Analytics To Scale Your Digital Product – Edition #4

User Privacy And Empowerment

There’s a theme that emerged from my reading, thinking and blogging in the last 2 weeks: how does respecting the privacy of your users is foundational to empowering them.

As you’ll see from my selection below, all 3 stories centres around listening to users, but not to exploit them, nor nudge them, but to empower them.

And there are responsibilities in regards to this. That’s what I wanted to contribute with my latest blog post “User Empowerment, Privacy and Product Development”. Essentially, I’m arguing that empowering users means respecting their privacy.

Ultimately, « trusting the product allows you to freely use it and be empowered by it.” – I just self-quoted here 🙂

Signals To Monitor

This is a great piece by Brandon Chu, where he explores the basic principles that should guide product manager’s job.

In his first principle “Maximize impact to the mission”, he briefly touches on 2 types of signals PM should be monitoring: customer and market. Customer signals are “the ‘ping’ from the goal”, meaning it’s how users react to your product and is the main indicator as to how you’re performing. Market signals, which are outside factors that influence that ultimate ping.

In the author’s words…

Constantly listening to the world outside your company walls is a critical input to great product management. And what you hear from customers is the ultimate validation of your achievement of the goal.

Those 2 types of signals lays down the groundwork of how you should have data guide your product development in order to empower your users. 

Adapt To Your User’s Needs

From the « This is Product Management » podcast comes an episode with James Colgan, Senior Director of Product Management for Outlook Mobile Enterprise at Microsoft.

The interviewee gives his perspective on feature prioritization, listening to users and making them central to the whole process. It’s by listening to this episode that the idea of empowerment really took shape.

For example, James Colgan explains how the average session duration for Outlook Mobile is only 22 seconds. The question is not then how to increase that number, but how to make those 22 seconds count.

It’s really about adapting to your user’s needs. Analytics helps understand how users are using your product and how they wish they could be further empowered by it.

User Enpowerment

I then found a nice Medium article on user empowerment: “It’s Time for Digital Products to Start Empowering Us“ by Jesse Weaver.

Here’s a quote from it…

« Utility alone won’t assuage us. We want empowerment. We want to be better people. We want technology to enhance our capabilities and increase our sense of agency without dictating the rhythm of our lives. »

The author offers different aspects of product strategy that need to be rethinked. Such as…

  • “The drive for continual engagement”
  • “Revenue models”
  • “Data collection, manipulation, and transparency”

This article briefly brushes the idea of how rethinking user empowerment requires rethinking how collect and manage data. It goes further than just complying with GDPR. It raises the question of how privacy should be at the core of product management.

Rethinking And Redesigning Products

I read somewhere lately that now should be a time to go further than just thinking about ethics in data science, but also to take action. I think it’s also true for data privacy and how products should be designed.

As Jesse Weaver mentioned, products shouldn’t be utilities, but enhancers. That and privacy, and a bunch of other considerations should be the focus of product managers to empower users and not just entrap them.

Let’s hope this leads to not only rethink how product should be, but also redesign them to make us all empowered users.

How can you leverage data to strategically grow your digital product and fulfill your mission? If that question interests you, this newsletter is about exploring it from different angles – data-driven strategy, product management, data engineering and data science.

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