Product Management Immersive by Isabelle Ringnes

For the past three months I have been a student at General Assembly in New York studying product management. It has been the most fun and intense months of my life! 


Before enrolling, I, like many others, was unfamiliar with what a product manager really does. Now that I am done I feel unfamiliar with anything a PM doesn't do! Product Managers are going to be one of the most sought after employees in the coming years as more companies emerge into technology and launch tech-related products. As a product manager you work closely with everyone in a team to help drive an idea to product. That includes sales, marketing, stakeholders such as management and finance, but most importantly UX-designers and developers. What do you do as a PM? Well to start, you identify the product need and demand. From there, a long agile process of sprint planning and documentation is necessary. To highlight a few core responsibilities I can mention: 

  • Epic, User stories, user acceptance criteria
  • Product Requirement Document 
  • Business Canvas
  • Product Roadmap
  • Sprint planning
  • Product Backlogs
  • Feature Prioritization
  • User Experience including: user research, user testing, usability testing and ITERATING
  • Future roadmap
  • Market Research
  • Time and people management

If this doesn't seem enough I urge you to think of something else - because I am sure we do! Being a PM requires the ability to collaborate with a variety of people in an empathetic manner. You need to know you sh** and be able to ship it! You have to be an excellent time manager, people satisfier and help contribute wherever you can. You own the product - it becomes your baby! And even though the process might require you to kill it sometimes, seeing an idea come into reality is very fulfilling. But don't think you'll get the credit. 


We had multiple product managers come to speak with us while we were students. PMs from Twitter, New York Times, Etsy, FlavorPill, Soundcloud and Google were some of the outstanding people we got to meet in the field of PM. They told us that PMs take all the blame when something goes wrong, but don't receive any credit when things go smoothly. So don't pursue this career path if you are looking for praise and glory! However, it is nonetheless fulfilling if you like watching people create and make decisions that have big impacts on the product release. 

I urge anyone interested in emerging tech to go into this field. And a PM course at GA (General Assembly) is perfect if you want to kick start your career. 

What is the future of the news industry? by Isabelle Ringnes

The media industry (or actually every industry) has been affected by the internet. The “EXTRA””EXTRA” component of a fresh newspapers on the sidewalk has evaporated along with its emergence.

News is at our fingertips, one click away. Information is no longer a scarcity, but ubiquitous and universally available. But is the quality and quantity emerging in separate directions?

I believe that in order to attract and retain news consumers, readers and subscribers, the industry needs to find means in which people will feel like it is worth coming back to the source. They need to be willing to pay for content; simply because the quality, technology and deliverable of the news experience is unique.

A great example of news organizations that have seen some success from applying these practices are Fast Company and The New York Times. Fast Company Magazine invests a lot in the technological aspect of their articles, making every reading experience unique and magical. Take this article as an example: instead of a static image they employ a format that allows the image to come alive while reading the article. 

This image seems static here, but I urge you to check out the article for the full immersive experience. 

nother example stems from the New York Times. They have invested in interactive content, that tells a story through videos, graphics and interactivity. It is really quite beautiful. They have an entire library of their best work here, but being a slightly biased Norwegian I suggest you check out their feature on a trip through the Norwegian fjords. It is a truly beautiful article and really makes the reader feel like they are present in the moment. 

Technological advancements:

I believe that in the future we will be moving away from the typical smartphone in our hand and start seeing information displayed on the world. Everyone has a different idea of what the future will look like, but it seems that the consensus is that we are moving away from a containment environment to information everywhere. The technology is available, but needs refinement and implementation to transform the world as we know it and disrupt the ways in which we consume news.

But will the news industry as we know it survive the rapid accelleration of technology coming our way?

I believe in the importance of high quality and reliable news sources. But in order to stay relevant, impactful media houses should push to revolutionize what people think of as the ultimate news experience by incorporating truly unique ways of experiencing news such as using augmented reality , projection technology and 3d holoGraphic technology.

The true journalists role will no longer be to just hammer out a script, but build stories that give users a new, innovative and exciting way of consuming news. I believe that this experience will be worth paying for, and without the added cost, it can not be produced.

But is it possible? 

Augmented reality has become a common concept, but this technology is about to transition into a form that can display graphics for each viewer’s perspective.

The technology is currently used by some advertisers to turn print ads interactive, magazines to make stories come alive and corporations pushing direct sales from scanning an image.

I imagine people being able to scan a particular place and and see the current news stories unfold interactively within their mobile device.

Using geo-location, the internet and surrounding data- you could walk around anywhere and receive real-time stories about things going on in your local area from news sources and social media. Imagine walking anywhere, scanning whatever is in your eyesight and see a projected augmented layer providing tidbits of news information on whats going on. By pointing your phone, glass or projector device to an area of interest or conflict you would automatically receive dated and current news, social media posts and pictures about that place in real time.

