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Photo by chrissie kremer on Unsplash

A marketplace is a platform where trade happens between a seller selling a good or service and a buyer paying the value of that good or service through a currency (paper, barter, etc.).

I have spent the past couple of weekends in an intellectual exercise of breaking down marketplaces from 1st principles and discussing this with a group of marketplace founders and Product Managers (Full podcast here).

I am now using this blog post to document my learnings and get another round of conversation started around this.

Why am I doing this? (YOU CAN SKIP THIS)

Because our mental models for marketplaces are heavily influenced by the dominant Silicon…


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Photo by Monica Melton on Unsplash

If you are an incubator or accelerator operating in an emerging startup ecosystem, you know how hard it is to run a mentor-driven incubation/acceleration program when there are few mentors readily available to support the startups through their journey. Sometimes you even come across mentors who have not been where the startups are and are giving away bad advice. …


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In the last part of this article, we discussed the advent of Indian hyperlocal startups that are executing customer tasks on-demand through a fleet of drivers and runners that are paid per task. These startups unsustainably incentivized drivers and runners to acquire and retain them, but once the incentivization decreased, these startups started running into big problems with their drivers and runners. Drivers and runners were not loyal to a single platform anymore and they started to game the system adversely affecting the startup’s customer experience and unit economics. …


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Long gone are days when the word gig was only relatable to musicians because the gig economy has arrived. A Google search for the gig economy throws up the following definition: “a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.” A number of professionals ranging from designers, developers to SEO experts have started leaving organized work life to take up on-demand jobs or what we call a gig.

However, the emergence of ride sharing, e-commerce and hyperlocal delivery startups like Uber, Ola, Swiggy, Zomato, Dunzo, Rapido, Amazon, Grofers, etc. have led…


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On October 8, 2018, Kunal Bahl, one of the co-founders of Snapdeal wrote an article on LinkedIn to give a long-awaited update on Snapdeal’s current status. But why were people waiting for an update? To understand this, let’s go back to a flashback of last year when the Indian e-commerce unicorn started bleeding profusely in a fierce discounting battle with other Indian e-commerce giants and its sustenance was a question. It was even termed as “India’s first unicorpse”. Lack of funds led the founders to lay off almost half of Snapdeal’s workforce. The attempt to survive presented them with 2…


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Photo by Hai Phung on Unsplash

Recently, someone asked a question in a Slack community of Product Managers:

What’s the difference between a product and a service? At some level looks like you can convert a service to a product (e.g. use AI to answer customer calls) leading to better scaling, etc. When that happens all of the wisdom of a PM can be brought to bear. But what about when something is just a service? Is the boundary blurry?

It was a simple question but one that has not been answered well, especially with relevance to the current world. The definition at Archives.org …


TL;DR: India has an alarming unemployability problem with less than 10% of graduating students able to make it to the jobs they studied for. An outdated, rigid education system, cultural barriers and the lack of alumni + business network support seem to be major convicts of the crime. Cclub and AFS offer learning models that we can use to design solutions for this problem.

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Photo by Saulo Mohana on Unsplash

Chapter 1: What is the problem?

On another rainy Koramangala evening, Product folk from across the city were valiantly fighting through the standstill Bengaluru traffic to get to another Crosstalk meetup session that we had been looking forward to for a month…


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A student’s workbook overflowing with ideas

Recently, I conducted a 3-day Design Thinking workshop for a group of school students from grades 5–8 at Global City International School, Bangalore based on IDEAco’s City X Project. I gave the kids real life social problems which they had to solve by creating inventions that could be 3D printed. Following are some golden lessons that I learnt from these kids.

1. Ignorance is bliss

Kids don’t know much and that is a good thing. They don’t know how things work or how they are supposed to work. They just know what they want from what they are creating. This focus on the end…


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I have been getting this question lately from new Product Managers about how much technical knowledge should a PM have. Frankly, I had this same question when I started out as a PM and it has been a recurring question. But why?

Just go read a few PM job descriptions on Product Hired or any other job portal and you will notice that either the asks for technical knowledge are very different or very vague. Companies themselves have no idea of how much technical knowledge does a PM need to be able to manage their tech products. …


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Making hard decisions is the part and parcel of being a Product Manager. We imagine great product designs and dream of it to be the next big thing until the engineering team which is working hard to bring your dream to reality brings you back to reality and crushes your dreams with a hammer. The hammer says, “Don’t think we can get it done according to these specs in this sprint. Can we push off to future releases?” There is not enough time. The release date is close by. The go to market plans are already in motion. You can’t…

Mohammad Najmuzzaman

Sr. Product Manager at Clipboard Health, No-code Instructor at Bubble, Intercultural Trainer, Geek Blood

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