Pondering Product Management Roles, Responsibilities and Risks

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Image by Alison Doucette

I have been speaking to people lately about Product Management, how the roles and responsibilities vary from coast to coast and from market to market, things product managers have in common, how the role varies from organization to organization and the risks in the back of the minds of so many Product Managers.

Some things that all product managers have in common:

Good product managers know who their customer is (including inside the company)and can articulate their end-to-end user journey. They think about the entire life cycle of their customers experience with their product(s). If they understand that if their product is difficult to learn how to use and requires training, then they also recognize that the first launch/ship needs that support. If their product is an easy to use out-of-the box app, they still think about how the user will on-board or lose them in the first clicks. Who knew that so many consumers shop online in bed?

Many women of a certain age have hit a stress or hormone-driven phase of their lives where sleep is uncertain or they wake with their brains spinning like gerbils on a wheel.

(Source: blazepress.com)

Many self-medicate with wine or other alcoholic beverages, while others reach out to their physicians and are told that “many women of a certain age find Prozac or (fill in the blank) helpful” or “let me see if we can try this sleep medication.” This is usually followed by a warning that the medications can be addictive or require gradual tapering on and off to avoid serious side effects. …

Why Implementing AI and Machine Learning in Healthcare Settings is so challenging

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A few notes, before we start:

  • While I have been trained as a scientist, I am not a medical doctor. This means I took this course on Coursera for non-AMA points as a certificate.
  • Based on the number of typos and recording blips, etc. I expect was one of the first to try out the course series.
  • The link to the course series can be found here: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/ai-healthcare


The format of the course series is a sequence of videos of people standing in place and reading from a screen. There are two camera angles, but minimal additional visuals, so following along is a real exercise in listening skills. The provided study guides provide all the same visuals and the text read-aloud, so it is possible that these courses could easily be taken in podcast mode (just listen and then read the study guides afterwards). …

Mainstreaming trends in marijuana. Growing your own cannabis at home.

Teacup and gummies on table.
Teacup and gummies on table.
Image by Author

With legalization, more people over 65 are turning to cannabis (edibles or inhaled) to address sleep issues or because they can no longer tolerate pain or sleep prescription medications. Today, cannabis is completely legal in 14 states for adult use and legal for medical use or decriminalized in all but 6 states. A study earlier this year by the Journal of the American Medical Association noted an increase from .4% to 2.9% in cannabis use among adults over 65. …

Let’s remember our strength in numbers!

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By Mobilus In Mobili — Women's March on Washington, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55796823

(Note: previously published in comments in the NY Times 10/29/2020)

For me these past four years began with the Women’s March. For those who question who has spoken out against Trump, one day after the inauguration, the March was the largest single day protest in U.S. history. My mom, my sisters, my nieces, we all marched.

Then the pundits spoke “don’t just protest, run for office.” So, the women did.

The pundits spoke again “if you are so outraged by his behavior to women, do something.” Then there was the #METOO movement.

The pundits spoke once more “if you think Trump is a racist then do something about it.” When the Black Lives Matter movement peaked in Portland, it was Moms on the front line in their yellow shirts. …

Our hopes may lie with an apolitical military

Men holding guns in back of pickup truck with flags
Men holding guns in back of pickup truck with flags

The dystopian images projected in the Trump campaign are misplaced. Anarchists are not coming for you in the suburbs of the future. “Militias” called to arms from the White House are driving into our cities and towns right now in Trump America.

Videos from Portland this weekend brought back my memories of MAGA trucks driving through crowds of grandmothers, mothers and children during the Women’s March on Washington. Images of a MAGA driver killing a woman and injuring many others in Charlottesville are still fresh in all our minds.

What stands between our fragile democracy and autocratic rule? Who stands for the rule of law?

The Candidate and the Fact Checker

True False Check Boxes
True False Check Boxes
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As the United States winds into the final stretches of the election season, the fact checkers are working overtime. The speed of misinformation is traveling faster than corrections can be made and the resulting information overload has led many people who would or could vote checking out of the process completely with headaches or disinterest.

Given this challenge maybe we need a new debate format which addresses the fact that some politicians have moved past traditional exaggerations to falsehoods.

In this new format, the first candidate would answer the question or state their case depending on the debate format. The second candidate could then use their time to then also present or answer the question or cede their time to a Fact Checker. Chances are that simple inflation of facts which are the norm in political communications would go unchallenged, but blatant falsehoods would be questioned. …

Request paper bills in September (starting now)

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Note: my concern is that seniors and other vulnerable people not be forced to risk their health to exercise their right to vote rather than for whom they choose to vote.

While we are all being invited to write our congresspeople (on vacation) to protest actions being taken to make voting by mail more challenging, there is another step you can take to solve the problem directly:

Just request your bills to be delivered by mail rather than electronically for one month: September 2020, starting now.

Yes, this will result in more paper to recycle, but on the other hand it might temporarily boost the economy in Northern Maine, who knows. …

That’s right! Students at North Paulson High can now be found wandering the halls scantily-clad in bikinis, bathing suits, flip-flops, and shirtless!

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The school principal, Mr. Knownot, explained that while in the past they had enforced a dress code, given the new state guidelines students’ dress was now a “personal choice”.

“Some chemistry teachers are concerned that lack of proper clothing could endanger the students and their lab partners. They seem to be worried that without the ability to enforce safety guidelines for their science classrooms they would no longer be able to use any lab equipment. However, we now recognize that individual choice overrides any safety concerns and so we will be adapting the curriculum to address issues around student liberties.” …

Patriots serve their countries; nationalists promote their countries.

Flag Pole with U.S. Flag in sunny yard.
Flag Pole with U.S. Flag in sunny yard.

I was chatting with some friends a few weeks back about patriotism versus nationalism and it became clear that over the past decades we have pivoted from being a country who strives to be a beacon of freedom to one which sees itself as exceptional in isolation.

Once again, we have a generation who grew up seeing patriotism as pride in, and service to democratic principles aghast at another generation who thrives on nationalism. Not “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”, but “my country right or wrong.” Way back in 1872, the retort to that nationalistic jingo was “my country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. …


Alison Doucette

Love building product with AI smarts and great UX, playing soccer and learning data science

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