Complete Intro to Product Management

Google Maps Exercise

Brian Holt

Brian Holt

SQLite Cloud
Complete Intro to Product Management

Check out a free preview of the full Complete Intro to Product Management course

The "Google Maps Exercise" Lesson is part of the full, Complete Intro to Product Management course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Students are instructed to list the stakeholders involved in adding a feature that makes ordering food easier on Google Maps. Pros and cons of this feature should also be listed for each stakeholder.


Transcript from the "Google Maps Exercise" Lesson

>> So here's your exercise. You are the product manager of Google Maps, and are given the director to make it easy to order food on the Google Maps interface. So the user story is gonna look like this. As an end user of Google Maps, I want to be able to search for local restaurants and order food from there, directly from the Google Maps interface.

Okay, I want you over the next little bit to list out all the stakeholders that you think are involved in this particular feature. And what you're kind of trading off between all these different products, or of these stakeholders if you were to implement some sort of feature like this.

You can do this in VS Code, that's probably what I would do it in cuz I used to work on it. So I'm obsessed, or you can just do it on Google Docs. Great trick is if you just do It takes you to a brand new Google Doc.

So that's your exercise. We'll come back, and we'll talk a little bit about it, but we already did it a little bit, so we'll go move pretty fast through the exercise and get on to the next thing. But I think it's just a good exercise in like, how do we think about stakeholders?

So hopefully, this was a fun exercise for you. We can just chat about this out loud and let me know if you have different ideas than me. But other than the normal kind of stakeholders that we're talking about in the previous exercise, I would certainly view delivery people as a unique stakeholder in this.

What's their experience like? What is the ordering merchant like? And then you have to consider the stakeholders inside the restaurant to the liner records, how are they getting their tickets? How are they acknowledging their tickets? How are they saying that they're done? How are they communicating problems? You have to worry about your customer's support in there.

These are all product stakeholders that have surface area into your application, and you need to consider. And so if you're making it easier for customer support, are you messing with delivery people? Are you messing with end users, like the delivery people? Those are all kind of people that I'm thinking about.

I mean, you need to think about people that are looking at Google Maps that are not looking for delivery. So if you're putting that very front and center, you're gonna be annoying a lot of people that don't want that right now, right? So you need to make it findable but not annoying.

And sometimes that can be fundamentally at odds, right? So the other thing that I think it's really hard with these kind of Swiss Army knife kind of products is what is your point, right? So if you pull up a listing for a Google Maps kind of business, what is your point?

And the answer is, we don't actually know until you start showing us your intent, right? So if you're scrolling down, are you looking for the hours, are you trying to order food? Are you trying to make a reservation? Are you trying to see if the reviews are good, the reviews are bad?

Are you trying to leave a review? Are you a business owner trying to dispute a review? There's so many stakeholders there that making this kind of listing look good and be useful for so many people ends up being a really, really, really hard problem. So I intentionally chose Google Maps because they specifically have that problem, right?

My project with Streamlit, I mean, even Streamlit has some of that problem sometimes. We have developers and data scientists, and those are two very different demographics of people. They share some, both of them probably write Python? So one of them was like one's use Git and pylints, and Flake8, and Black, and one of them's like, I don't know what any of those are, please just let me write code, right?

Or please just give me the data. So I do struggle with this somewhat as well. You kind of have to account for all these different personas and these different stakeholders in your application. So any questions about that? Any interesting insights anyone had when doing this exercise for themselves?

>> I think the issue that I ran into, sorry, was you order something and it's not available, and you don't find out until later, and that's really annoying. Cuz I'm like, well, this is what I wanted, and you're now calling me telling me that it's not available.
>> After 20 minutes, right?

>> After 20 minutes-
>> [CROSSTALK] I'm here, about ready to punch someone.
>> [INAUDIBLE] 20 minutes ago, and I'm still hungry now, and what do I do then?
>> Well, and so here's a problem that like, who is that customer going to blame?
>> I'll probably blame the restaurant cuz it's the most convenient option.

>> But is that the right person to blame? Or is it Google for not making that more obvious to them immediately so that they could say, we actually don't have that. And is there one right answer to that question?
>> I don't think the right average consumer is gonna think about that.

