Author: Yasi Baiani

Health and wearable thought leader and Innovator. Entrepreneur, Harvard MBA, Product Gal. Co-Founder/CEO @ ActivePepper. Head of Product Management, Software @ Fitbit. Product Gal @ Athenahealth. Co-Founder @ VentureXchange. Founder @ Yas Jewelry. Venture Investor @ VantagePoint. Advisor to various start-ups. Skier, runner, world traveler (30+ countries).

Reflection & Career Advice at 3 Year Anniversary at Fitbit

Anniversary

Today marked my three year anniversary at Fitbit. It definitely feels a lot longer than that given how much growth we experienced as a company, how much we achieved as a health and wellness category, and how much I got a chance to experience in this amazing company.

I’m proud to witness eleven Fitbit product launches, and within my team built some of the best experiences Fitbit delivers (including all the sleep offerings and reminders to move) to its millions of customers. Thanks to my awesome team and everyone else across our organization who made these possible.  (more…)

10 Books to Master Product Management

learning-books5

Recently, I’ve been asked by two of our Product Managers at Fitbit (one in my team and one in another team) about ways they can master product management role and learn the best practices.

Among sharing my own learnings and tips with them, I suggested that they read these books, written by the experts from various organizations. I had shared the same list with my MBA students at UC Berkeley last Spring.

I thought to publish this list here to share the knowledge with more people. Two types of groups are the right target for these books:

1) Current product managers: Given that product management could be quite different in various organizations, the current product managers could benefit from reading a few of these books to better understand how product management is practiced in other companies, so that they can take some of the best practices and introduce them to their own organization.

2) Those interested in becoming a product manager: Given that there’s so much interests in this field and many people aim to become a product manager, reading these books will allow them to speak a product manager (PM) language and master the interviews.

Please leave comments and suggest other great product management books you’ve read, so everyone can benefit from other great books related to product management.

Here are my top 10 picks:

  1. Shipping Greatness: Practical lessons on building and launching outstanding software, learned on the job at Google and Amazon – Van Der Mey
  2. The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback – Dan Olsen
  3. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products – Nir Eyal
  4. Product Leadership: How Top Product Managers Launch Awesome Products and Build Successful Teams – Richard Banfield
  5. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
  6. The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win – Steve Blank
  7. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses – Eric Ries
  8. Cracking the PM Interview – Gayle Laakmann McDowell
  9. The Design of Everyday Things – Don Norman
  10. User Story Mapping – Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product – Peter Economy

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5 Steps to Build a Customer-Driven Product & Company

Innovation-Communications-Technology-2

There are multiple ways to approach the process of building a product. Different product owners (either product managers or entrepreneurs) have different strategies. Some will just go with their intuition about customers and market needs while others simply assume that their own problem must be that of others and go about building a product to address that problem. Although these might be good starting points, the process of assessing the validity of an idea shouldn’t stop there. In fact, user and data driven product design and development is the only way to build top notch products that will take off!

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Soon Robots Will Play a Significant Role in Our Day-to-Day Lives

Robots

Believe it or not, the most basic forms of robots have already found their ways into our lives! A good example of such robots is Roomba, iRobot vacuum cleaner, which automatically cleans homes of millions of common people who own one of these robots.

In the next decade, we’ll see the robots’ impacts will exponentially increase in our lives and they will seamlessly become part of our everyday lives. Although that seems kind of scary, my bet is that, like all other new technologies, the net benefits of robots will overweight the downside. Below are a few ways that I can envision robots will find their ways into our homes:

1) Substitute the on-demand workers in the sharing economy: As you may know, Uber has heavily invested in the self-driving cars and poached 40 of the top robotic talents & scientists from one of the most credible robotics research institutes, Carnegie Mellon University. From the Uber’s recent moves, it’s clear that the company is committed to swap its drivers with robots in the near future. (more…)

Why Organizations Like the Iranian-American Women Foundation Are Critical for Women’s Success


IAWF

Last Sunday, I was fortunate enough to get to witness something that I have never experienced before: over 600 driven, determined, and successful Iranian-American women came together under one roof in San Francisco to celebrate each others’ achievements and contributions. The event was the Iranian American Women’s Leadership Conference, organized by the Iranian-American Women Foundation (IAWF), which aims to inspire, connect, and empower Iranian-American women of all ages.

