movies (we don’t even need to get into youtube and flickr). So now you have basically a set top “cable” style box. Right now we can rent movies for about the same price as VOD/EOD and buy tv shows for $0.99. But, you know that Apple has something up their sleeve. Think about what apple could do with a mere software update! Let’s play “What If”!

What if Apple finds a way to get as many content rights as Hulu and they start to add some commercials to the content and charge $0.00 for Tv Shows!!! What effect could this have on the Cable industry? Instead of paying $40 – $100 a month for Tv you pay $0.00. Unless you are a Tv-holic don’t you only care about the major shows, so you might miss a Mtv reality nightmare or two but maybe this will force more production houses to supply their content via digital means.

Consumer: Wants Tv/Movies when they want them for the lowest cost.

Show Producers: Wants the most amount of advertising dollars for the show.

So, What could iTv Be?

  • Free Tv Shows (saved indefinitely – ads updated)
  • Movies bought and rented
  • Flickr, Youtube, Trailers, Video Phone???

If Apples wants to they are gaining the ability to rock the cable world as we know it. They have gained the trust of the mass consumer electronic market and are gaining market share at a record pace. Will they do it? Are they already working on it? Call me a Apple prophet if you will but only time will tell.

Business, Engineering, General, Product Managment

The great Chumby debate!

For those of you that havn’t seen it you can find a chumby here Chumby

The lowdown

  • Wi-fi connectivity • access to the free Chumby Network • 3.5″ LCD color touchscreen • two external USB 2.0 full-speed ports • 350 MHz ARM processor • 64 MB SDRAM • 64 MB NAND flash ROM • stereo 2W speakers • headphone output • squeeze sensor • accelerometer (motion sensor) • leather casing • AC adapter included
  • The dimensions are: 5 1/2″ wide, 4 1/4″ tall, 3 1/4″ deep at the base, and 2 1/4″ deep at the top. Here’s the chumby next to a regular size coffee cup.
  • Plug it in, connect to your wireless network, and use your computer to choose a playlist of “widgets” (the bite-sized applications that run on a chumby)
  • Because it’s always on, the chumby must be plugged in to an AC outlet.
  • The chumby costs $179.95.

The Functionality

Widgets, Screens and Power cables, Ohhhh my! So they are marketing a Widget panel. That’s cool so you can take your widgets with you right? Wrong! it has to be plugged in at all times because it NEVER goes into sleep mode. Not like the pesky iPhone or Nintendo DS. So as long as you are near WiFi and an outlet you will always have weather and email, unlike your laptop. On there website one of the selling points is that it can hook op to your iPod and be a boombox, ony one problem, the songs shuffle and you cannot choose what to play.

The Look

It’s beautiful…. I mean i look at it and see a Lexus Headrest with a LCD mounted in it, don’t you.chumby with mug
It looks so soft you probably want to hold it while you watching Tv on the couch (i hope there is an AC outlet close). The screen is slightly smaller than the iPhones.

Saving the best for last

More amazing than the device itself is the company that produces it. They will defend the product to the ends of the earth, here are some quotes the Chumby senior team;

the chumby is always in a state of continuous improvement — that’s the real innovation here — and it challenges the point-in-time judgment model (”Am I glad I bought this product or not?” “Was it worth the money?” “Here’s what’s good and what’s bad about this product!”) With Chumby, you’re buying into an “open development vector.” Huh? How in Hell does someone review or pass judgment on that? There’s the rub.

Anyone who got one of our early alpha prototypes, and complains that it was very limited, ummmm, didn’t we mention at the time that it was *alpha* hardware? — should be judged on what works, not on what doesn’t work, i.e., it was an early “proof of concept,” not a finished product. And, by that standard, people who understood what this stage means *loved” it.

Carping about the limitations of a free prototype seems ungrateful at best. But…whatever…wait until all the teenagers in your neighborhood have one, check it out, and then let us all know what you think.

Don’t want to belabor this, and sorry if I’m grumpy and “un-PR” about the topic, but the prototypes were expensive for a start-up and were offered with the very specific and stated quid pro quo that people who took them o requested them needed to be willing to do something of value for us in return — hack it, write widgets for it, play with it and blog about it, provide *informed* feedback after some reasonable expereice with it, whatever.

My Thoughts

Chumby is trying to compete in a niche market, they are a very small San Diego startup. Microsoft has tried the same thing with there SideShow devices at a $80 price and still hasn’t been able to make it work. I love the line that said “wait until all the teenagers on your street have one”, well, on my street everyone has iPhones, the funny thing is they have a battery, there always connected to the internet, they play video, they have widgets and ooh yea, i almost forgot, IT’S A PHONE!!!


Business, Engineering, General, Product Managment

Industry Software Shift

I started out programming with VB and ASP. Over the years i need to expand my skills to Java, PHP, Etc… The marketplace for a long time seemed to be embracing Open Source with “Open” arms. Over the last few weeks though i have heard of multiple large companies shifting to or even back to Microsoft for their solutions. Some that i know of have even gone as far as getting rid of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Sun servers. What is sparking this? Microsoft had not announced or released a new “Messiah” of business suites.

Well, my humble opinion is that my “VB/ASP” generation of developers is now moving into those once coveted VP and CTO positions and they want to got back to what they are comfortable with. If this truly is the case, what will happen when generation AJAX takes the helm?