Designing a Box to think about your Value Proposition – March Wrap

This month we ran a workshop instead of a talk. If you attended, we’d love to get feedback on this session. Would you like more of this? What worked well? What could have been better? Reach out to Jen & Liz on the ProdAnon slack.

Designing the box+

The ‘Design the Box’ is a classic activity created by in 2011. The goal is simple – to create the design of a physical box that sells your product. The limited real-estate and creating a physical ‘thing’ forces participants to focus on who is the customer, what is important for them, and how do we influence the buying decision.

This is known as the value proposition – simple statements that summarizes why a customer would choose your product or service. Every value proposition should speak to a customer’s challenge and make the case for your company as the problem-solver.

Essentially this activity is about identifying the ideal customer persona (ICP) for your product, and the value proposition that will engage your customer to buy your product.

How will your box grab the attention vs all the competitor boxes?

Steve Bauer took this classic and fun activity and rebooted it for the online world. The product isn’t always a box any more. It could be an information card hanging at Officeworks, or a Gift card at 7-11. Alternatively it might be an electronic representation instead of a physical product; like a web landing page or an App Store page. The sales channel may change, but the customer still needs the product. Identifying and designing the channel for the ICP and value proposition and designing for the channel still needs to be done.

Definitely try this at home.

This is a fun exercise you can run at your own company. For example each team competes for the design of the same product, the teams takes separate modules of the product, or the team creates competitor products. The activity, the focus on the customer, and the learning about your value proposition is the same.

The steps we followed were:

  1. Create groups. A good size for collaboration is 4 or so people
  2. Fill the box. Choose the product that is inside the box; physical or virtual.
  3. Choose the shape. Is it a physical box, a landing page, a gift card, etc.
  4. Build the box. Create a physical design
  5. Share the box. Share your design with other teams, highlighting why certain value propositions were considered important.

Ready, Set, Go…

Once teams formed, they needed to decide on a product so there was a bit of brainstorming! It turns out people are too happy to chat about ideas, or what goes on the outside. However quick reminders about the time helped nudged them into making decisions and moving on.

Overall we had some fantastic products and boxes. We ended up with 3 products focused on pets, a few concerned about the environment and one protecting us from scams (all details below).

Team 1: A self driving car for teenage drivers.

Specifically the buyer is the worried parent and the user is the teenager (who can do their homework while on the way to school because they’re not driving!). For the parent, the benefits were safety and control. Lots of data and logos of safety organisations to communicate this self driving car is safe for your teenager who has no or not so great driving skills. Teenagers make mistakes, our cars don’t!

Teenagers & Cars. OH MY!

Team 2: ChatGPT premium gift cards

Expanding on the current ChatGPT product, one group re-imagined what it looks like as a physical product. Creating a gift card similar to the Spotify, Amazon, JB HiFi cards you see for sale at various stores, they offered a 3 month subscription. This helps to bring awareness to ChatGPT to a much larger audience including those non-techies. They did they by showing sample questions to the packaging to help show what people can do with this and how it might appeal to everyone.

Team: ChatGPT as a subscription

Team 3 – Hear Boy

This team created a product for dogs with hearing loss (which impacts 20-30% of all dogs) to help them hear the world again. It reduces anxiety by 8%, increases walkies by 250%, simple and easy to setup, recommended by vets, lifetime guarantee! The slides of the box highlight partnerships which let your dog have an even better life – dog playlists to listen to and an ai costume generator! *note: Product Anonymous does not vouch for any of this data 🙂

Solving dog hearing loss!

Team 3: BuddyBot for housework and pets

The next team tackled 2 problems we’re having now as we return to the office – the anxiety we have about leaving our pets at home alone and not being able to do housework between meetings. With BuddyBot, they have brought together a robot vacuum with AI to play with your pet which let’s you watch the play via their app! Their design had big pet pictures on the front of the box to draw you in and lots of features across the back including warranty information and highlighting the vacuum has won the 2024 Good Design Awards!

Clean the house & reduce your pet’s alone at home anxiety at the same time! Winning at adulting!

