A new chapter: Product Manager at Oxford University Press

After three months of mini-retirement, or funemployment if you like the word (I do!), words can’t explain how honoured I am to tell the world that I’m the new Product Manager at the Oxford University Press.

Oxford University Press entrance

Starting today, I’ll be building products for the biggest university press in the world, whose history can be traced back to the earliest days of printing and goes all the way until now, with 6,000 team members across the world, and offices in 50 countries.

I’ll be based out of the main office in Oxford, so I’ll get to spend a significant amount of time in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, which is awesome to say the least.

As the relationship between product management and publishing is healthier than ever, I’m so excited at the prospect of shaping the future of high-level academic & educational products on the digital space. I will definitely share my experiences and challenges, so stay tuned for the next updates!

Product management tools at WordCamp London 2019

WordCamp London is an event I feel very attached to. It’s my local WordPress conference. It gave me one of my first public speaking opportunities back in 2015. If you have been to a WordCamp London in the past, you might have seen me running around with big boxes, or behind the registration desk. Last year I was one of the organisers, leading the communication team.

This year, I’m delighted to announce that I’m scheduled again as a speaker!

I’ll present a talk called Inside a Product Manager’s toolbox. Basically, tools and resources for product managers, founders at very early stage startups, solopreneurs, freelancers, plugin / theme shop owners, and generally speaking people who are in the business of building and selling digital goods.

It’s going to be a lightning talk, so it won’t last more than 10 minutes. I’m going to share my time slot with Luminus O. Alabi, who’s going to talk about remote work, and Mike Killen, who will explain marketing funnels for WordPress businesses.

When, where, why

WordCamp London will take place on 5-7 April at the wonderful London Metropolitan University.

5 April is Contributor Day, a day where people gather and either contribute to WordPress, or get themselves setup with help from seasoned contributors so that they can start contributing in the future. Whatever your magic is, there’s a strong chance you can apply it to WordPress.

6 and 7 April are conference days. I’m going to speak on the morning of 7 April, at 10:20am.

Tickets are still available, so if you work with WordPress, and you live in or around London—or you’re in the position to afford a trip to the best city in the world—then don’t hesitate and come join us. There are going to be plenty of learning, networking, and contributing opportunities.

Links

My speaker profile
My talk’s abstract
WordCamp London 2019 schedule

On Leaving Human Made

I have to admit it, I struggled a bit to think of the right words to write here. After a fantastic adventure with Human Made that kicked off on July 2013 with Happytables, and took me all the way to working on the various solutions we’ve been building for clients, today is my last day at Human Made.

This last lustrum meant a lot to me, and I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity to work with some of the smartest and brightest people I’ve ever met. Whilst I passionately love the whole concept of remote work, I wish I had spent more time together in the same place with them—maybe that’s what made the six retreats, one team meetup, and several trips and co-working sessions I had with many of them so special.

The Human Made team, Petritoli (Italy), 2017.

I’ve made some wonderful friends at Human Made, and many memories that I will cherish forever. The laughs, the hugs, the deepest and most interesting conversations, until the replies that I received when I announced my farewell internally—it was amazing to see how many things they remember about me, the time we met each other for the first time, or the time we did whatever it is that we did together.

Goodbyes aren’t easy, but they’re necessary when you want to fully open yourself to new hellos, so there’s that.

Thank you Human Made.

What’s next?

In case you were wondering—there is no announcement here. For the time being, there is no gig lined up.

Product as a discipline is my bread and butter, so that’s where I’m planning to stay. I’ll obviously keep a particularly focused eye on the intersection between product management and WordPress.

And while I look forward to put all the things I’ve learned over the years to good use wherever the next step of my journey is going to take place…

Can I help you?

Now’s the time to get in touch with me. If you want to pick my brain about your product, your ideas, your processes, remote work, your next talk or anything else before I land my next gig, or if you’re interested to be my next gig, drop me a line at hello@ this domain and let’s talk!

