What Does a Product Manager Do?

The role of a product manager tends to vary heavily depending on product lifecycle and stage of the company. Due to this variability, there is a wide range of day-to-day activities, but ultimately a product manager is still responsible for doing whatever it takes to collaborate with multiple teams and move different conversations towards closure. Many product managers state that the skill of empathy is one of the most important for a product manager as you need to be able to understand everyone’s motives and make sure that you are collaborating and persuading people to support your decisions.

To provide an example of what I do on a daily basis, below is an agenda of a typical day:

8:30AM: Wake up and check major tech blogs (I work as a PM in the gaming industry) and general news to make sure I’m up to date with the competition and market. Check my Google Doc PM Task List and add/edit any items I need to complete for the day. If I have extra time, I’ll try to complete at least 20-30 minutes of any online course I happen to be taking at the time. It’s important for me to be constantly learning a subject I’m not familiar with to make sure I’m personally growing. I try my best to avoid e-mail until I get into the office or else I end up just spending my valuable morning time responding or cleaning up my inbox.

9:30AM: Head into the office and grab some quick breakfast before getting ready for the daily morning standup with my dev team.

10:00AM: Every day, we run a daily 15 minute team standup, which is generally a standard part of the agile development process. In this meeting, we have a dedicated Project Manager who runs each session and asks 3 key questions 1) What did you work on yesterday? 2) What will you be working on today? 3) Are there any problems hindering you from completing your work?

10:15AM-1:00PM: This work chunk is generally divided by e-mails, quick meetings, and KPI updates. One of the first things I do is update all of my KPI dashboards to make sure metrics aren’t out of whack and everything is running smoothly. Right now, I’m on a fairly new product and a lot of my meetings revolve around discussions for new core features that I help to scope out as well as prioritize in our ever growing product roadmap. We’re rushing to do a global launch on the Android platform so it’s imperative that we shift around all features that can wait until later builds.

1:00PM-1:30PM: Grab a quick lunch with co-workers and generally just hang out. I’m fortunate that my co-workers are also really good friends and we all get along really well.

1:30PM-4:00PM: I spend some time sitting with our sales team (in gaming we call them a live-operations team that handles events and sales within our games) to discuss a new admin tool that our sales team wants our dev team to build. I sync up with the engineering manager to briefly discuss technical requirements and then spend some time wireframing (in PPT, we don’t use anything fancy like Balsamiq) the tool and passing it along to the engineering manager who gets the right dev member to start working on the tool. I also spend a lot of time pulling data to run ad-hoc analyses on recent features that went live as well as dig into why our acquisition rate has been slowly dropping recently.

4:00PM-5:30PM: Meet with Product Marketing to get a sense of what our recent yields have been looking like and to decide whether or not we want to start ramping up marketing spend. We’ve been worried about rising CPI (Cost per Install) lately and wanted to test various ad creatives to see if split testing various ads might lead to lower user acquisition costs. Ultimately, we decide we want to hold off ramping marketing spend for awhile until we can isolate the source of lower yields recently (could be product, market, or marketing related).

5:30PM-6:00PM: Drink with the co-workers in the office and hang out for awhile before heading home for the day.

Although the list above is just one sample day in the life of a product manager, there are definitely set responsibilities that a product manager is always trying to find time to do:

Strategy Planning – As a PM, I always keep a tab of short/mid/long term product feature ideas and it’s extremely important to always be thinking about whether or not these ideas make sense given recent market changes or data analyses that you’ve performed.

Project Management – A good PM is very organized with gathering information from various teams and properly summarizing/documenting the most important information to be shared with appropriate stakeholders. For example, I need to maintain a clean product roadmap with estimated completion times and release dates not just for myself, but also to share with product marketing so that they have a heads up to when they should start working on new campaigns or ad creatives.

Data Analysis – Data is crucial to making well-informed product decisions so PMs should be able to understand and hopefully pull the data they need to run analyses. Learning SQL and Excel are a must to run basic data analysis on the job.

User Testing – It’s imperative to find time to sit down or at least speak with your users so that you can understand their problems and get feedback on what you can improve or create.

Hair Health and Common Issues With Styling Products

We wash, style and blow-dry in order to tame our often unruly tendrils. Yet some of the everyday hair care practices we use are actually doing more damage than good. This article takes a look at the issues we face in our efforts to achieve well groomed, shiny and healthy hair.

