AWS announces CloudFront Functions

AWS Logo
AWS Logo

AWS announced general availability of “CloudFront Functions“. The product allows deploying lightweight functions on the edge of CloudFront’s CDN deployment, bringing logic close to the end user. After CloudFlare initiated a trend with their Workers, AWS is the third major cloud player to enter the space with this offering.

The purpose of such an architecture is to bring specific logic closer to the consumer, therefore delivering richer, more personalized content with lower latency. With a distribution across 225+ CloudFront edge locations in 90 cities across 47 countries the promise is huge.

To get developers kickstarted, AWS published a Github repo with examples. As one would expect, these are primarily revolving around http header manipulation and authentication. CloudFront Functions runs JavaScript.

#ProductMonthChallenge

30 Days to a Better PM – That’s the goal of Product School’s #ProductMonthChallange. A different challenge for the entire month of April. Part of the challenge is to share your intentions on social media – like I do with this writing – but you can also follow Instagram. The challenge will start April 1st. That’s two days from now!

Join us for 30 days of learning, growing, and connecting as product people. Download your calendar for your #ProductMonthChallenge!

From the challenge
#ProductChallengeMonth Schedule

ProductMonthChallenge Week One

Day 1: Share Your Intentions on Social Media
Day 2: Write about where you want to be in 10 years time
Day 3: Take the Ultimate Product Trivia Quiz
Day 4: Try out a new product template
Days 5-7: Read a new PM book

ProductMonthChallenge Week Two

Day 8: Write out your mission statement as a product manager
Day 9: Spend 20 minutes learning a new skill
Day 10: Sign up for a webinar
Day 11: Watch a talk on something that interests you
Days 12-14: Try ‘active rest’

ProductMonthChallenge Week Three

Day 15: How would you improve your favorite product?
Day 16: Shoutout a product leader
Day 17: Watch a talk by your favorite company
Day 18: Try a new tool you’ve never used before
Days 19-21: Spend some time away from screens

ProductMonthChallenge Week Four

Day 22: Watch a talk on something new to you
Day 23: Share an insight you’ve learned
Day 24: Listen to a new podcast
Day 25: Sign up for the next big event
Days 26-28: Write an article/blog post

ProductMonthChallenge The Finish Line

Day 29: Meet a teammate for a coffee
Day 30: Reflect on your 30 days

Source: Product School.com

Building a SaaS

Jake Levirne, Senior Director of Product Management at Digital Ocean

Building a product is always for a customer. Developing with this fact in mind helps developers turn their love for technology into more relevant results. Jake Levirne explains the approach for very technical products at Digital Ocean in a small series of videos.

Digital Ocean Blog.

Third-Party API Economy.

The Third-Party API Economy
Image: Grace Isford

How to Give Your Users Superpowers

Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, thrive and give companies an edge for focusing on very specific issues. While the pattern has been around sind the early 2000s, the ecosystem only started to develop this rapidly recently.

Only to make an example, Twilio started their service as an API only offering. The problem the company solves is basically notification. On all channels, mainly texting and calling. Which by itself is pretty complex, compared to what the involving party actually wants to achieve. Twilio is wrapping this functionality to allow their customers take advantage of telecommunication.

Grace Isford made an effort to classify vendors in the market, that follow similar patterns. The criteria for the selection in his chart are:

  • The product reduces complexity
  • The company provides Business Critical Functionality
  • It takes advantage of a technological shift
  • And finally a community factor

The entire sector is currently exploding and it’s difficult to keep track. Specialised services, consumable through Web-APIs become a commodity for at least developers. Grace Isfords chart gives a good overview of the current situation, along with some criteria to consider the offering.

Source: The Third-Party API Economy. How to Give Your Users Superpowers | by Grace Isford | Sep, 2020 | Medium

Introducing TensorFlow Recommenders

TensorFlow, the open-source machine-learning library, introduced a library to make recommendations easier. Recommendations are a crucial component for e-Commerce but also other web-services. Good recommendations help build a better user experience and drive customer engagement. The more time consumers spend on a site, the quicker customers find what they are looking for, the better their satisfaction. Recommendations help achieve this and TensorFlow now makes it easier to improve such functionality.

Introducing TensorFlow Recommenders, a library for building flexible and powerful recommender models.

From the blog.

Source: Introducing TensorFlow Recommenders — The TensorFlow Blog

Magic Email

Magic Email

It’s not like email has been a perfect solution ever, to start with. In fact, email has been broken for most of its existence. Imagine all the rules and filters you need to stay on top of your inbox. When Internet became popular, soon spam became popular.

Email lists were usable only before eternal September began. Just the other day somebody at my employer responded to an email list that has thousands of subscribers. And so did everybody else.

Not to mention those emails that come with a good intention and make it past all filters into your inbox. Those typically span many pages and make you feel guilty for not reading because you’re busy.

Admit it, email is broken.

With the advent of new technology, there are new solutions. Magic Email, as announced by Producthunt in it’s weekly newsletter, is something that I’m totally not sure whether it’s an improvement or total troll. Built on GPT-3, that created some bus on the Internet recently, Magic Email allows you to do two things:

a) It will summarize long emails for you. That actually seems to be a good idea for those emails you just couldn’t get around to reading full detail. At least it will tell you whether it’s worth it to invest more time and go into the details buried in long prose.

b) The much more interesting feature it is, that magic email can write text for you. You just give it a bunch of keywords a simple statement and it will extend to a long email. This is exactly that part that makes me wonder whether the product is meant as a troll. Imagine all those guys responding to an email list. Instead of replying “please unsubscribe me”, GPT-3 will write an exhaustive email basically saying the same. The same level of detail will pull much more of your time. Unless you have Magic Email installed yourself of course.

Nevertheless, the product is amazing.

Magic Email is your AI-powered email assistant that summarizes your emails and generates professional emails from brief one-line descriptions. Get through all of your emails 5x faster so you can free up more time for your important work.

From Producthunt

Source: Magic Email – Summarize and generate emails using GPT-3 in one click | Product Hunt

Working in Agile Mode

“We are not working in this a ‘Agile‘-mode that you’re working in.” she said. She actually tried to disparage the lack of structure in the other team she has been assigned to work with. The team this lady belongs to consider themselves a marketing team. In a high-tech company. Marketing, but still: for technology.

After the assignment to the new team, this lady actually tried to mock the lack or absence of procedures in the new team. Her comment meant to refer to any processes but literally trying to differentiate herself.

The team she is working with initially tracks their tasks of deliverables in a so-called Kanban board. The same team conducts daily standup meetings, that are facilitated by a process owner. About once every other week there are so-called review meetings with the team manager and external stakeholders.

Working in Agile Mode: Kanban
Simple Kanban

All of these are fragments from agile methods.

Of course, it is conjecture. At the same time, this pattern that can be observed in many places. People try to differentiate themselves from the working class, the programmers, the technical guys. While in reality, all colleagues contribute to the same product.

So ultimately, the differentiation between being technical and the business ends up being more hurtful to the companies culture. Not to mention the effects of digitalization, that is based on the assumption that technology will improve everybody’s life. Assuming more technical acumen, even as a business person, will make you a better, more efficient person. Being technical is independent of working in agile mode.