Team 4: Taste good, do good, feel good coffee

Sustainability & traceability of coffee was very important for this team. On the front of the box, they focused on a simple message of the quality of the product (which is good!) and that you are doing good by buying the product. They included the the logos of various environmental groups to give it the thumbs up that this is a legit product. On the back there was information on how it was sourced ethically – even the the box itself is sustainable because you can return/exchange it.

Designing the perfect coffee

Team 5: Saving the planet with recycling

Our next group had a product where you put your e-waste in the box and it spits out new electronic products. On the front of the box, there’s lots of social proof including that it’s been #1 seller on Amazon, approval from your local council and a quote from an environmental organisation CEO. Their tag line: Save Money! Save Time! Save Space! Save the Planet! Use that box of cables you have at home! On the sides, there’s the colour options and visual design (not text) instructions of how you take that box of cables you have at home and recycle with this box! Of course the the bottom of the box was reserved for ‘lots of legal stuff’.

Saving the planet by helping us recycle those old cables

Team 6: Dogminder

There’s also the dogminder product – version 2 now comes with more pats! This is a service represented in a box so there’s lots of cute pix of dogs! There’s lots of quotes from users including dog users (‘woof!’). Having easy steps to follow to use the service was also important.

99.9% of our dogs recommend us to their other dog friends

Team 7: Crook Block

This amazing product blocks your phone from receiving spam calls and messages. On the front of the box were the logos – certified by AFP & AU Govt and lots of seals of protection! plus ‘Now with more AI’ They used a humorous approach including an image of a phone with a chastity belt on the back of the box.

Team 8: Protein jelly shots

This team was helping the hard gainers who power lift, but don’t see massive improvement in strength because they struggle to get enough protein. They developed high protein jelly shots to help you! The front of the box was full of numbers and benefits – each shot has 50 grams of protein so you only need 2 a day to reach what you need, low sugar, vegan, gluten free, low gi, all the free things, stevia AND available in 5 flavours! On the side of the box you can scan the QR code which brings you into the community and gives you a free sample.

And the winner is…

All of the groups did such a fantastic job with their boxes, we decided to have everyone present and have our hosts, Chargefox, select a winner!

Nick in front of a big screen about to announce the winner.
Nick about to announce the winner.
Group of 4 people sitting at a table. Our winning group!
Our winning team! Baani, Dileesh, Jun & Yau with protein jelly shots!

 Thank you to Chargefox for hosting!!

Chargefox is part of the AMS Group. Every day thousands of drivers charge their vehicle on the Chargefox network – the largest and fastest growing EV charging network in Australia. We’re owned and operated by the NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAA, RAC and RACT. The same companies supporting drivers for over 100 years.

Want to run your own Design the Box session? Reach out to Steve and the Product Anonymous team. Alternatively jump to gamestorming for more details.

Winning the Product Discovery Game

RSVP for April 18th

Discovery is incredibly important though there’s a lot of ways to do discovery – so what’s the right way to do this? Or do you really need to do discovery?

Our speaker, Melissa Klemke, Head of Product at Prezzee, will take you though an interactive session and will be covering a lot including:

  • Types of research
  • Working with User Researchers (if you have them & what if you don’t)
  • Setting up a research program and customer pool
  • What market research is useful and how to do it
  • Forming hypotheses
  • Experimenting
  • Tooling (with and w/o fancy tools)
  • Solutioning & technical discovery

Our Hosts:

At Propel, we’re dedicated to helping businesses achieve sustained product success. That means not only bringing your product ideas to life, but also ensuring that they remain relevant and successful over time. With our unique blend of software development and product strategy services, we offer a comprehensive approach that goes beyond just delivering a product. Our goal is to help you create long-lasting results that drive growth and success for your business.

Founded in 2016, we are a team of entrepreneurial product strategy, design and development leaders with a track record of building businesses, creating and expanding markets, and developing new technologies that benefit millions of people across the globe.

RSVP for April 18th

How do you think about your value prop?

Or maybe the question is – do you think about your value prop? How do you communicate your value prop?

This month we’ll organise you into small groups to do a bit of a workshop. We’ll have an exercise that might mean you need to bring your own paper and scissors to help you think about your products value proposition. Jen + Liz + Steve B will be your fabulous fun hosts.

NOTE: We have some stationary from Product Camp but if you have your own sharpie to bring, that would be helpful! Sharpie colours are good!