The average human head has about 100 000 hair follicles and from each one emerges a shaft of hair. Nourished by blood vessels the follicles produce new keratin cells promoting the constant growth of new hair. The inner layer or medulla,

which is protected by the outer keratin cells, contains pigment cells (for colour), fat granules and oxygen. Separate glands run alongside the follicle producing sebum, a natural hair and scalp conditioner. Straight, shiny hair is the result of sebum produced by the glands easily travelling the length of the hair shaft. By contrast, curly hair will often look and feel dry because the sebum has a more difficult time getting from the base of the hair shaft to the tip.

The overall health of the hair depends on numerous factors however nutritional status is key. There are no topically applied hair products that can compensate for poor nutrition. Hair cannot repair itself because it is already dead tissue. However, you can grow healthier hair from the “inside-out”. Healthy hair depends on a constant supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients to grow and maintain the look and feel. Any deficiency in key hair nutrients will show up in our skin, hair and nails first, before affecting our internal organs. Therefore, brittle, dry, dull hair that easily breaks may actually be a signifier to check your general nutritional status.

Hair is predominately made up from protein so a deficiency can result in changes to the colour and texture resulting in brittle, weak and thinning hair. Eating protein 3-5 week will help maintain your levels. If you have had a protein deficiency you will notice hair returning to healthy condition within 12 weeks of correcting the deficiency, as the new hairs grow through.

In addition diets high in sugar and animal fats may contribute to poor hair health. An imbalance between good and bad fat consumption can either lead to an overly dry and flaky scalp and dry hair or excessive oil production. Correcting the imbalance will help to normalise the health of the scalp and the relative dryness or oiliness of the hair. High sugar consumption creates a higher demand for B group vitamins, which can also affect hair health. Reducing highly processed and sugar rich foods will not only help hair health, it will also improve general health.

While internal factors affect hair health, external factors also have the potential to damage hair. If you have ever washed your hair with soap you would know that it tends to get tangled and knotty afterwards. The outer “scales” on the hair shaft stand up when in the presence of an alkali, such as soap and get caught up creating a tangled, messy “do”. The scales will lie down flat in the presence of an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar, which is why vinegar hair rinses were traditionally used after washing. While shampoos don’t create this effect they come with their own set of issues as they are stronger cleansers than soap and strip more of the natural oils from the scalp and hair, leaving it dry and in desperate need of moisture. This is where conditioners come in, their key functions to make the hair scales lie back down and coat the hair so that it feels smooth again.

In addition the type of surfactant used to clean hair in shampoos can be problematic with those such as sodium or ammonium lauryl sulphate contributing to irritated and dry scalp and hair issues. Softer surfactants such as decyl glucoside, coco glucoside or coco betaine are better choices for both hair and scalp health.

In general try to avoid conditioners and stying products with added silica as these will just build up on the hair shaft and create “artificially” shiny and silky hair. They will also increase the need to wash hair which in turn dries out hair again, creating a cycle of poor hair management and ultimately, poor hair health.

How often we wash hair is an individual choice however, most people tend to wash their hair too frequently, each time stripping back the protective oils from the scalp and hair. If your scalp is dry or itchy, try waiting one extra day before washing allowing the sebum to protect the scalp for a longer period. Twice weekly for normal to dry hair is a good benchmark. Obviously oily hair needs to be washed more frequently and often daily. Washing hair often entails blow-drying or straightening which if done excessively, damage the hair shaft. The less you dry & straighten, the better your hair condition will tend to be.

Hair styling agents can also impact on the health of the hair and more importantly your general health. In conventional styling products synthetic plastics such as PVP (polyvinyl pyrrolidone polymer), acrylic copolymers, VA (vinyl acetate)polymer and acrylamide polymer are used as holding agents, all of which are synthetic petroleum based plastics. While these may not be specifically damaging to your hair, they are not environmentally friendly and in addition are easily absorbed through the scalp thereby contributing to the total toxic load your body has to deal with. Look instead for natural products such as beeswax or coconut oil based products for strong hold pastes or gels and sugar biopolymer based products from corn or vegetables instead of hair spray or mousse. The natural wax products will also help to keep the hair shaft moisturised. Generally styling products based on such ingredients are healthier for you and for the environment.

