Thinking Platforms with Matt Barcomb


In this podcast episode, Jabe talks to Matt Barcomb, an expert in product management, about the differences between Product Management and Platform Management. The discussion focuses on the need for platforms to enable the market-facing value streams to increase flow of quality and value to customers.

The potential strategies for platforms are narrower than for market-facing products, focusing primarily on ease of use and reuse. Barcomb highlights that platforms have other challenges that are due to their horizontal nature, such as org design and constraints on funding and staffing allocation. In contrast, product management has a broader range of potential strategies to grapple with.

We explore the differences between product lines and product families, where there are common features produced in a common way (a platform) and customizations or specializations get put on top to become a specific product.

User and customer discovery are critical when building platforms. Matt highlights the challenges of creating platforms and the importance of understanding organizational politics, org design, and how different elements of a company are challeged by Platform Management. He point out that if an organization has politcal problems implementing a platform, that is a sign that the system is dysfunctional.

The conversation further explores the challenges of building and using platforms. We talk about the limitations of existing cloud providers, the potential benefits of building one’s own platform.

The speakers suggest that the main problem with platforms is product and technical leadershipwho want to manage platforms like a set of product features.

Overall, the podcast episode provides a comprehensive comparison of platform management and product management. It highlights the challenges and opportunities of building platforms and the importance of understanding organizational politics, org design, and platform thinking.


Jabe Bloom (read more about Ergonautic founders)


Matt Barcomb, Principle Strategy Consultant, Tackboom Shift

Matt is a seasoned professional with a diverse background in executive leadership and software development. Over the past 20 years, Matt has made a name for himself by challenging traditional ways of thinking and driving change across a wide range of industries. As an organizational design and product strategist, Matt brings a unique perspective to the table, grounded in evidence-based, outcomes-driven approaches that help companies evolve into lean, people-centered organizations. He takes pride in working collaboratively with others to uncover the underlying motives behind their actions, while also developing their skills and capabilities to prepare them for future challenges. Join us as we dive deeper into Matt’s expertise and learn how his unconventional approach to problem-solving can benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes.

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