Episode 2: The Pickle Jar

Episode 2

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In this second episode, Karl and Danielle discuss why they started Productly Speaking. They also discuss the different stages of a product’s lifecycle and how different skills are needed for each stage. They also introduce the pickle jar. Further points of discussion include the difficulty of making an impact seven levels down in a large organisation.

Key Points

00:00Introduction 01:50Why Did We Start Productly Speaking? 04:46The Different Stages of the Product Lifecycle 10:01Confirmation Bias and Survivor Bias 11:39Handling Products in the Latter Stages of Their Lifecycle 14:40Pricing Model Changes and Adobe’s Move to Subscriptions 16:54Making an Impact in an Organisation 18:01The Triad: Design, Engineering, and Product 19:24The Challenges of Bringing Product Into an Engineering Led Organisation 20:58The Pickle Jar 25:59Being a Product Manager at Seven Levels Down in an Organisation and Making an Impact 31:29Outro

Call to Action

Think about the different stages in the product lifecycle and which one gives you the most joy or seems the most challenging and find a way to position yourself as the right person for a product in that stage.


“The Pickle Jar effect is where somebody will have been at the company trying to open a jar. There is something in the jar that your team needs and you’re trying to open it — you’ve banged it on the side, run it under hot water, used a tea towel and all of this — and then the new guy is like ‘Oh! The jar needs opening. Give it here. I’ll take it! I’ll be able to open it!’ So the person who is giving up the jar is quite resentful because what are you going to try that I haven’t already tried?”

Danielle Kirkwood

“That’s the beauty of an early stage product. You’re going to learn how many different ways you’re wrong. That’s the whole point. You think you’re right. You’re going to go forward like you’re right. You’re going to market like you’re right and then the market is going to turn around and tell you nope, nope, nope, and nope. Then you’re going to have to address it and change course.”

Karl Abbott

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Season 0Episode 2