Discover more from Leading in Product
How I saved and published a 15-year list of product management articles
Saved first in bookmarks, then in Wordpress, now in Airtable
At https://www.digital-product-management.com, I publish a tagged, searchable resource list of more than 630 product management articles for tech product managers and product leaders.
It started as a personal bookmark list of useful resources. By now, I must have read more than 10,000 articles related to product management in my career. 630 useful articles out of 10,000 means that I saved the top 6%.
Thanks for reading Leading in Product! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
How did I get there?
Phase 1: Browser bookmarks
Phase 2: Wordpress
Phase 3: Airtable
Why? In PM-speak:
As a tech product manager, I wish to quickly find proven solutions to product management problems, so that I will be quicker and more confident in solving them.
Phase 1: Browser bookmarks
When I started my tech product management career in 2007, I began reading a lot of industry articles. I subscribed to the leading newsletters and read all the blogs. Soon I decided to bookmark interesting articles that I wanted to refer to later.
While Firefox allowed me to add tags to bookmarks, I noticed that I was unable to filter and properly search for a certain topic. Additionally, I thought that maybe other product managers might benefit from the list.
Phase 2: Wordpress: Search and Labels
I wanted to set up a curated directoy and I chose https://stashes.io, which seemed pretty good at the time. It’s defunct now, so the link points to the Wayback Machine. When I wanted to set up a custom domain, it was not possible (even though now I think about it, I could possibly have set a CNAME entry in DNS…).
Wordpress does the trick
Then, in 2017, I set up a Wordpress website and bought a theme called Chipmunk Theme. That theme provided the possibility to tag/label and search entries. Success! 😎 I was also able to add the custom domain digital-product-management.com to appear more professional.
I did not self-host the Wordpress installation but chose a hosting service provided by the German hoster “Strato” that included automatic updates for the numerous Wordpress security vulnerabilities.
Unfortunately, I did not save a screenshot of that site. Dang! The Wayback Machine lost the CSS, so that is not a great help.
Phase 3: Airtable, because I don’t like Notion
In 2019, I decided to switch the platform again. The Wordpress site worked well but required some effort to maintain. After all, I was just trying to save bookmarks, find them later when I search for a certain topic, and help others with the curated content.
Notion does not work for me
So I tried out the tool that everybody seems to use these days: Notion. While I used Notion in my day job, I never really got used to it. It always works differently from what I expect. Tabbing through fields doesn’t work as I expect, and I trap myself in formatting that I cannot get right without undoing my actions.
Alternatives were Rows and Airtable. Rows tends to be better at calculation, while Airtable tends to be better at storing and sorting data as a database. There is an open-source alternative called Baserow that I was not aware of at the time. I did not choose any office suite like Google Docs or Microsoft 365 because they seemed… too old-fashioned, I guess, while I wanted glitter. ✨
So I created an Airtable database with three tables: Resouces, Collections, and Tags. The fields in Collections and Tags acted as foreign keys to the Resources entries, even though it’s not called “foreign key” any more.
Now for everything I save as a “bookmark”, I simply add a collection and several tags to each entry into the resources. It’s pretty quick and easy.
I spent less time than I expected on the migration from Wordpress to Airtable. I was able to export the entire table of then 500 entries from Wordpress to CSV. As usual, the data was messed up a bit because I used several separator characters in the description field. It required a bit of manual work to filter all ; , | characters from the raw data, but then I was able to import the CSV into Airtable without much hassle.
The collection regularly helps me find a framework quicker, remember an idea, and inspires me. In short, it is of value to me. I suppose it might also be of value to other tech product managers.
So I decided to charge a small amount of money for it. Given the value of the collection, that should certainly be possible. I wondered how much I should charge. On the one hand, it should reflect the value of the collection, on the other hand, the price should not be prohibitive.
At the moment, I am running an experiment: One can choose between three options:
Time will tell which of the three options will be most widely chosen.
This list is the essence of what I read during my career. I regularly turn to the resource list and it provides me with a lot of value in difficult product management situations.