How I Manage My Email

Evergreen topic when it comes to work, communication, and productivity.

My setup is pretty standard, and perhaps won’t apply to many people, but I thought it could be still a good one to share.

I use an email client

As I manage eight email addresses I really can’t jump from Gmail to Gmail, and importing emails from different account into a single one is just a nightmare.

My client of choice is Airmail, both on macOS and on iOS. I know there are probably better clients out there, but I’ve been using it for years and I have yet to find the time to search and setup a new one.

Inbox Zero is my daily goal

And I normally don’t call it a day if I haven’t reached it. Bear in mind, I’m privileged enough to have to do long replies fairly rarely. So at the end of the day I make sure I have read / replied / deleted / archived all the emails that needed one of those actions. Obviously this doesn’t happen everyday.

I always “Reply all” and “Send & Archive”

I don’t always have my eyes on my email. In fact, I check it during my work day with fairly large time gaps. Every time I put my eyes on my inboxes, I reply immediately to all emails that require a 30 second / 1 sentence answer.

I’m used to “reply all” because it’s the best way to make sure everyone is kept in the loop, and “send and archive” because once the last email in the conversation is mine there’s no reason to keep it in the inbox.

I don’t treat my email like a to-do list.

If something needs to stay in the email as a reminder, the content ends up in a personal Trello board and the email gets archived.

The only reason why an email stays in the inbox is that it requires a reply that can’t be written and sent immediately.

Email notifications

At Human Made we have a bunch of internal websites we use for important discussions (see my 7 Tips to use Slack effectively, second tip). I constantly tweak and optimise what I want to see in my email from those—some sites don’t affect my work, so I don’t get notified. Some do, marginally, so I get notified only for posts. Other sites are important to me, so I get notifications for posts and comments.

Every time I get subscribed to a new GitHub repo I click the unwatch link if it doesn’t affect my work. The link is in the email notification you receive when you get subscribed, so in case you didn’t notice it please consider clicking it straight away otherwise you’ll get flooded with ticket notifications you don’t care about.

Newsletters

I use only one personal email address to aggregate the handful of non-work newsletters I receive—news briefings, which I read in the morning, hobby-related stuff, which I read in the late afternoon.

I don’t filter / label / snooze / use the importance marker.

Too much work. Email for me is simple: it’s all about reading, replying, deleting, archiving.

Curious to see if you have something you could share!

Send better emails with SCRAP

Over the last few months I’ve been talking about writing quite often. One of the main takeaways I normally convey is this: you should (almost) never start from a blank page. Always, always have a clear structure first.

Templates usually help, and I have several of those for all the kinds of write-ups I regularly do. When it’s time to send a business email, whether I know the recipient or not, I usually try structuring the text using the SCRAP model.

What does SCRAP stand for?

A message that’s been put together according to the SCRAP formula has these ingredients, in this exact order:

Situation: where we’re at right now.
Complication: the problem that needs to be dealt with.
Resolution: your proposed way to fix the problem.
Action: the action you want the reader to take (a click, or even a simple answer).
Politeness: the end, on a friendly note.

Here’s a simple example. Alex and Sam are two random people who briefly met at a meetup. In this email, Sam is doing a classic networking follow-up and the SCRAP model fits perfectly:

Hey Alex,

Lovely to meet you yesterday at the Product meetup! Glad we were able to chat before the schedule got underway.  ➡️ SITUATION

I remember you mentioned [CHALLENGE], which is far too common in our industry. ➡️ COMPLICATION

Since that’s exactly what our team does, I’d be really happy to have a chat with you and explore ways to work together. ➡️ RESOLUTION

It would be great to schedule a Skype call earlier next week. Does Monday 10AM work for you? ➡️ ACTION

Looking forward to hearing from you. ➡️ POLITENESS

Cheers!

Sam

Why does it work?

As a template, it works by default—it gives you a framework with five content blocks to fill, so that you can create a first version quickly and painlessly. As a message, it’s short and to the point, and prompts the recipient to perform the intended action.

