A Curated Directory of the Best Techniques, Case Studies, Articles, Blogs, Events, and a Helluva Lot More.
There are some great product management resources out there, but when looking specifically for mobile product resources, you may find yourself a little hard pressed. That’s why we’ve specially curated the best content out there that every mobile product manager should know about to stay on top of the ever entropic mobile space.
Our goal here is to simply provide a reference guide to solutions to your challenges, relevant blogs and events, and keep you on top of what’s going on in the world of mobile product. Be sure to check back for more updates as the space grows :).
Table of Contents:
Must Read Articles for Every Mobile Product Manager
- The Mobile Growth Stack by Andy Carvell of SoundCloudA PM at SoundCloud, Andy Carvell talks specifically about all the different components and issues to address in a mobile product. His now well-known depiction of the Mobile Growth Stack has been circulated all around the web for good reason. It’s a great holistic view of what it takes to achieve growth on mobile.
- On Product Management by Intercom
Recommended by many of the top influencers in the field, Intercom’s guide to product management is an in-depth and fascinating read on product management. They talk about everything from when NOT to build a feature, deciding features to build, building hooks, getting your features used, and still manage to keep it engaging and fun. A highly recommended read.
- Mobile App Developers are Suffering by Alex Austin of Branch
“It’s just too saturated. The barriers to adopting and therefore monetization are too high. It’s easier on the web,” said a friend of Austin. And he’s totally right. Growing a mobile product is seems like a herculean task these days. In his article, Austin breaks down the dismal state of the current app ecosystem, and what needs to be done
- 11 Things Every Product Manager Needs to Know by Kendrick Wang of Apptimize
Mobile Product Managers have a lot of unique challenges that don’t exist in any other PM field. In this comprehensive post, we go over the critical challenges that every MPM is going to face, as well as how top teams are overcoming them. Ranging from absolute basics to the bleeding edge, this is a must read for anyone in the field.
- Why Mobile First May Already be Outdated by Intercom
“What matters today is screens, not devices.” Intercom dives deep into the phrase “mobile first” and how the mobile strategies for any company need to evolve their thinking and approach when it comes to new channels.
- Mobile Is Not a Neutral Platform by Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz
Benedict Evans is well aware of the intense competition for mobile dominance. In this article he outlines the future to come and how Facebook, Google, Apple, and other giants are jostling for the top spot.
- Lyft Goes Swift: How (And Why) It Rewrote Its App by Harry McCracken of Fast Company
Should you write your iOS app in Swift? Lyft did. They rewrote their entire app and now are reaping the benefits. The question is: is Swift right for you?
- New Data Shows Losing 80% of Mobile Users is Normal, and Why The Best Apps Do Better by Andrew Chen of Uber
Andrew Chen, one of the most well known writers in the mobile field talks about a huge (and largely unaddressed) problem with mobile apps: what happens after the download. In his article he talks about why retaining mobile users is one of the most vital focal points.
- Mobile App Startups Are Failing Like It’s 1999 by Andrew Chen of Uber
In this article, Andrew Chen addresses an unspoken, lurking barrier for every mobile team: shipping app updates. Due to the app store we’re unable to use all the agile techniques that allow us to fully harness analytics and customer feedback to grow our apps like we do our businesses.
- An Introduction to Mobile Product Management by Apptentive
An excellent resource for those just starting to move into the mobile product field. Apptentive’s Introductory Guide goes through the basic questions and challenges any business will face when creating a mobile product. They cover key differences between mobile and web, whether to use in house or outsourced development, KPIs, and managing the product.
Logins, Registrations, Permissions, and Onboarding
Customer Retention and Revenue
Blogs You Should Follow
- Nielsen and Norman Research Group (Product Usability) Experts on usability, the Nielsen Norman group puts out some of the best usability content for both web and mobile. They regularly publish amazing content and research on how to best design your app.Recommended Content: Image vs List Mobile Navigation, Basic Patterns for Mobile Navigation: A Primer, Mobile Content: If in Doubt, Leave It Out
- Intercom (Product Management) Intercom’s team has some amazing PMs working for them, and they’re more than happy to share that wealth of knowledge with everyone else.Recommended Content: Why “Mobile First’ May Already Be Outdated, Where Do Product Roadmaps Come From, Onboarding New Users is Harder Than You Think
- Apptimize (Mobile Product & Mobile Release Management)A blog all about growing your app through product. They regularly share 3 types of content: Case studies from customers (Glassdoor, HotelTonight, Vevo, etc.), techniques to solve common mobile challenges (increasing registration conversions, improving menu UI, etc.) as well as techniques teams can use to move faster and have granular control over the release process.Recommended Content: 16 Mobile Mistakes That Plummet User Retention Rates, Vevo Product Team: Why We Got Rid of Onboarding Tutorial Screens Vevo Product Team: Why We Got Rid of Onboarding Tutorial Screens, Glassdoor Increases Registration by 8% with One A/B Test
- Luke W (Digital Product Strategy and Design)A product designer at Google, Luke W is one of the most respected and revered individuals in the design space. While he doesn’t post as often as others on this lists, his writings are always high quality insights into different design aspects whether on mobile, web, wearables, or more.