Haven’t you ever walked by a fire truck or police tape and wondered what the commotion is about? Imagine if you could point your phone at it, and satisfy your curiosity within seconds.

The basics is that a projector (on a phone or any wearable device; glass,watch, earring, necklace, button) can turn any surface into an interactive projected newspaper. A user can essentially examine the world, find and process the stories based on geo-location and personalization, aggregate information and pull data from news sites and social media and then project the information as a personal newspaper (like flipboard) wherever your eyes desire- be it a wall, table or your own wrist. This would give news consumers constant access to news in whatever form they wish in an entirely new and engaging way. The technology would be touch and voice activated, enabling the user to demand any action to be taken with the use of his/hers voice or gesture.

Using  gesture recognition technology, the users could interact with the projected information without using their phones, but simply by gesturing onto or around the image projected. They would flip pages like an old school newspaper by waving their hands over the projected interface.Readers and consumers could comment real time, using side notes and social media.

Sidenote: What is side notes? (click link to see how Livefyre is doing this)

News organizations can incorporate comments in their articles using “side notes” technology. This means that when you are presented with news anywhere at anytime- be it your bathroom, bedroom, livingroom, kitchen table or car- you can comment by voice/or a projected keypad to a specific sentence and contribute to the overall crowdsourcing of information derived from a specific segment in an article.

The projection hardware could read stories out loud, or the consumer could read or watch them themselves. In that way you can both experience the newspaper in a technologically advanced manner while still being a contributor and narrator of the global curation of news.

3d holographic technology:

This technology can unfold in two dimensions- both projected on a surface or contained within your phone’s screen.

Imagine reading an interesting story on your phone. Now picture being able to click it and see it come alive as a holographic 3D version in front of your eyes. Like a theatrical experience you would be able to see the events in Syria or the latest inventions from South by Southwest in holographic 3d directly in front of you.

Maybe I am wrong, but I believe that if journalists expand their skill set to offer these kinds of experiences consumers will come back. Not everyone can generate this high quality content. It will disrupt the cold, passive newspapers as we remember them.

And it may already be in the works. On april 29th, 2014 Apple acquired a patent for a holographic display technology that allows users to interact by gesture and touch with 3d objects for possible implementation in their hardware.

What do you think is the future of the news? What big trends do you see coming our way? What are the implications? 

TENK- Tech-Nettverket for Kvinner by Isabelle Ringnes

Today I am very pleased to announce that my former boss at VG and I have launched a new network for women who are passionate about technology. It is launched in Beta and we have yet to decide how we are going to move forward and what our game plan is, but it is exciting to have gotten it out there. My partner Camilla is extremely talented, creative and passionate about technology so I think it has the potential to turn out pretty awesome. I for one cannot wait to connect with other girls my age and trade useful resources, trends and tech-events with each other. When I moved home from New York I found that the Tech-bubble I had gotten so comfortable living in did not exist in Norway. I couldn't seem to find any women deeply passionate about tech, wearables, software tools... However, there is not a lack of men interested in technology. They are everywhere, carving their way up to executive positions. 

I followed a very important series on NPR before the summer, called Woman in Technology. Featuring a variety of female innovators in tech they were able to produce in depth stories, insights and key facts and figures about females position in the tech industry. The series helped open my eyes to the importance of women taking a stand in what has become a highly male dominated industry.

Just this past week I heard an interesting story on Planet Money about why women stopped coding. Apparently the marketing industry has had quite an influence on womans role in tech. In 1984, when computers began entering households for the first time, they were marketed to young men as a way to play games. Women started to shy away because computer-ads were so heavily focused on science fiction movies with typical male audiences. Computers were given to the boys, or placed in their rooms. Even though I was one of the first ones to enter the computer class in first grade, I was the only one of 15 guys and 3 girls. And when I didn't understand it, I felt stupid and would shy away. Our teacher was male and he focused on teaching us games. The girls were not interested in games. We wanted to create nice invitations for birthday parties and create pretty presentations for each other. Not surprisingly, my younger brother got our families first laptop, and I was lucky enough to inherit it two years later. 

I intend to encourage my children equally in all subjects in school. I hope that by the time I have kids, computer science is a required class in middle-school. But more importantly, when we teach young girls about computers; teach it to them in a way that appeals to them. Studies from Harvard show that when it comes to technology, women are interested in learning what more they can do with it. Guys are interested in why they are able to do what they know. Both are important skills, but when you teach a class described as "how technology  X works", that is not going to appeal to women. 

In fact, a very interesting study was conducted at a school in California. The university wanted to increase the 10% female presence in computer science classes and were successful- times four! How? It was a 3 step process including changing the name of the class from “Introduction to programming in Java” to “Creative approaches to problem solving in science and engineering using Python.”