The caliber of speakers and attendees was phenomenal! Speakers included people like Anousheh Ansari (1st Female Private Space Explorer & Co-Founder of Prodea System), Parisa Khosravi (Senior VP for CNN Worldwide), Mahvash Yazdi (Chief Information Officer for Edison International), and Anna Eshoo (Congresswoman) to just name a few. (more…)

10 Management Lessons Learned – From Harvard to Startup & Large Firms

Management Lessons Blog

During the last decade, I’ve had the opportunity to take on various roles in companies of all sizes. My experiences have included being the founder of a startup, Product Lead in a high growth tech company, and Product Gal in a multi-billion dollar publicly traded healthcare IT firm. I also acquired management and leadership training at the best institution known for these topics — Harvard Business School — and spent two years analyzing hundreds of cases on the best and worst management and leadership styles.

Through all these experiences I have learned a lot about management and leadership. Here are my top 10 take aways about what every manager/leader should do in order to succeed:   

1. Master communication: This is the “golden rule” of leadership and management. Clear and timely communication with your team is the most powerful tool you can have in your leadership toolkit.

2. Share the vision, the pleasure, and the pain: The best way to get your team’s support and buy-in is to share your vision with them and describe the foundation for certain decisions. Understanding the logic behind any decision allows your team to cope with a tough situation much better and support you and your decision. I repeatedly heard from my teams that they appreciated “transparency,” even if the message delivered contained uncertainty or challenges. (more…)

What to Expect in 2015 in the Wearable & IoT World?

Wearables

For much of 2014, wearable technology has been the subject of great hype and even greater skepticism, fueled by speculation around whether these emerging devices will have a positive or negative impact on our lives. Some people think that wearables are a fad. Others claim they have no impact. However, many of us believe that wearables are here to stay! We suspect that the ability to collect data about ourselves and our surroundings are phenomena that will change our lives forever for the better, and that they will not go away anytime soon. We are now at the tipping point of the wearable revolution. Here are some of my predictions for what we will witness in the rest 2015:

1. Wearables will go mainstream: One in five American adults already owns a wearable device, according to a PwC report. That’s on par with tablets in 2012, when the adoption rate sat at 20% after just two years on the market. Today more than 40% of Americans own a tablet, and it seems reasonable to expect similar adoption patterns with wearables. (more…)

The Future of Wearables: Will They Die or Thrive?

Quantified-self_Fututres of Wearables

[In the last few months, many friends and colleagues asked me about my view on the future of the wearable market. They wonder if the glorious days are over for the current wearable makers with bigger players coming to the market. I decided to share my thoughts here with you all.]

What wearables have enabled is simple yet fascinating! Wearables have empowered us to discover more about our bodies and allowed us to quantify ourselves by monitoring our health, mood, performance, happiness, and actions 24/7. These are captivating phenomena that have become a reality through wearables. This is just the beginning, and it is by no means an end. In fact, the global wearable computing market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43%, from $5 billion in 2013 to $9 billion in 2014 and over $30 billion in 2018!

What follows are my predictions for how the wearables industry will trend. My view is based on analysis and observation of market demand, customer feedback, and user behavior:

1) One versus multiple winners: At the Health 2.0 Conference a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity of picking Vinod Khosla’s brain. When I asked him about the future of wearables, he said, “There is not one-size-fits-all when it comes to wearables.” He is absolutely right! (more…)

3 Digital Health Categories That Will Transform Healthcare Forever

Doctor on Laptop

The patient-centric health approach is an inevitable evolution in the healthcare industry that is happening faster than expected. Recent changes in regulations, coupled with new technological advancements and the speedy adoption by caregivers and patients of these new technologies, have created an infinite amount of opportunities for disrupting and ultimately improving the healthcare industry.

Below are three categories of digital health startups that rightfully put patients at the center of their business and build products and services that serve unmet patient needs: (more…)

6 Important Product, Design and Strategic Decisions For Wearable Makers

future of wearable tech_image for challenges of wearable makers

It is a super exciting time for wearable entrepreneurs! The early generation of wearables has offered a promising step towards what could be achieved over time with the new generation of wearable products.

The wearable industry is still in its infancy. Although wearable makers have spent significant effort to marry hardware and software technologies and build cool products, there is still a lot to be discovered, learned, and applied in this industry.

As a wearable maker, there are six elements to consider and successfully navigate in order to build a winning product that will be adopted by the majority of the population: (more…)