Learning from competitors

Despite of LocaWeb’s Blog service, I decided to use Blogger so I could test someone else’s blog service. Knowing the competitors is essential for any product manager, and what a better way to know a competitor than using its product on a regular basis?

And here’s an interesting thing I’ve learned from Blogger. Uploading images to be included in a post may cause an error, as described by the error message below:

This error message showed up when I uploaded GIF files.

It is nice to have a clear error message telling me what to do to solve the problem, but it could be improved:

1. Since the problem seems to be with GIF files, the system should mention that clearly.

2. The error message is ok, but it could be sent automatically to “Blogger Support” since the system knows everything it asks me to report. By sending the error report automatically, the system could simply show me a message such as “an error occurred and we already notified the support team”.

Being on the user side can be very useful for product management, but it is very difficult to be on the user side of your own product. So use your competitor’s product on a regular basis. You’ll certainly learn a lot.

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