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Product management in a Facebook economy

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 2 months ago

(Sudha has posted the slides and a description of the talk on her blog.)


Very large topic

• FB has an API - building an app in this era, users come and generate data and it becomes part of the product. This was done in the past by PMs.

• Her slides are on the pcamp wiki


Sudha runs the local FB developers meetup. Was doing marketing for a startup, and wondered if the market could be students. Heard that FB was in and MS was out. "Why why why?"


So she became one of the older people on FB - and we've brought in our older fiends as well. 35% of FB is older.


Ended up spec'ing FB apps for this company, for students.


FB meetup has 500 members. There aren't too many official product managers, but have a lot of exerience.


New gen of FB apps that are just "done by geeks" - without having PM activities.



Customer believes they are in charge.


Experience of interaction is based on what my friends are doing.


To extend your business to go on FB, you have to extend your app in this idea.


Instead of building the requirements for your user, you can go to FB ads, go through the process of selecting who your prospects are. E.g., Male, age, in USA. And FB will give you a number of how many of these there are on FB. So you can quickly see whether the segment you are targeting is valid on FB.


E.g., wanted to target a group of parents in Cupertino. Got 40 people on this search in FB. Doesn’t have to be FB - can be other platforms like MySpace (MS).


How many in audience have been doing social media apps - a few people raise their hands.


Market assessment: A/B testing or multi-variant analysis. A number of people in the audience do a/b testing.


Three key parts of a Facebook app. Canvas page, profile box, and feed notification


Canvas page is landing page for the customers.


More successful apps show about how the user compares to the rest of the network. A leader board. How you fit in your society. This makes it more naturally fit onto FB.


Embed viral invites into app - how does customer hear about the app? Most probably is via an invitation or via a feed notification. Whatever the user does on your app you can send to the rest of their world. "X took this quiz" "X likes this movie" - this is how 90% of the exposure happens. Needs to be just another feature of your product.


SocialMints is a micropayment transaction system for FB. This is her app.


Micropayment -how boring. So how did we make it exxciting and FB? Put a "send mints" concept in - where mints are the currency. 10 cents at a time - but every time someone sends 10 cents, their network hears about it. The more the notification is part of the app flow, the better.


Profile box - messaging and call to action.


Each app on the profile is an endorsement by the user.


Booze Mail - very clear messaging. THey've done several revs.


Another favorite - Zoo -her kid loves this one. Visually appealing to users.


Another thing - in profile box, show ranking according to your social network. Lots of content, "Opinions" of some kind. 1/2 million users.


FB has been changing how many invites can be sent at once.


Specing the app is defining the three pages - Canvas, profile, and invites.


Most of the profile stuff needs to be static, although it can be dynamic. You know who the person is, not just the demographic information, but the actual person.


You can rip out a FB app and do it very quickly. If it's spec'd out well, the dev part is very easy. Can put it out, test it, and get results and get users. To get a lot of users, you need to do a lot of testing and refining.


There's a course at Stanford on building FB apps, and he emphasizes a lot on using A/B testing.


RockYou uses multi-variant analysis, rather than A/B. Can change multiple things at once and get results.


RockYou selects who to send invites too - your spouse, your wall posters, people with lots of wall posts vs someone with two wall posts. Select the people who are likely to respond to the invitation. They do a lot of analysis on who to send to.


Q: how do you track the responses to your invites? Not FB. Have to track that yourself. FB doesn't provide metrics for *your* apps. There are some solutions available for licensing.


Discussion on companies who provide metrics - Sometrics.com, others.


New site called DeveloperAnalytics. Provide a lot of metrics - she hasn't tried it yet, though.


Q: Is there any kind of demo research available outside of FB? You can do a poll on FB. Tim O'Reilly has done a poll. She will check on this and update on her blog. Also wants to see trending data.


Q: There's a study showing that 1/3 of all FB profiles are false. Are there rules of thumb for figuring out if people are correctly reporting their age, etc. Ans: There are some crude methods for determining if people are real - for example if they are passive.


This is an issue, but there's a certain expected advantage of using FB - and of being a real person.


Suggests using a stage gate process - start with a small app, and then grow it over time. Get your app out as fast as possible, make it fun and simple, then start growing it. Agile methodology, really.


Q: How is the PM role different in the FB world? Spec is different. There are three specific facets you have to focus on. Roadmaps are much more dynamic. Requires you to iterate very quickly, and really gives you the opportunity to do an agile methodology.


Q: From non-profit sector - how do you get people connected to your cause and enable fund-raising? It's easy to get people to work with their friends to get them involved. Ans: There are a number of non-profit apps, such as EndangeredHugs. Need a very sort attention span - they see it, they click, it goes on the profile. The EH developer uses really cute pictures of these animals. Connect with audience and let them associate with the brand. Then you take the audience to the next level.


Comment: Possibility to be too agile to users. Hard to separate signal from noise - you're getting a lot of data in the FB world, but how do you separate. Ans: Well, have to use judgment, or use a test case, or A/B testing to get some reaction. FB has changed stats to be number of active users, not just users.


In FB one day they're active, the next day they're gone.