Nima Gardideh

Product Manager, Mobile, POS, API at Frank & Oak. I write about mobile, experimentation and product management.

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Empathy and Human Values in Products

Recently, I did a quick talk at Real Fellowship, Real Ventures’ latest initiative to jump start the Montreal Startup scene. Pretty proud to be a part of it. Since SlideShare doesn’t allow for presenter notes to be shown with the slides (how is that not a core feature?) – I’ve posted the presentation here as a blog post.

Real Fellowship - Empathy.001.png I’m going to speak about Empathy and what it has to do with designing and creating products that people will love. Real Fellowship - Empathy.002.png Quick background on me: I’m currently working on Mobile + Retail initiatives at Frank & Oak – a menswear retailer – as a Product Manager. I’m an ex-entrapreneur and started my career as an engineer and ended up in product. Real Fellowship - Empathy.003.png Why does empathy matter / why am I even talking about empathy? It’s the first step towards sympathizing with others’ problems and truly understanding them. Real Fellowship - Empathy.004.png It’s important to empathize with users. Of course, empathy goes beyond...

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Mobile Content Loading Pattern and Why Pull To Refresh is Dead

We’ve been thinking a lot about loading content on mobile recently. Things like loading speed, content size, and content freshness always come to mind when you start to think about this subject.

I want to go a bit deeper on these three aspects of delivering content to users and ultimately, make a solid case against the “Pull to Refresh” pattern.

Loading Content

Before I start, let’s define the end goal when it comes to our philosophy for loading content:

We should deliver the least and latest contextually relevant content within a reasonable timeframe to the user.

This statement makes it very easy for us to make the right UX and engineering decisions. It may not be universally correct, but it’s definitely a statement that describes the experience we want very well.

Let’s jump in.

Context

Context, if thought about properly and done right, is core to making the experience delightful...

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My Busiest Day (based on data)

I hate Mondays. It always feels like there’s way too many meetings scheduled on that day and I don’t feel very productive in meetings.

So I decided to see if Mondays are actually my busiest day or if I’m just being grumpy due to Monday being the first day of the week. Since Google Calendar has a simple API that I can farm to get that data – I got to coding.

I’ve been at Frank & Oak for about 6 months now, which sounded like enough data to pull for this simple analysis. I built a quick app (see below if you want to use it) to sum up the amount of time I’m in meetings and group them by day:

meetings_per_weekday.png

It looks like I was wrong. Mondays aren’t my busiest day, in fact – Mondays are an average day for me. It looks like I’m busiest during Wednesdays.

This made me realize that I keep scheduling meetings on Wednesdays because of their convenient position within the week – It’s not too late in the...

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Learning from A/B tests

I’ve seen it happen a lot where companies start experimenting on their product flows, landing pages and user experience but can’t easily isolate and pin-point the reasons a certain test has performed better (or worse). This certainly happens more with large scale changes that affect the product in a big way such as a brand new landing page, or a new feature.

I’ve observed this most often among marketers, product managers and developers who don’t come from a – for the lack of a better expression – “classic engineering” or statistical background. Meaning, they have never done real research that requires statistical hypothesis testing; this includes someone like me - a self-taught programmer but not a true engineer or researcher.

We conduct business in a world where we should constantly strive to understand our users’ behaviours as much as possible. Doing so enables us as PMs, marketers,...

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I want (retail & e-commerce edition)

So Dustin Curtis wrote this post called “I want”. It’s an interesting approach to predicting the future by basing it on desires that are not bound by what’s possible in the world. I found it to be an interesting exercise. Here’s what I want in the world of retail and ecommerce.

Some of these products or functionalities already exist but either not to the extent that they should or have been thought of the wrong way. But please feel free to shoot me a tweet @ngardideh if you believe they’re already being done well.


I want to never have to identify who I am or give out information over and over again. Once is enough. Brands should know who I am, what I’ve bought from them before and what type of things I like.

I want walk into a store, grab what I want, not talk to anyone and leave with what I need or want. Transactions shouldn’t slow me down and I shouldn’t be bothered if I don’t need...

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Product Management in E-Commerce

Before I joined Frank & Oak to help run their mobile initiatives, I honestly didn’t know how a Product Manager would spend most of their time at an e-commerce company. I’ve learned a few things so far.

Before you read, here’s a quick back story about F&O for some added context:

  • Online menswear lifestyle brand, targeting stylish young men.
  • Pretty explosive growth in the past few months – around 400% since 2012.
  • Vertically integrated – we design, manufacture and ship our own products.

PRODUCT MANAGEMENT IN E-COMMERCE

Product Management (PM) in general seems to have a different job description depending on the company. Some focus more on project management skills, some focus on UX skills – but the core of the position seems to be the same: the glue between business development, product development, and the users.

However, every industry has its own twists on what the role...

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Build Habits At Work

I’ve been attempting to become more disciplined when it comes to the way I work. I’ve made it my goal to build certain habits into my day-to-day routine to make sure that I’m always on top of things, as well as set myself up to think long-term when it comes to the products I’m focused on.

Building habits at work has helped me fall into a routine that has structured the way I work and it’s made me maximize both my work efficiency and productivity.


Here are some of the behaviours and habits I’ve instilled within the way I work that I think everyone can benefit from:

Have a recurring daily checklist

It’s important to keep a checklist of recurring tasks that need to get done every day. This will likely differ depending on the type of profession you have or industry you’re working in, but generally you want to do the following:

  • Monitor a few KPIs and compare them to past data (if...

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iOS - Optimizing for Agility

In conversations with product managers and engineers on iOS development, I’ve found myself saying the following over and over again - iOS development is inherently slow. Let’s face it, it’s not web – but there’s definitely ways to make sure your team is performing at a fast velocity. This has become very crucial for us at Frank & Oak, moving fast, running tests and shipping is very important for an e-commerce company.

As with every product, there are a lot of moving parts. The list can go on for a while, but here’s a few high level aspects I’ve found to be useful to pay attention to:

Design for mobile, not web

I’ve seen web designers come in and throw iOS designs together that are not only poorly optimized for development but also lack proper UX. With mobile having such small real-estate, you get to (have to) focus on doing a few things really well. You have to design with this...

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