- Apptentive (Mobile Product & Customer Communication) Apptentive regularly shares great content about mobile product management and connecting with your mobile customers. They do some great research on the mobile product management field and have produced some great content about this emerging position.Recommended Content: 16 Metrics That Matter for Mobile Product Managers, The Guide to Mobile Product Management
- UserOnboard User onboard is the ultimate resource for onboarding. Each week, Samuel Hulick breaks down the onboarding flows from top companies/apps including WhatsApp, Twitter, Slack, and many more. In each breakdown he comments on what’s working, what isn’t and gives insights from his design background on how a user might react and what can be improved.Recommended Content: Inbox by Gmail Teardown, Waze Teardown
- Nir and Far Best known for his book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, Nir Eyal is one of the top influences in the product field. One of my favorite things about Nir is how he applies his psychology knowledge to business. A must for any mobile product team looking to build apps that users actually love.Must Read by Nir: Want To Hook Users? Drive Them Crazy, Hooks: An Intro on How to Manufacture Desire
- Branch (Deep Links & Onboarding) The Branch blog talks about one of the biggest problems in mobile today: user acquisition. It’s a huge problem when the biggest distribution channels are just the App Store and word-of-mouth. The folks at Branch show readers how to achieve mobile personalization through onboarding.
- Upquire The Upquire blog has a quite a few great posts on mobile product, ranging from onboarding, to engagement, and even methods to delight users.Recommended Content: How to Get More App Ratings Without Being a Pain in the Ass, 25 Growth Tips to Increase Mobile App Engagement [Infographic]
- Smashing Magazine Smashing magazine is an online magazine on design techniques, best practices, and valuable content for both designers and developers. They regularly publish long-form high-value content about mobile and web design.
- Mobile Growth (Medium) The Mobile Growth publication on medium is all about what to do once you’ve launched your app. Topics range from deep linking to onboarding to techniques and retention.Recommended Content: The Ultimate Guide to Unlocking Mobile Growth, Unlocking the Secrets of Mobile Growth with Pinterest
- Amplitude The blog at Amplitude is all about making the most of your analytics. One of the most vital tools for measuring progress, using data to drive your company, and understanding users, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting everything you can out of your analytics platform.Recommended Content: Why You Need Cohorts to Improve Your Retention,
- Reddit (Product Management Forums) A fairly good resource to ask questions and connect with the community. It’s one of the few active PM forums out there.
