Shree joins me as guest host for this episode with Ford Davidson, a born entrepreneur who in the little more than a decade since he’s been out of college, has been a fast tracked Product Manager at Microsoft, founded and sold Dashwire to HTC, worked his earn out by building a global product organization, and started another company, Coolr…which he got funded, but has recently wound down. Ford has a badass twitter handle too: @blackball.
Ford is a creative force, and easily one of the most enthusiastic product people I know. His trademark “sweeet!” is generously given to other people’s ideas and product, and he remains one of the more humble home-run hitters out there.
Failures can be powerful growth experiences, and I’m sure Ford will benefit from having stepped up to the plate again. Coolr was inspired by the idea that organizations operate better when employees know what’s going on, and when managers connect with their teams. Ford gives a candid assessment of what they did well and didn’t, the role that investors played in timing and roadmaps, and what they’d do differently.
We contrast Coolr with Slack’s funding and development path — $10M of investment, zero revenues, and a huge pivot, before the current, glorious product emerged.
But we also talk about best practices org info flow at Google, Amazon and Microsoft, “holocracies”, why apps like TinyPulse work and sometimes don’t, and more. If you want to be a manager today, you’d better be ready for more transparency — and more data driven assessment of your performance — than ever before.