RSVP for Thursday March 21st

Our hosts – Chargefox!

Chargefox is part of the AMS Group. Every day thousands of drivers charge their vehicle on the Chargefox network – the largest and fastest growing EV charging network in Australia. We’re owned and operated by the NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAA, RAC and RACT. The same companies supporting drivers for over 100 years.

Driving Outcomes with OKRs

RSVP for Thursday, Feb 22nd

Upgrade your product delivery with OKRs (Workshop)

One of the best things we can do as Product people is get our teams excited about solving real customer problems and measuring success. We’re going to cover just that in this session, we’ll explore how to go from strategy and discovery, to validating the impact once launched with the Objective and Key Results (OKR) framework. A goal setting framework used by some of the world’s leading product businesses, like Google, LinkedIn and SEEK. This will be a practical session, so be ready to work on your product!

Our Speaker:

Tim Newbold, OKR Coach and founder of OKR Quickstart will be our speaker. Tim founded OKR Quickstart to help tech companies unlock growth. They do this by creating focus on the biggest growth constraint, getting the team behind the plan to solve it and delivering meaningful results. He has a background leading product engineering teams in SaaS and Fintech businesses. Tim loves to work with some of the worlds leading tech businesses, such as ELMO Software, Domino’s, SEEK, Carsales & Connective.

Our Host:

David Jones
As one of Australia’s most iconic retailers we have a rich 185-year history of being a curator of world-class brands. Our people are driven by the passion and desire to inspire our customers with seamless service and experiences like no other.

RSVP here!

Helping Teams Do Product – October Wrap

As software companies scale and the product team grows, the difference between building ‘stuff’ and performing the practice of product management can be massive. It can greatly impact the ability to find product market fit through to the ability to scale with pace and grace.

Our speaker, Nick Wodzinski, has worked at several start-ups and shared his first hand experience of moving the team into the practice of product management while being resource constrained.

Nick’s 3 tips are:

Think about roles, not job titles

Nick shared some previous conversations that helped to shape this guideline including talking to a founder about Marty Cagan’s idea that each team should have a product person and the founder saying they can only afford him – the one product person. Or having to do some UI and design work although he’s the product person and wondering if he really should be doing this (although there’s no designer at the company).

In order to solve this, think about the role, not the job title. Get comfortable, especially in startups, that someone who might not have the training is going to be doing a specific role. And the person doing that role may change over time. The person doing that role might even be different for different areas of the product. AND this is ok.

If you find yourself in this situation, be clear on who is responsible for each thing. Have a conversation about who will play each role so everyone knows what is expected of them and who is responsible. Having some sort of indicator is also helpful – a hat, an emoji, listed on the wiki page, etc.

Resources: Marty’s 4 Big Risks & John Cultler’s Top 1% Product Managers

Talk in ‘bets’ with founders and execs

Ever had a founder or exec approach you with an idea they got from a competitor’s webinar or something their friend told them about (the old ‘airplane magazine syndrome’)? The person telling you about this and asking why you aren’t working on the same is coming from a good place – a place of trying to keep the company afloat – though these conversations can be distractions to the strategy.

You want to have a productive conversation that doesn’t create tension between you & this person. You want to frame the outcome for the business and the team, not talk about how important the discovery is.

Nick referenced a talk by Kirsten Mann at LTP where she talked about executives want certainty. You might feel like showing your work will help them understand but really you want to remove the language of product & design from these conversations and focus on the commercial acumen – what is the expected impact?

Another way to frame this comes from General ‘Salty’ Saltzman from the US Space Force. He wants to know what is your theory of success. You should be able to tell someone what you’re trying to achieve and how it will help achieve success.

Nick suggests using the language of ‘bets’ to get out of our jargon and move more towards risk, portfolio of bets and that losing might be an option. This also helps to move away from the conversation of when something will be delivered but should we back other bets or continue to continue to back this bet based on the data we have gathered. He then shared a great conversation he had at one company where ‘getting to parity with a competitor’ was being encouraged and Nick asked what would the impact of ‘parity’ be? Would it get us every deal? No. Would it get us half the deals? What if we did something different that solved a real problem that could help us win more than half the deals? How long would we fund this bet? How long should it take us to understand this bet? This conversation led to a new strategy with a new market to sell to.

