Meekal Bajaj

I write about design, product, and technology. Curious about everything.

  • Memories from our future

    Future · 5 minutes read · Last updated August 21, 2018

    My earliest memory is seeing snow for the first time when I was four. I remember rolling a snowball down a little hill until it got big enough to be the snowman’s head. I remember the twigs my sister stuck in for arms and my mom sticking the carrot in for the nose.

    Looking back, it’s unclear how much of that memory is real and how much of it is me telling a story about the photo we took that day. When I think about the memories my daughter will create in the future, I wonder what version of truth she will remember. Would she choose to remember an idealized version of the past. Or would the memories she create come from vividly capturing the experience of being there?

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  • The perfect team

    People · 4 minutes read · Last updated August 21, 2018

    If we were a perfect team, we would:

    1. Predict with 100% certainty what we can deliver, so that we can keep our commitments to our customers.
    2. Always prioritize the most important things to build, so that we maximize the value we create.
    3. Feel proud of what we build, so that we find the work we do rewarding.
    4. Ensure that everyone on the team has visibility into what we are working on, so that they can provide input and share with other stakeholders.

    However, we are not a perfect team. We don’t always make deadlines. We repeatedly pushed out the release date to accommodate unforeseen issues for our last product. In the process, we burnt precious goodwill and the enormous amount of stress took a toll on the team. And when we trimmed our sails to go faster by trading quality for quantity on the product, we almost reached the point where it wasn’t good enough to launch.

    We need a system that enables us to find the smallest increment of time where we can be perfect. And then, learn how we can make that period last longer.

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  • Starting well as a Product Manager

    People · 7 minutes read · Last updated August 20, 2018

    Starting a new job is exciting. You learn about a new problem, build new relationships, and get a chance to reinvent yourself. Along with it comes a certain sense of nervousness. How do you win trust? How do you add value? How do you learn to navigate an organization?

    I am starting a new job soon, and these questions have been on my mind. Reflecting back, here are some things that have worked for me—and some new things I want to try.

    For a Product Manager at a new job, the objective is to set yourself up to deliver valuable products to users.

    To build that foundation, you need to:

    1. Understand the product problems that are worth solving
    2. Build relationships with the people who will partner with you to ship products
    3. Evolve processes to efficiently deliver products to users

    When you first start, take the first thirty days to learn how things work now, the next thirty to execute on delivering something valuable, and the thirty days after that to meaningfully improve the results and processes.

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  • Understanding the SaaS business

    Product, , Process · 7 minutes read · Last updated August 16, 2018

    Software as a Service (SaaS) is an elegant business model. Once you build the product, you can sell it to any number of customers. The only changes required are minor tweaks to the configuration. SaaS businesses work by charging a recurring fee. At each billing cycle, we need to re-earn the trust of our customers, creating a powerful alignment of interest between us and the customers we serve.

    For customers, SaaS just works™. They don’t have to install anything and paying a smaller recurring fee is a lot more palatable on the balance books. For us, SaaS has two benefits. First, having recurring revenue makes our finances predictable. Second, it cuts down development overhead, since new products can be rolled out simultaneously to all clients.

    To understand the SaaS business, let’s deconstruct the levers that control it.

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  • I read every letter Amazon sent to their shareholders. Here are the 40 things I learnt.

    Review · 23 minutes read · Last updated August 15, 2018

    I spent last week reading Amazon’s letter to it’s shareholders. It’s remarkable that in 20+ years of business how little Amazon’s core focus has changed. Every year’s letter reinforces the beliefs laid out in their original 1997 letter, tempered with the maturity and pragmatism that comes from years of shipping. The beliefs that stood the test of time are:

    • Customer obsession
    • Focus on investing in durable businesses
    • Systems thinking that emphasizes creating positive feedback loops
    • Culture of operational excellence
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