A rapid energetic often improvised verbal outpouring; especially one that is part of a comic performance.
– Merriam-Webster definition of “riffing”
Last week I delivered an improvised and somewhat comical keynote speech on product differentiation to the Ottawa Product Management Association. OPMA is one of those great professional development and networking organizations that brings together smart people with a passion for their calling. OPMA is ably led by Mark Lindsay and sponsored by Stratford Managers clients Macadamian Technologies and Ross Video (among others).
Following the advice of presentation skills guru Anil Dilawri, I spent 45 minutes telling stories: stories about Apple (of course), stories about my experience at Nortel with a product called COMPANION, stories about fine white crystals (sugar – what were you thinking?) and stories about stairs, elevators and escalators. My objective was to convince the audience that the responsibility for product differentiation falls squarely into their laps as product managers – I challenged them to step up or find another career!
Having thus endeared myself to my audience, I shared my stories, told a bad joke at Mark’s expense then mercifully wrapped up with 7 key pieces of advice for product managers:
And because I invoked Apple and Steve Jobs during my presentation I finished with “one more thing . . .”
Don’t just aspire to keep up with someone else’s great ideas. The job of a product manager is to create something simple and differentiated through superior customer value and user experience. Feature parity is feature parody.