Blogs About the Mobile Industry
- Flurry Insights BlogFlurry is already one of the most popular analytics platforms, so it’s no surprise that they’re able to capture gargantuan amounts of data about the mobile space. They’re always posting fascinating numbers whether they’re centered on Messaging Apps, Retail Banking, Device Usage Over the Holidays, or any other segment.Recommended Content: App Install Addiction Shows No Signs of Stopping, Health and Fitness Apps Finally Take Off, Apps Continue to Dominate Mobile Web
- ARC by Applause The Application Resource Center by Applause is one of the best put together resources on the mobile field. The team there posts quite often, talking about everything from the comeback of web apps, to ecommerce stats, to breakdowns of the latests news.Recommended Content: Spotify is the New King of the App Store, Here are the Biggest Issues Facing Today’s Mobile Leaders, A Weak Middle Class May Be Emerging in the Apps Economy
- App Annie A market leader when it comes to app market insights, App Annie’s blog is constantly pushing out insights into the what’s going on in the app stores. It’s never a bad idea to know what’s going on.Recommended Content: 2015 Q1 App Usage Report
- Benedict Evans – A partner at Andreessen Horowitz, Benedict Evans’ views and predictions for the direction of mobile are more mature than almost any other in the space. Coming from a VC point of view, Evans gives greats high level overview of mobile as a whole.Recommended Content: Mobile Is Not A Neutral Platform, Mobile Is Eating The World,
- Alex Austin – The CEO of Branch, a mobile deep linking company, Alex Austin is a refreshing combination of technical savvy combined with a great ability to articulate visionRecommended Content: The Ultimate Guide to Unlocking Mobile Growth, Mobile App Developers are Suffering
- Andrew Chen – Now head of supply growth at Uber and an advisor for an impressive portfolio of companies, Andrew Chen is one person the mobile space can’t seem to reference enough. Chen talks about mobile, metrics, growth hacking, and startups.Recommended Content: New Data Shows Losing 80% of Mobile Users is Normal, and Why The Best Apps Do Better, Mobile App Startups Are Failing Like It’s 1999
- Kenneth Berger – The first PM at Slack, one of the most exciting companies of 2015. We’ve talked about them before, especially their radically different method for user registrations.Recommended Content: Build A Product with Peaks and Valleys, How to Make a Firehose of Feedback Useful
- Chuck Rossi (Facebook)– The Director of Release Engineering at Facebook (and the only man with a Dislike button), Rossi has been instrumental to the success of Facebook’s mobile dominance. Already the best known release engineer in the space, Rossi’s relentless focus on increasing mobile iteration speed has been critical to the growth, testing, and triumph of Facebook’s multiple apps.Recommended Content: Releasing and Optimizing Mobile Apps for the World, Release Engineering and Push Karma, Releng 2014: Release Engineering at Facebook
- Sam Shank (HotelTonight) – HotelTonight is one of the most important mobile apps out there today. Why are they so significant? With their mobile-first mentality, HotelTonight has constantly been pushing the boundaries of mobile, staying on the cutting edge, and carving out space in the travel space previously dominated by huge players such as Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, and other giants.
- Amanda Richardson (HotelTonight) – The VP of Product at HotelTonight, she’s been responsible for so many of the exciting new features and product improvements. Richardson also speaks about being one of a few females in the product management field, and the challenges that come with it.Recommended Content: A Girl’s Guide to Product Management, What Makes a Great Product Manager?
- Netflix – Netflix is probably one of the most data driven companies in the world today. They run thousands of tests, are constantly honing their personalization algorithms, and even using data to create new original series. Their tech blog often breaks down how they’ve been doing it.Recommended Content: The Registration Test Results Netflix Never Expected, Learning a Personalized Homepage, Netflix Likes React
- Facebook – Facebook is the clear leader in many fields, but also one you may not have thought of: mobile release management. Every week, Facebook quietly updates its apps. In charge of this cadence is Director Chuck Rossi, a leader in the release engineering field who works on both mobile and web deployment to ensure Facebook is achieving continuous delivery, and constantly testing and improving their product.
Conferences + Events
- Habit Summit (March 22, 2016 at Stanford University, CA) “Join entrepreneurs, innovators, and industry insiders to learn how to build more engaging products and services. Dive into consumer psychology, design, and behavioral science to develop products that stick. This event is for product designers, executives, and marketers: those who need to understand what makes customers tick.” Personally, I’m really looking forward to this one. Nir has a refreshingly different take on product design and I consume his content voraciously.
- Manifesto SF (March 2016 in San Francisco, CA) “An event for product thinkers, designers, and makers.” I attended this event a few months back and came back with some great new connections and ideas. The highlights of the event were discussing growth hacking with Andrew Chen, Anna Blaylock sharing an enthralling story about testing Netflix’s landing pages, and insight into Slack’s product growth from Kenneth Burger.
- Mobile Apps Unlocked (May 4-5, 2016 Las Vegas, NV + July 2016 in New York City ) “The Summit for Master App Acquisition and Retention.” Hosted by Grow.co, Mobile Apps Unlocked is all about acquisition and retention, sharing actionable content with the community. This year, they’ll be concentrating on retention case studies, deep linking, and customer acquisition channels.
- Growth Marketing Conference (Dec 3-4, 2015 in San Francisco CA) A conference about innovation and growth, this conference has rounded up a range of great speakers including Rand Fishkin, Hiten Shah, and Sean Ellis to talk about how to achieve that exponential growth we’re all looking for. While it may not be focused on product management, they have some great talks such as monetization and retention techniques and building off other platforms for growth.