References: John Cutler’s The Basics and Place Your Bets plus the Spotify Rhythm

Managing your career growth if you’re the 1st (or only product manager)

You might have dreams for your product manager career – getting promoted, earning more money, whatever you dream of. That might not be the reality you work in. You might not get great feedback (keep doing what you’re doing!). There might not be the opportunity for promotions or not a clear idea of how that would ever happen (keep deliverying value says the boss). You probably gather your data from salary surveys and put forward your case but if the organisation doesn’t have the money, they can’t give you a raise.

This does not mean you can’t continue to grow! You need to create your own path. Nick is creating a growth framework for his team which explains the competencies for a PM at different levels.

Nick reflected on his own dreams of presenting his roadmap to the board right after starting his new job. He was advised by that 1st you need to show that you can present it to your team and that they understand the vision and how they contribute to that vision. If you’re doing well with the team, then the next step could be to present to the company at the next all hands. Think about what are the levels you can do this at and how you can stretch and grow.

Note: If you want to learn more about product competencies and setting one up at your company, see the notes from our event earlier this year with Aaron Hardy from PageUp.

Resources: check out some frameworks here, here and here

Our Speaker

Nick Wodzinski is the lead product manager at Chargefox – Australia’s largest public charging network for electric vehicles. His background is in construction tech, and he has worked setting up product teams with startups and scale ups over the last 5 years in the Australian software industry.

Our Host

Our wonderful friends at Everest Engineering will be our hosts for the evening.

Everest Engineering: A bold, people first community, building digital products for those who do things differently.

October – Helping Teams ‘do product’

What is the difference between a product team building a product and product teams ‘doing product’? As software companies scale and the product team grows, the difference between building ‘stuff’ and performing the practice of product management can be massive. It can greatly impact the ability to find product market fit through to the ability to scale with pace and grace.

Join us Thursday October 26th RSVP

Our speaker, Nick Wodzinski will share his experience of going from product hire #1 in startups & scale ups and working with teams building product to setting the formula for growing from 1 to many product teams. Nick will reflect on his experiences of setting up teams over the last 5 years with SignOnSite, EstimateOne, Mastt and Chargefox.

Our speaker:

Nick Wodzinski is the lead product manager at Chargefox – Australia’s largest public charging network for electric vehicles. His background is in construction tech, and he has worked setting up product teams with startups and scale ups over the last 5 years in the Australian software industry. Fast 5 Q&A with Nick

Our host:
Our wonderful friends at Everest Engineering will be our hosts for the evening.

Everest Engineering is a bold, people first community, building digital products for those who do things differently.

How to Dip Your Toe into the AI water

As a product manager, have you gotten caught into the AI frenzy? Or feel like you’re missing out and not sure where to start?

This month we’ll talk about how to make use of AI and tools like ChatGPT in your product world. RSVP for September 21st

– How to use Generative Ai in your workflow, i.e. pad out a persona

– How to incorporate it into an existing product i.e. Shopify launching Sidekick, a personal commerce assistant

– What could you do to build from the ground up with chatGPT, as an example. i.e. this is the hardest to predict at the moment as well but we can explore some of the future opportunities

Our speaker:

Tim O’Neill is the Co-founder of Time Under Tension. They help companies make sense of Generative AI and how it can be used for their products.

Find out more at and his LinkedIn profile.

Our host:

Thank you Catapult for being our September host!

Catapult exists to unleash the potential of every athlete and team on earth. Operating at the intersection of sports science and analytics, Catapult products are designed to optimize performance, avoid injury, and improve return to play. Catapult has over 400 staff based across 24 locations worldwide, working with more than 3,800 Pro teams in over 40 sports across more than 100 countries globally. To learn more about Catapult and to inquire about accessing performance analytics for a team or athlete, visit us at Follow us at @CatapultSports on social media for daily updates.

RSVP for September 21st

Product Camp 2023

Take your mind back to August 2019.. it was a bit chilly and we had 300 people interested in product all together for Product Camp. We celebrated 10 years of Product Camp in Melbourne, where Rich Mironov virtually spoke to us about the importance of community and history of Product Camps, Georgia Murch helped us understand feedback, Antony Ugoni shared his knowledge and experiences with bringing the data and about 20 of our community gave talks (after they pitched & the attendees voted on what they wanted to hear).

