Robert Zaremba Blog

Doers, Coachers and Product Managers

What do you think about this statement?

We Need Fewer Product Managers.

John Cutler recently published an article with same title.

Later, the author clarifies:

This post has been brewing as I interact with more and more companies struggling to define (and scale) product “management” in increasingly complex organizations.

Personally I can’t agree more. We need more clearly defined roles and doers.


Essential values for leadership


  1. The action of leading a group of people or an organization.
  2. An act or instance of leading; guidance; direction

Leader [by Oxford Dictionary]:

  1. The person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.
  2. An organization or company that is the most advanced or successful in a particular area.

“People go farther than they thought they could when someone else thinks they can.”
     – John Maxwell

Leadership is about delivering the values through the balance of development, business foresight, performance, and character.


Stop publishing PDF

PDF, currently, is the dominant file format in the internet. You can see it everywhere: documentations, manuals, research papers, white papers, yellow papers ...

PDF, Portable Document Format, is a complex file format to present documents without being dependent on the platform (hardware, OS).

PDF is NOT portable in the digital world

The title might sound suspicious. This is what I mean by the digital world: the robots (and applications), which are parsing and consuming the data, and people who are using variety of devices to consume the content in a friendly manner.

This days most of the content is consumed by digital devices. There are many initiatives promoting environmental conscious life and work style (e.g. not printing the documents, emails ...). With smartphones, tablets and ebook readers the digital content is even more accessible for an average user. Instead of going with a bag of papers we can use digital devices to easily store, and read documents whenever we will like. Life should be easy, right?

PDF is not portable on digital screens. It doesn’t scale. It’s not comfortable to read PDF files on a mobile or ebook readers (which, is my favorite way to read documents). Even for the printed documents, people don’t agree on the paper size (US Letter vs A4 ...).

PDF is not easy for parsing and data-mining. The format doesn’t carry any knowledge representation. You can’t connect the “dots” (piece of information) in the PDF document and easily parse it. Other formats are more friendly. For example: HTML has OWL extensions which embeds ontology into the document elements.

Moreover It’s not easier to create the PDF document. You need to think more about the design and typesetting. Having formats which automatically construct the document flow (eg HTML) and editors which will do it automatically, we can focus on the content rather than design.

How about typesetting? Sure, if you want to publish a good-looking book, than you need to care about typesetting. Though majority of documents are not published as books. Even so, popular auto-adjustable formats will compose the content into nice looking paper publications. PDF documents has it’s use-cases (aforementioned complex typesetting, interactive forms, ...) - but as discussed here, it’s not the best neither the simplest for common publications.

Finally all popular devices have ready to install EPUB, MOBI or HTML viewers.


So here is my call: Stop using PDF for internet publications unless you have rigid typesetting requirements (e.g. books with non-trivial design). Try:

  • EPUB - which is basically the HTML page with all dependencies bundled into a zip file.
  • any other markup language, which can easily generate EPUB or HTML.
  • Google Docs (they scale well and you can easily export to docx, epub and PDF when needed).
  • Publish in multiple format if you want to stick with PDF for some reson.

Let’s make the life easier for digital users.

Smart Grid: the Solar Power

The age of solar revolution

In recent years we experienced a great boost in renewable energy sources. Hundreds of companies have born to supply the need for wind and solar plants installation. Tesla, the market leader in environmental friendly energy, moves the Solar power to the next level with their new products (Solar Roof [1], Gigafactory [2], Powerwall 2 [3]) and SolarCity acquisition. The world doesn’t end with Tesla. Big corporations like Samsung, Panasonic, LG are participating in the manufactures pursuit. Oil companies, like Total [4] are taking the challenge as well. We see lot of emerging companies: Powervault SolarEdge, Leclanché, Verengo Solar, SunPower, OneRoof Energy, Suniva, Global Solar ... This only confirms the big shift in energy production which is happening now [5]. Speculants agree that solar will become a dominant energy source by 2050.

Smart Grid

So what is a Smart Grid? In a traditional setup, consumers are connected to an electric network, which is controlled by DSO (Distribution System Operators). The energy is supplied by semi-centralized big utilities. An average John has little to no impact into that network. The energy flow is one-directional, more predictable and controllable. Basically, tt looks like this: