Choose Your First Product (Amazon) does what it says on the cover: it gives you four easy steps to find and validate a humble product idea. This pitch already highlights what makes this book great.
- It addresses the challenge of coming up with a good product idea, leaving you the interesting part: execution.
- It focuses on validation: the crucial step that you may try to skip if you fail to read this kind of book.
- The book describes a straightforward process in four steps.
What I liked
The book’s easygoing style and short chapters made it a joy to read, unlike other product books that feel like work. I read the book over the course of a few days, making each instalment a daily treat. I liked this readability and two more things, on top of the front cover pitch’s promise:
- Funny - not a surprise if you follow Leon Bambrick on Twitter
- Contains handy lists that summarise key points
I like lists. Choose Your First Product includes several.
Satisfying lists and a process model
The concrete examples helped me understand the book’s key points on the first read, but the lists will help in the future. The book’s lists include:
- Four things you need to discover (the TOAD system)
- Three places to find a target market
- Three ways to look for obstacles
- Three things to identify during qualitative research
- Three problems with academic papers
- Four kinds of demand signal
- Three ‘excellent ways to test for demand’
Best of all (for a business process management software product manager), on top of the examples, the lists and the cute artwork, the TOAD system even comes with a process diagram:
Meanwhile, the lists and process diagrams distracted me, so I got well into the book before I had my I-see-what-you-did-there moment.
I see what you did there!
The book’s casual style, cute illustrations and handy lists misdirected me at first. I initially thought of Choose Your First Product as a short and sweet introduction for people who think they have a wonderful product idea, and who need some insight into what that kind of thinking might lead to. But then I realised that this book achieves something special; it occurred to me that it could explain product management as a whole to a child.
Choose Your First Product distills the essential ideas of product management into a short readable book, making popular texts like The Lean Startup look puffed-up and self-congratulatory in comparison. I wish I had read this book first, when starting my first product role, before moving on to other excellent books such as Escaping the Build Trap, by Melissa Perri.