Resizing multiple objects in Keynote

More like a note to self than a real Keynote protip, because for some reason I never seem to remember this little trick when I need it.

If you need to resize multiple objects in keynote, select them, then Arrange → Group.

Menu entry for grouping multiple objects to resize them in Keynote

Once they’ve been grouped, you’ll be able to resize them with your mouse.

Ungroup to get back to single objects.

Blogs and social media at WordCamp Edinburgh 2017

I’m super excited to announce that I’m speaking at WordCamp Edinburgh 2017! I’ll present a talk about long-form content and social media, which I’ve cheekily titled Are Twitter threads killing blogs?

WordCamp Edinburgh will take place on 22-23 July at CodeBase, the UK’s largest startup incubator, located at the foot of Edinburgh Castle. I’ll speak on Saturday, at 3:45pm, and it’s going to be the closing keynote of day 1.

Tickets are still available, so if work with WordPress and you’re in the position to afford a trip to Edinburgh, don’t hesitate and come with us.

Links

My speaker profile
My talk’s abstract
WordCamp Edinburgh 2017 schedule

WordCamp Europe 2017

WordCamp Europe 2017 is starting in just three days! 15-17 June in Paris, France.

I’ll be there, travelling from the UK. On a Eurostar, which excites me big time—you know how much I love train trips.

Looking forward to seeing all my friends (whether from Human Made or the greater WordPress community), meeting new people, and obviously listening to another bunch of amazing talks.

See you at WordCamp Brighton?

Yep, another WordCamp in South England where I’m speaking. 🎉

In my talk at WordCamp Brighton I’ll explain who a product person is and how I apply my product person identity to everything I do.

It’s pretty much the same talk I’ve done at WordCamp Torino, but this time it’s going to be in English and I’ll only have 15 minutes, so I’m planning to structure it quite differently.

WordCamp Brighton will be held on the 18th and 19th of August 2017 at The Old Market (11A Upper Market St, Brighton BN3 1AS). There will also be a Contribution Day on the 20th of August 2017 at Barclays Eagle Labs (1 Preston Rd, Brighton BN1 4QU). I’ll speak on Friday 18th, at 1:30pm.

Tickets & Sponsorship spaces

Both tickets and sponsorship spaces are still available.

If you work in the WordPress ecosystem and a trip to Brighton doesn’t break your bank, don’t think twice and buy that ticket. You’ll learn something, expand your network, and contribute to the project.

If you think that exposing your brand and support a growing WordPress community makes sense for your business, there are still 3 sponsorship packages that come with a stand. Other spaces that are cheap and unlimited are also available, and they’re all perfect to have some exposure and contribute to the success of the event.

Links

My speaker profile
My talk’s abstract
WordCamp Brighton 2017 schedule

Out of Office 2017 is today, have you signed up?

We’re doing it again. After last year’s successful edition, we decided to put together another Out of Office event.

Click the image 👇 to know more and sign up

What is Out of Office, exactly?

It’s a conference about all the things related to remote work. This year we’re having speakers from GitHub, Forbes, Zapier and other big guns of the Internet, touching on a fairly wide array of topics—from remote project management to culture, growth and team building.

It is ONLINE, so you will be able to watch it from any device as long as it benefits from an Internet connection. Wherever you are—co-working space, home office, living room, you name it.

It is FREE, so you won’t pay a dime for it. You only need to sign up and wait for today 4pm UK time. There’s still time.

It is INTERACTIVE, so you’ll be able to ask questions, upvote other people’s questions—Reddit style—and get answers from both our speakers and Human Made folks.

Cool! On social media?

We’re on Twitter and will be live tweeting the event with highlights from our speakers and other details. Make sure you follow us, even—and I dare say, especially—if for some reason you can’t watch the event live.

Want to tweet about the event? Awesome! Please use the hashtag #outofoffice17 so all the conversations will be gathered under one stream.

We look forward to see you!