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The Best Consumer Tech Products From The Last Twelve Months

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 29/02/2016 Quora

These questions originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.Answers by Hunter Walk, partner at Homebrew, previously YouTube, Google PM, on Quora.Q: What are the best new consumer tech products that have been launched in the past 12 months?

A: I'm going to mention two very recent launches where the product and launch planning went quite well. Both are Homebrew investments.

Anchor - Public radio created by everyone. Think of it sort of as Twitter but with short audio clips you record instead of 140 character messages.

Why is it interesting: lots of new social apps try to compete to change my existing behaviors - oh, post your pictures here instead of on Instagram; use this to chat with your friends instead of Messenger; etc. What I've found with Anchor is the audio space is new and unclaimed. It's not fighting directly with other learned behaviors/networks. Instead it's allowing me to throw a few thoughts online, using my voice - usually when my headphones are on, before/after listening to music or a phone call.

The launch went very well because the team didn't just double down on tech influencers but were starting to see a very interesting spread into lots of different communities. I've called it ancHER because it also seems to be a very welcoming and open space to strong female voices (literally voices) vs the behavior in some other communities.

eero - finally, WiFi that works - Eero is quite simply the best wifi router solution available. Don't worry about believing me as an investor - just check out what WSJ, Verge, WSJD, etc are saying. It's real hardcore tech - at both the software and hardware layers - and rethinks a moribund space that no one is happy with (home wifi).

After taking pre-orders, eero made the tough decision to delay release ~six moths in order to get everything exactly right. While that was frustrating to parts of their community, they stayed in contact with folks and ultimately delivered something which exceeded expectations!

Q: How do you convince investors to invest in a new venture fund?A: Getting funding for a new venture fund is way harder than fundraising for a new startup. One reason it went well for us is we approached it the same way - with a sense of urgency and clarity of purpose. I detailed our initial fundraise here (Homebrew: 100 Days of Fundraising ) and we're now investing out of our second fund. While it seems to have only taken a brief period of time to raise our first fund, in truth it was more about our reputation and track record than anything we told folks during that 100 days. When we raise our third fund (likely in ~2018), that'll be based on projected Fund I results, not reputation, not momentum, not RTs.
Q: What advice do you have for new product managers, especially those who will build a team under them soon?A: That no matter what level you rise to in the organization, you still...
1) Serve at the behest of your team, the engineers and the rest of the company. they are not your resources to "control" but instead the people you need to inspire, assist and hold to a high standard of excellence.
2) Keep your sleeves rolled up. it's important to stay close to the product, close to the day-to-day. Spend time with the customer support/success team to understand what problems users are having.
3) Build lateral relationships with the other team leads - especially outside of product and engineering. If successful, you should be a trusted nexus.

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