>> Yeah, they're gonna blame probably all of you, right? And likely probably Google cuz that's the interface that they have is like, well, I did this with Google and Google didn't make it right. F you, Google, right?
>> I took a similar note regarding menu option availability. Like if you have daily specials, are you manually entering that through some management interface on Google Maps.

Or is there some automation tooling built into Google Maps for restaurant owners to manage those sorts of things? And if you ran out of the soup of the day, how do you notify Google to update that menu item's availability for users of Google? There's a lot of COGS that need to stay linked and turning together for that pull operation to be a success.

>> That's where my brain went on this, right? What is the operational procedure in place for this from the business and then also from the consumer? If I tip, where is the tip going? To who, and how is it getting there, etc? But then to your point with 86, the cheesecake, how do I know that the cheesecake is 86?

>> Right.
>> Yep, this is exactly what I want you to get out of this, is like, okay, I need to think about everyone this affects. And I need to figure out who's getting something good and who's getting something bad, and then weigh those kind of impacts. Cuz as Google, am I willing to say, hey, restaurants, you need to keep your listings up-to-date?

That actually might be a pretty reasonable ask of you to make of them. But like, hey, we're gonna send you an order, and we're gonna send it late, and all of a sudden, you're gonna figure out that you actually don't have any of these things. And now, by the way, you have to call the customer, right?

That would be a very bad stakeholder management there because you would really piss off the businesses as well as pissing off your customers, right? So it just sucks.
>> Something I found interesting, it's related, is who suffers long-term from this, right? This great example of, we run out of a product, who's likely to get repeat business on this?

It's Google. Whether or not they didn't deliver this service, they have a huge footprint of services to deliver. And so your consumer who Google causes business X a problem, well, business X deals with the fallout because Google can just redirect their user's attention somewhere else
>> Or more sponsored listings.

>> Yes,-
>> [LAUGH]
>> More sponsored listings. And this is, I mean, literally a privileged position that Google has put itself in as a company. And the thing that I found most interesting was you have highly competitive stakeholder groups here. Because your C-suite is not caring much who goes out of business as long as there's somebody to direct business to that they can skim.

>> Right, well, and that's only scalable to such a certain point, because eventually, you're gonna have open revolt, right? Also, the restaurants are gonna come together and say, okay, you're screwing all of us, none of us are gonna list on your platform. It's tons of bad press cycles.

You can only take so many withdrawals from that system before the system fights back. And I'm gonna argue, I think it's unethical as well, right? And that's a lens that you should consider in all of these things, is like, am I acting ethically towards all of my stakeholders, right?

>> Brian, this is related but kinda tangent. In this situation, if you were working on this, when are you bringing in empathy and thought for accessibility?
>> That's a good question, it's certainly a stakeholder, right? Someone's gonna be accessing your site that has either a temporary or permanent kind of capabilities.

So a good example of that is when I'm holding my son, right, I only have, at best, one hand to work with something, right? Or someone that just doesn't have a right arm altogether would have the same sort of capability. How are we providing for all of them?

Ideally, Microsoft is awesome about this, is they have an accessibility team that you just bring in and say, hey, what kind of special considerations do I have here? Another example of this is I've worked on a product called the Stripe Shell, which I can show you, If you go to, it actually opens a little console directly in your browser, where you can do CLI commands directly against the Stripe CLI, but in your browser.

How do you make that accessible? I don't know the ins and outs of accessibility of terminals, right? So we just hired a consultant, right? Really early on, I was like, this is gonna be a really sticky problem, and so we didn't have it by launch. I don't even know if actually still has it, to be honest with you.

It's something I pushed for quite a bit. But at least us having a plan, so when we launched, there was a bunch of people who said like, this is zero accessible, and I was like, we know, and we're really sorry. We wanted to make sure it worked before we invested a lot into this accessibility project.

We have a consultant, she's been hired, she's ready to go, we just haven't started yet. And that was enough to avoid the bad press cycle. So early when possible, and especially if you have resources at hand, make sure you're really good friends with them. Otherwise, sometimes it's just got to be do your best.

Some companies just don't emphasize it enough, I don't know, that's probably my realistic answer to that question.

Learn Straight from the Experts Who Shape the Modern Web

  • In-depth Courses
  • Industry Leading Experts
  • Learning Paths
  • Live Interactive Workshops
Get Unlimited Access Now