The Blog, Reading, Previous Post on Economic Indifference

You wait. Or, if you’ve waited before like I have, you know that your blog service is not an ongoing business, so you know it will be a while before it’s up again–like 30 days. This time that realization has pushed me over the exit barriers.

I’ve got a backlog of topics that just keeps on growing.

I’m reading Blue Ocean Strategy for the Product Management book club over on Oddly enough, that site isn’t loading either. Is it me, or the backbone? Blue Ocean Strategy is a good book to read if you are in a commodity space facing limited growth in the late market. Such strategy is an alternative to 1-to-1 marketing, mass customization, value-basing, or pushing another technology through adoption. Such strategy focuses on business innovation, rather than technical innovation.

I’m also reading Hype Cycle. The authors of this book implore others to be pragmatic, and offers services aimed at pragmatists. Like other pragmatic CIO literature, waiting for maturity is seen as the safest strategy. Contrary to Killer App, which implored others to take more risks and be early adopters, this back in the dot boom, Hype Cycle pushes the opposite extreme. The reality is that markets are structured around risk. That provides low entry barriers for disruptors and stability around long-term expectations. The recession has pushed everyone into a more pragmatic stance. Still, early adopters are ready recession or not.

It seems a bit nuts to be reading both of these strategy impacting books at the same time.

I’m also reviewing and extending the reach of my understanding of mathematics. Programming involves representations. Likewise, mathematics.

Then there is the product management tweet stream over on If you are interested, follow me @DavidWLocke, or follow all of us by filtering on the #prodmgmt tag.

My last blog entry on the old blog site dealt with economic indifference, and what it meant to product managers. This topic originated in the Wednesday tweetup #pmv. A ton of topics came up in that discussion. It was also mentioned in a few earlier posts around the idea that product managers drive via accounting data, which I claimed was backwards looking, and that led to the question of how to drive in a forward looking manner. Economic indifference gives us a tool.

I’ve suggested using business rule that define the context of the product, or the hole that the product fills. Those business rules would then be used as test cases in Test-Driven Design, which is a methodology where you write the test cases before you code. If the code was tested against the constraints, then the product manager would get something that complied with the context. The rules would have to be communicated.

The rules could be used as a big stick in that they could restrain the developer to a very narrow solution. This is what causes Agilists to have problems with the concept of product management. The product manager would have to specifify the rules minimally to provide a maximum in terms of the degrees of freedom that the programmer has to work with.

The degrees of freedom is another way of saying that the product manager needs to be indifferent to the details as long as they are within the scope of the context, or hole that the program must fill. The product manager cannot specify everything. They must only specify the minimum. They can communicate intent, goals, and limits. But, coding would be impossible, if the programmer had to have everything approved by the product manager. Neither would be able to do their jobs. Disaster would ensue. That a product manager could code the application doesn’t mean that they should.


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5 Responses to “The Blog, Reading, Previous Post on Economic Indifference”

  1. The Blog, Reading, Previous Post on Economic Indifference Says:

    […] Original post by davidwlocke […]

  2. RaiulBaztepo Says:

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  3. PiterKokoniz Says:

    Hello !!!! 😉
    I am Piter Kokoniz. Just want to tell, that I’v found your blog very interesting
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    Sorry for my bad english:)
    Thank you!
    Your Piter

    • davidwlocke Says:

      I am an independent product manager, and the Executive Vice President of NHDS, Inc., where I was responsible for marketing and product strategy. I also have an interest in information physics, and developed something I call the Triangle Model that organizes decisions towards realizations.

      My posts here are a continuation of another now defunct blog platform having stranded earlier conent.

      I post here to augment discussions on the Twitter product manager tweet stream. I tweet as DavidWLocke.

      Is this a hobby? I’m not sure. I’m not deriving any income from this blog. I have not taken the time to dive in and correct the obvious error of the content in the left column. It’s a matter of time. Eventually, I’ll solve that. And, maybe I’ll tune this up a bit. But, I’ve got a backlog of posts to write.

      Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate comments. Without them, I feel like I’m talking to the wall.

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