AND then there was that thing – that prevented us from gathering together.

But we’re excited to say… we’re back. Join us on Saturday August 5th (RSVP)!

Same familiar ‘unconference’ style event where we organise the venue and keynotes (including Ken Sandy and one TBA) and make sure you have some food and water during the day – but you (!) are active participants! You can pitch a talk idea, or run a panel discussion or ask for a working talk to help you work thru a problem.

For more details and to submit a talk idea, go to

NOTE: If Camp is at waitlist, we recommend you add yourself and check back in. As the day gets closer, numbers will change and spaces will become available. If you are one of the people who have RSVP’d but something has changed and you can’t make it, please change your RSVP to no so others can attend.

Making retention fun – how games get players coming back for more

RSVP for Thursday July 20th

Retention and engagement are often a key focus for product teams, and the games industry has some great insights into how they think about these 2 concepts to attract and keep their users.

While games have some unique difference to many products, the concepts in this talk are ones any product team can apply in their user journey. Retention is also not a once and done job, so thinking about opportunities to keep your customers engaged along the entire lifecycle of using your products will also be something discussed in this talk.

Our speaker:
Sebastian Pattom – Director at Product at Electronic Arts (EA) will share his experiences and knowledge of his work in the retention space.

Our hosts:
Canva is a global online visual communications platform designed to empower the world to design. We create beautiful designs from presentations to infographics, videos, t-shirts and social media graphics.

We recently launched the Canva Visual Worksuite – a suite of new workplace products and features built to empower anyone to communicate visually, on any device, from anywhere in the world.

We believe that our responsibility goes far beyond business as usual, and that what’s good for business can be good for the world: This is part of our two-step plan. We truly believe that good for humanity is good for business, and times are really changing around people’s expectations of what they expect from businesses. We’ve come a long way, though we believe we’re still only 1% of the way there.

Thanks Canva! Check out their current product jobs.

RSVP for Thursday July 20th. If your plans change and you can’t attend, please update your RSVP so people on the waitlist can attend. Thank you!

June Meetup: Just what ARE you getting yourself into????

You have decided you want to be a product manager and gotten that first job – or maybe you’re in your second PM role. Is it all you thought it would be?? What really have you gotten yourself into as a new product manager?!?

And this session is not just for folks who are new to product management! Folks who have been there … we need your wise words of wisdom and you’ll learn something new too!

This month, we’ve gathered a panel of new product folk (3 years or less) to share their stories of what their grappling with at the start of this career journey. We’ll be taking questions from the audience and guiding the discussion as we tap into this moment in time, that you never get back 🙂

There will be audience participation!!!

We’ll be running an interactive component to connect our more experienced PMs with the newbies in the room and facilitate some speed mentoring rounds between those starting out in their career and those with sage learnings to share.

Our panellists:

Hugh Osborne, Jane Card & Heike Radlanski

Jane Card is a career shifter into product after fifteen years helping organisations define problems, generate solutions, adopt new business models and ways of working.  Naturally curious and a people geek, Jane is passionate about leveraging different perspectives to make the world a better place.

Heike Radlanski started her career in digital marketing before moving into a product owner role and subsequently into product management. Passionate about understanding people’s needs and pain points, Heike enjoys the process of working in cross-functional teams to create and improve products that add value for those using them.

Hugh Osbourne moved to Product Management after working in design, product design, copywriting and small business jack-of-some-trades. He’s been in successful and failing startups (sometimes in the same week), assembling a impressive toolbox of hacks, workarounds and bad habits. Working now in a growing organisation, he’s interested in the secret sauce of small teams, why data products are the best products, and how to domesticate ‘wild’ PMs

Our hosts:

A big thank you to MYOB!

MYOB has been part of the fabric of doing business in Australia and New Zealand for more than 30 years, having grown from its status as the original Australian unicorn to now employing people across Australia and New Zealand, based out of nine locations in the region. Having started life as accounting software, MYOB has undertaken significant steps toward becoming a cloud-based business management platform that brings together key workflows to fit a business’s needs.

To see what it is like to be an MYOBelievers, check out our careers site.