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Top Stories by Hollis Tibbetts

Consider the following scenario-typical in many application development organizations. A major new release of an application has just gone into production. Although the development and QA teams endured many late nights of coding and testing, and consumed large quantities of delivered pizza, the project missed its ship date. Still, customers are happy with the product and are giving positive feedback. By many definitions, the team has produced a quality product. Then, a new, large business opportunity requires the rapid implementation of a significant new feature in the product. The tired and over-worked development team struggles with how, or even if, it can meet the new requirement. They are concerned that the new feature will break the existing product and predict a lengthy development cycle. Schedule overruns, tired staff, and difficulty in changing or adding f... (more)

Why Product Positioning Is Useless

Yes.  Product Positioning is mostly useless.  A waste of time.  Simply because it’s so very rarely done well at all. Surprisingly, few people understand the basic concept of product postioning.  They don’t realize that proper product positioning is the foundation of marketing.  They tend to believe that product positioning is a trivial marketing fluff exercise that belongs in some PowerPoint presentation  – which will never be taken seriously by anyone (if seen by anyone at all). Done correctly, product positioning is the most important thing a marketing person can do.  The do... (more)

How One Company Lost $1 Billion: a Software Worst Practice

As someone who lived through the System 10 debacle back in the 1990′s, I’ve seen first hand the pain caused by unhealthy software. It’s a sad tale of a software company whose priority at the time was not the customer. At least not in my opinion. In this case, product management was not customer-driven. It wasn’t even sales-driven or developer-driven. It was driven by the desire to impress analysts on Wall Street as well as prominent software analyst firms. Software Train Wreck This kind of catastrophe goes beyond Product Management or Marketing - one can’t blame the product mana... (more)

Netflix: Terror at the Top?

Background Yesterday I wrote of Netflix’s arrogance, their apparent disregard for the needs and priorities of their customer base, and their seemingly bizarre obsession with unnecessarily making their own problems (i.e., a changing shift in technology and market demand from physical media to streaming media) a problem for their customers by forcing two websites, two billing systems, and a 60% price increase on them. A Customer Respect Issue? Except for the 60% price increase, nearly everything that Netflix needed or wanted to do could have been done more or less transparently to t... (more)

How to Ruin Your Business in One Move - "Pull a Netflix"

Banks and Bad Decisions Let's face it, Bank of America hasn't exactly been the paradigm of good decisions lately - they purchased Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, two boat anchors that almost sunk the B of A ship. Countrywide in particular turned out to be the posterchild of "toxic assets" and bad mortgages.  But that's not what this article is about.  And I'm not a banker, so I'm not in a position to authoritatively write on those particular topics. But B of A recently did something that transcends categories like "banking".  They "pulled a Netflix". What Is a "Netflix"?... (more)