The Google Way to Use Machine Learning for PMs: The DHM Model

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Sep 26, 2023

3 min read


The Google Way to Use Machine Learning for PMs: The DHM Model

In the world of product management, machine learning (ML) has become a powerful tool for tackling complex problems. When you have too many rules and the answers you seek are more complicated, ML can provide the solution. The key to effectively using ML is to have the data and the answers, but to also have the desire to uncover the underlying rules.

One model that can help guide product managers in their use of ML is the DHM model. DHM stands for Delight, Hard-to-Copy, Margin-Enhancing ways. It encompasses the core elements of product strategy and aims to answer the question, "How will your product delight customers, in hard-to-copy, margin-enhancing ways?"

Delighting customers is at the heart of any successful product strategy. Building trust with customers takes time and requires consistently delivering value without any "trustbusters." It is important to understand what truly delights customers today and to constantly strive for ways to delight them even more in the future.

Another aspect of the DHM model is creating hard-to-copy advantages. This can be achieved through various means such as building a strong brand, leveraging network effects, economies of scale, unique technology, counter-positioning, and switching costs. These elements can help create a competitive edge that is difficult for others to replicate.

Margin-enhancing ways are also crucial in product strategy. This involves considering the pricing and business models of the product. Experimentation is key when it comes to evaluating different prices and business models over the lifespan of the product. It is important to remember that product strategy is an ongoing process and there is no end point. It requires continuously exploring new possibilities and adapting to the changing market dynamics.

To put the DHM model into practice, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Take a moment to reflect on how your product currently delights customers and brainstorm ideas on how it can delight them even more in the future. This exercise will help you identify areas for improvement and innovation.
  • 2. Use the eight hard-to-copy powers mentioned earlier as a springboard to think about how your product can create a hard-to-copy advantage in the future. Consider leveraging your brand, network effects, economies of scale, unique technology, counter-positioning, and switching costs to differentiate your product from competitors.
  • 3. Continuously experiment with different pricing and business models for your product over the next 1-3 years. This will allow you to gather valuable data and insights on what works best for your target market. Remember that pricing and business models should not be set in stone, but rather evolve with the changing needs and preferences of your customers.

In conclusion, the DHM model offers a comprehensive framework for product managers to leverage machine learning effectively. By focusing on delighting customers, creating hard-to-copy advantages, and enhancing margins, product managers can drive the success of their products in an ever-evolving market. Embracing continuous experimentation and staying agile are key to staying ahead of the competition and delivering value to customers.

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