The art of product

Getting from ideas to delighted customers

About Me

Patrick O'Malley

My name is Patrick O’Malley. I have been fascinated by building products since I starting working in tech as a product manager.

Since 2006, I have worked for companies selling enterprise software, startups – including 3 of my own, big companies (4 years at Yahoo! Answers) and mid-sized companies.

I have learned in this time that there is no substitute for curiosity, passion, empathy and getting your hands dirty. Doing it is better than thinking about it.

For the last 5 years, I have run a product management consultancy called Product Smart. I have worked for around 20 clients during that time covering a base of B2B, B2C, finance products, community products, mobile games, SaaS, social networks, music streaming services, debit cards, recruitment, online education, and multi-sided platforms. Some principles hold true no matter which product you are working on. But also, there are some context-specific elements to every situation which means you can’t just follow a set of steps to get a winning product.

I believe big-time in customer development – that process of learning about problems, interacting and interviewing customers, developing prototypes and Minimum-Viable-Products (MVPs) – and have been involved in what I would call full-blown customer development projects fifteen times. You don’t want to build a product before doing the product research and getting clarity on your product vision. If you have an idea, you need to find out if it is really good before you start building too much of it. You can’t just act on a few compliments. You need something more like proof. I can show you how to get idea validation you can trust.

Once you do have a good idea, then it’s like a singing voice. You have to train it and work on it. You have to be open to where it is weak. You need to work hard to make it stronger. If you continue to advance it, you get to the point where you give it the best chance to succeed. It may still not work out. But you have given it the best chance and I can show you how to give your good idea the best chance.

You have to love the problem, have empathy with the people who will use it, want to make them successful before you ever made yourself successful. Armed with this, you can make powerful strides to giving people something they love – because you have empathy for how they feel. The best product managers, designers, marketers, entrepreneurs have this at their core. The rest can be taught.

Let’s begin.