Buy General Electric Refrigerators for Quality and Functionality

General Electric is a name that for many is synonymous with high quality fridges. General Electric refrigerators were one of the first brands on the market and they have led the way in creating quality home appliances for over a century. The fact that this is a well respected and trusted company is why many people come back to them when they want to buy with confidence that they will receive a great fridge.

About refrigeration

Until fairly recent times, refrigeration technology didn’t exist. In its earliest days, only commercial premises had refrigerators and it was only 50 or so years ago that refrigerators became common place in the average persons home. With the advent of this technology, the purchasing, preparation and storage of food was transformed and it changed what people were able to buy, when they could buy it and how long it would keep after purchase. Foodstuffs such as milk, meat and vegetables that were not able to be stored for long periods were suddenly able to be kept in the home without perishing quickly.

General Electric’s Long History

General Electric is a company that spans the globe and it has a solid reputation across world. This organisation built its reputation on good quality electronics, which still incorporates household electronics to this day. Lighting and electrical appliances are what gave this company its foundations, and the longevity of the business is a testimony in many people’s eyes to the strength of the company.

Why should you buy General Electric refrigerators?

As one of the leaders in the development of refrigeration, the choice of a GE refrigerator indicates a desire to buy an innovative, advanced product that offers state of the art food storage. If you value the chance to purchase a trusted brand, then this is by far one of the best. General Electric has been an industry leader in the manufacture of household electrical appliances for a very long time. As a consumer, this means you can buy with confidence from them, knowing you they are a manufacturer who have lead the way in this field.

If you desire a product that provides exceptional quality, then there is little doubt that General Electric refrigerators offer that level of quality. The company has taken pride in creating products that back up their reputation. They have established themselves as industry leaders – and they take their role seriously. For the customer, that means buying with confidence that these electrical appliances will live up to the high standard that the company has delivered for the last 136 years.

Packaging Containers (Forms) For Milk And Dairy Products

Bottle

The glass bottle still continues to be used for packaging of milk in some parts of the world. However in several developed countries and some of the developing countries it has lost ground to single service containers for packing milk.

Carton

The cartons are the preferred medium or form for packaging milk. They are also used for packaging liquid, frozen and coagulated milk products. Cartons are commonly made of food grade paper coated on the inside with wax or plastics; or lined with paper, plastic films or aluminium foil; or made of laminates. The merits include maximum space utilization in vehicles, and storage; ability to carry attractive printing and convenience as a means for stacking milk at super market shelves.

Retailers in the developed countries consider it the best available package for self-service selling. Cartons also play a role in the bulk packaging of milk. Cartons are commonly available either as preformed containers or as pre cut blanks ready to be formed in to containers. The carton systems in common use is

Perga (preformed) U.K

Pure pak (precut) USA

Zupack, Blockpak (precut) Germany

Tetra pak (precut) Sweden

Sachet / Bag / Pouch

Flexible waterproof plastic bags are commonly used for packaging milk and liquid dairy products. Since it is difficult to pour from these, a jug is usually also provided. The popular laminate for such bag is black or dark brown (to exclude UV light) or white. The bags may be formed from either a reeled or flat film. Generally it is a form-fill-seal system. Generally, ultra violet light is used to sterilize the films. The bags are heat-sealed and cut, the common sequence being to bottom seal, fill, move down on sachet length, top seal and cut off.

Can

This is commonly used for packaging all types of solid, semi solid and powdered dairy products. Cans are traditionally made of soldered tin plate steel, generally lacquered on the inner surface to prevent corrosion. Aluminium cans have now become famous. Cans are the most convenient for gas packing.

Box / Tub

It may be made up of wood or paper board. White wooden boxes / tubs are used for bulk packing of butter and butteroil with butter paper / plastic liners, paperboard boxes are generally used as over-wraps.

Barrel / Cask

Commonly made up of wood and coated with wax on the inner surface. Used for bulk packaging of sweetened condensed milk, semi solid butter milk / whey, butteroil etc.

Cup

They are generally made up of paper with wax or plastic coating on the inside. Used for packing frozen dairy products such as ice cream and coagulated milk products.

Collapsible tube

They are made up of aluminium and lacquered on the inside. Low cost, lightweight, ease of handling and dispensing, product protection are its advantages. Used for packing semi fluid products such as sweetened condensed milk, processed cheese spread etc.