Hi there 👋

Greetings! I’m Andy Nortrup, a Product Manager by trade, beginner bonsai artist, father, husband and U.S. Army veteran. I write about some of that here.

LLMs - I won't be fooled again

I’ve stayed on the sidelines of much of the LLM debate, but I’m willing to stake out my skepticism on this “world changing” technology. As I think back over the arch of my online life, I see these foundational models as the latest in a series of events where amazing technology was going to change the world. But each time individual value is diluted for corporate money grabs. Going way back in time, my first real formative experience on the internet was Geocities....

April 30, 2023 · 7 min · Andy Nortrup

Balancing Feedback Loops in Product

Working with some colleagues recently I was asked “Why aren’t we doing all the things to really be [desired state], we should pause and think about how we really want to restructure the company and the way we build software to do it right.” My colleague has a great instinct and she isn’t wrong in seeing the gaps that we have in the product and how we produce software. But I think that its important to apply systems thinking to solving these problems. That requires us to understand where we can apply leverage to change the balancing feedback loops that are enabling and constraining our products. ...

March 28, 2023 · 4 min · Andy Nortrup

Productboard Field Descriptions and Process Documentation

I’ve been working with Productboard a lot in the past few months. Purchasing and helping Tanium implement it has been one of my primary tools to help improve our prioritization, process, and transparency with the rest of the organization. One of my favorite things about Productboard is the ability to super easily document what fields are and how they are supposed to be used immediately inside of the product. I use this all the time to both make my life easier as the person building systems, and it lowers the adoption curve quite a bit for my users. It also feels like a good example of your process being open source. Where it is clear it is easy update your process documentation. ...

March 18, 2023 · 2 min · Andy Nortrup

Star Magnolia - Spring 2023 Update

It’s early spring here in the Seattle area that means its time to get into my very modest garden and start going any repotting that needs doing. We had a very warm early February, followed by a a cold spell in the second half of the month. Which meant that all the trees woke up, and then had to be shuffled in and out of my workshop. But when the trees start to wake up you have to do the work of repotting them before you miss the window....

March 11, 2023 · 3 min · Andy Nortrup

The Product Management System

I’m in the midst of reading Thinking in Systems: A Primer(affiliate link) to my list of recommended reads for Product Managers. It is one of those books like Principals of Product Development Flowthat show you why things work at a deeper systemic level that you’ve just been emersed in. It’s a book that points out the water for the fishes. I had a moment of illumination when reading her description of the reinforcing and balancing feedback loops that drive physical systems....

March 4, 2023 · 3 min · Andy Nortrup

Hashtag strings in Hugo

I did a fun bit of Hugo templating today that seemed worth sharing. I was previously generating my list of hashtags to apply to a social post inside of my Zapier workflow. I’d pull the list of tags then manipulate them into a single string and add the # symbol. Today I realized that this would be much simpler to do in Hugo as part of my JSON output. It came out like this:...

March 1, 2023 · 1 min · Andy Nortrup

Stoic Objectives

Jeff Gothelf has a great post that brings together Product Managemet and my preferred philosophy, Stoicism. Understanding our customers’ users is key to building products they’ll both love. Measuring your success based on your customers’ behavior is the only way for you to know for sure whether or not you’re delivering value and solving a real problem for them. Any user behaviors that are one step removed from your direct influence pose a risk to your key results....

February 27, 2023 · 1 min · Andy Nortrup

Link Roundup 2023-02-25

A quick roundup of the things I’ve been reading and enjoying this week From Outputs to Outcomes: Bridging the Four Gaps Itamar Gilad Start using outcome goals right now where you can. For example if the mindset is ripe in some parts of the company, say certain product teams, start there. If you don’t have the infrastructure to run A/B experiments, start discovering your product using surveys, customer interviews, and fake door tests....

February 25, 2023 · 3 min · Andy Nortrup

Fediverse Hosting Wishlist

I’ve been experimenting with the Fediverse / Mastadon and I really like it. I’ve been on my friend’s Seattle locals instance that he runs as a hobby. I sort of want to run my own instance, but I don’t want to think about any of the server operations. I want a hosting provider and I want it t to make it easy. Content moderation is the problem Content moderation is the biggest problem in Social Media, particularly scaled social media....

February 10, 2023 · 5 min · Andy Nortrup

Tensions in Product Ops Tool Design

I think my core challenge with Product Ops, particularly standing it up from scratch, is the tension for modeling systems and processes as they are now vs how I want them to be. Paired with the tension between how much we need to change and how fast the organization is able to absorb change. Especially as the guardian and manager of the product tool stack. I know that if I set up the tools the way we work now, then everyone will continue the way we are now....

January 28, 2023 · 2 min · Andy Nortrup