Cisco Blogs

Product Management and an MBA in 240 Pages

October 2, 2009 - 14 Comments

Long-time technology journalist Kevin Maney (of USAToday, Portfolio, and most recently as contributor of cover story on Marc Andreesson to Fortune) has just written a book called “Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On, And Others Don’t.”  The premise is quite intriguing and makes me think this is something that all product managers and MBA students would want to know.

As the book jacket explains, the book is about the:

“ever-present tension between fidelity (the quality of a consumer’s experience) and convenience (the ease of getting and paying for a product). In Trade-Off, Kevin Maney shows how these conflicting forces determine the success, or failure, of new products and services in the marketplace. He shows that almost every decision we make as consumers involves a trade-off between fidelity and convenience–between the products we love and the products we need.”

I caught up with Kevin yesterday in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in Union Square in San Francisco and he talks a bit about his book.

If you’ve read the book, would love to hear your thoughts on this intriguing research.

I haven’t yet read it, but will…and will let you know my thoughts when I finish it.

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. I love your solution.

  2. I also love the concept what Kevin talk about, a lot is known and knows what works! all the best!

  3. Ha I just went to the U2 this was the worst one I have been to... Not worth listening to Bono rant. Their older shows were better.

  4. Interesting take on Kevin Maney's fidelity vs. convenience but I'll have to agree that alot of this content is common sense.

  5. Good review of Maney's book in Time magazine:,9171,1929203,00.html

  6. I love the trade-off model, for it is both descriptive and predictive regarding the success of products and services. I've developed a tool, the Trade-Off Map, which can be used for systematically documenting and analyzing trade-offs including cases described in Kevin Maney's book. The Trade-off Map also facilitates product/service design based on desired trade-offs.You can view the Trade-off Map in the website below:,Rod.

  7. Interesting talk with Kevin Maney at the Churchill Club on the concepts of his book...speaking with EA founder Trip Hawkins and Netsuite CEO Zach Nelson.

  8. i took a look inside the book over at his research seems impressive. from iPhone to 50 cent to starbucks to ringtones.i think i will order the book.cheers"

  9. In a world where everyone wants to build an iPhone hit, this is a book that should be read before you even start thinking about it.Making and innovating are key. However catching on is mandatory.

  10. I love the concept what kevin talk about.. great :)

  11. After reading/listening to your blog, I looked up the book on Amazon. It is definitely worth a read! I've never thought about product development in this way before and judging from the reviews the book received from Amazon, I'm sure I'll learn a thing or two. Thanks so much for sharing this info.

  12. Sorry if I sound a little rude here. But to me this seems like common sense. As the others have said I also love video blogs..Cheers!

  13. Promising title. I wonder if it addresses only new product introductions, or also considers existing product management (i.e. sales strategies).I love video blog posts: saves time, illustrate things better, easier to spot high quality content, among many other things.

  14. nice concept kevin - and i think the medium of recording this on a Flip highlights the very point of the discussion. look forward to reading the book.