- Mind the Product (TBD 2016 in San Francisco, CA) “The conference for passionate product people.” One of the largest gatherings of mobile product managers in the United States, Mind the Product seeks to bring together the PM community to learn from industry leaders and mingle with others dedicated to the craft. Previous speakers include Nir Eyal and Des Traynor (Co-founder of Intercom).
- Product Camp (Various around the World) Product Camp is a free, user-driven, collaborative “unconference” for Product Managers and Marketers that occur in various locations around the world. These all day events are focused on both learning and sharing, with all attendees sharing, learning, teaching, and contributing to discussions around different sessions.
- Lean Startup (Fall 2016 in San Francisco, CA)The Lean Startup Conference, a gathering for entrepreneurs, innovators, and thought leaders from across sectors and structures. Here, it’s all about agile and validation before heavy investment, which is something most of us could learn to do better. The conference has a wide swath of talks including analytics, running experiments, venture capital, building communities, and product development.
- Industry (Sept 15-16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio) Industry is a “conference for people who build, launch, and scale world class products.” The two day event includes masterclasses, workshops, and meetups all designed for product people. Past speakers include Nir Eyal, the head of product at Uber, and Trevor Owens, the author of Lean Enterprise.
- Traction (TBD October 2016 in San Francisco) A conference about growth, distribution, building products that people love. Taking a more holistic view, Traction is all about building products and companies that succeed from the ground up, whether that’s building a team, making product decisions, distribution channels, or cross/up-selling. Past speakers include C-Suite executives of all types from Slack, Zenefits, MongoDB, Shazam, Evernote, and Surveymonkey.
- Mobile Innovation Summit (August 15-17 in Chicago, IL) A mobile-first conference for the retail and restaurant space. Mobile Innovation Summit is all about how companies can best improve their strategies to take advantage of mobile technologies such as secure payments, analytics, creating hooks, and the whole shabang. Past speakers include teams from Chipotle, HotelTonight, Regal, Waze, Pizza Hut, Walgreens, United, and many more.
- LTR by Appboy (TBD Fall 2016 in New York City) A mobile conference focused on long term relationships (hence the name LTR). While it’s slightly more geared toward mobile marketers, the event talks mobile product, strategy, and engagement + retention strategies.
- Products That Count– PTC is a “forum for product makers, data-minded thinkers and innovators rich of 7000+ tech professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area.” One of the most active product-focused groups in the Bay Area, Products That Count. Not only do they put out a great weekly newsletter on the best product articles, but they host regular meetups in the city featuring speakers from Lyft, Slack, GrowthHackers, TiVo, and many more.Locations: San Francisco, CA
- ProductTank – “Meetups for product people, by product people.” With product meetups spanning across the entire globe, Product tank is an informal meetup focused on bringing together the local product community in each city.Locations: Global (See website for details)
- Designers + Geeks – “Designers + Geeks is a community for people interested in design, art, and technology.” The team hosts monthly events focused mainly on the intersection of design and technology.Locations: San Francisco, CA and New York City, NY
- Silicon Valley Product Management Association (SVPMA) – Going 15 years strong, SVPMA is “an organization that was founded to address the needs of Product Managers, Product Marketing Managers, and others in the Product Management Field.” They host monthly meetings, workshops, and other events focused the day-to-day issues, career development, and emerging issues that PMs face today.Locations: San Francisco Bay Area
- Mobile Growth Hackers – Hosted by the good folks at Branch, Mobile Growth Hackers is a group of mobile developers, startups, and marketers interested in growing apps. Topics range from organic growth hacking, paid installs, deep linking, and referral systems. Having gone to quite a number of these myself, I find the community quite warming and the talks always interesting.Locations: San Diego, SF Bay Area, Los Angeles, Austin, Singapore, Boston, New York, Seattle, Detroit, Pune
- Lean Product & Lean UX Meetup Silicon Valley – “This group is for people interested in applying Lean Startup, Lean UX, and Agile principles to design and develop products that customers love.” The meetup is all about learning and applying the latest tools and techniques to deliver great products.Locations: Silicon Valley
- Mobile On Tap– Mobile on Tap’s goal is to give members a chance to learn from leading mobile teams, ask questions, and of course, network with others. Located in Chicago, IL, they regularly host meetups at speakers’ headquarters for an inside look at how the companies have grown.Locations: Chicago, IL
Got any more resources that I should add to this list? Shoot me an email at kendrick (at) apptimize (dot) com and let me know!