Apparently, using words like creative and problem solving seemed more approachable to women. I find this fascinating. Women and men are not driven or motivated by the same things. By taking into account the passion and needs of women, the school was able to increase the female to male ratio from 10-90 to 40-60. 

- - -

Have you ever noticed that whenever you are in a meeting and the power point won`t work someone immediately cries for a "tech-guy"? If a girl gets up I am ashamed to say that I am both proud and surprised. It is has become one of those unnoticeable moments we experience on a weekly basis. The frequency of a male getting up to "fix the tech" has made us blind to the fact that women should be and are very capable of "fixing the tech" it as well.  And it goes both ways; I can't remember the last time a manager asked a man to take notes or get coffee during a meeting. 

Women have come a long way in Norway. We still have a long way to go, but we are further ahead than most other cities I have been to. There is no time to lay back and reap the benefits of what our previous generations have fought. This is not a competition between men and women. It is the scientific fact that we are better together. The belief in one gender does not indicate the disbelief in another. I believe that women are capable of becoming equally interested in technology as men. There is no doubt that they are out there. Now I am looking forward to connecting with them, encouraging and learning from them.   


Read your book and drink it too by Isabelle Ringnes

Another amazing invention is about the rolled out and may save millions of lives. The "Drinkable Book" essentially teaches water safety, but the real magic lies within the pages themselves that are made of a material that cleans drinking water. The pages, coated with bacteria-killing silver nanoparticles, are meant to be ripped out and used as a filter to kill bacteria that can cause cholera, E.coli and typhoid among others. And the pages last for a month each! 

This book may provide clean water for up to four years.

Waterislife, the organization behind the invention, has launched 100 copies printed in English and Swahili in Kenya, but plan to distribute them globally with time. 3,4 million people die from water related disease each year and most of them have no idea that the water is unsafe to drink in the first place. 

The chemist, Dr. Theresa Dankovich, invented the pages with the bacteria killing effect. Watch the video to see more. Go to this page to help support the project. 

The Internet of Things by Isabelle Ringnes

The Internet of things

As wearables and the recent rumors surrounding Apple's (hopefully) upcoming iWatch I started thinking more about the Internet of things and how Internet-connected devices will change online advertising in the near future.

Presently the online advertising and marketing industry have not paid much attention until recently, perhaps not fully understanding that it may mean a future without "traditional" online advertising. The first signs can be found in native ads, curated content, and the introduction of voice-assisted apps Google Now and Microsoft Cortana.

If you have not tried Google Now, I highly recommend it. I can't quite explain how satisfying it was to receive a reminder and direction to the restaurant I had made a reservation for on Friday night without even lifting a finger. 

Consumer-packaged goods companies have begun testing semiconductor chips and radio frequency identification technology (RFID), to monitor the movement of finished products to distribution facilities and on to retail store floors at Walmart and Target.

Car manufacturers have used this technology to replenish parts in their supply chain for a while. The electronics industry has been in the forefront of realizing that the Internet of things will someday materialize, and that consumers will be reachable in ways the industry currently have not imagined.

The developments will enable companies to personally connect with consumers on an entirely new level. If one is able to develop security and privacy standards that consumers are comfortable with it, talking electronic appliances like refrigerators, televisions, heaters, cars, even electronic chips operated into our bodies will be able to predict our next need before we are consciously aware.

The move for marketers will happen in waves as market segments begin to understand the transition and the use of data to push information and content to consumers. Automotive manufacturers are among the first to build a business model, connected cars, aligned with this shift. Agencies can now take that technology and push information to the consumer, telling them to take a specific route to save money and gas. They can then navigate them to a specific gas station based on that stations daily offerings.

Social Media Cred can give you a cheap luxury hotel room by Isabelle Ringnes

A new start-up called Hotelie will offer the right consumers discounts on luxury hotels based on the amount of social media cred they have. 

“A Hotelie to me is someone who’s in the know, gets access to discounts and rates that no one else knows, so, ‘you’ve been hotelied’ is you’ve been admitted into this group in the know,” explains Zeev Sharon, CEO and Founder of Hotelied to Fast Company. 

The more information you add to your profile the more discounts become available to you.

Hotelie's tagline “It Pays to Be You” capitalizes on the concept of “social media currency” and allows users to get something tangible back for the amount of data they give up. The service is essentially shifting the power structure from companies that wish to use your data for their benefit into benefiting you instead. 

The luxery hotel start-up is in it's initial phase and has currently partnered with 14 hotels in the US, mostly in NYC but is expected to grow quickly. 

Making print come alive by Isabelle Ringnes

I stumbled over a technology from Amsterdam called Layar today, launched in 2009. Essentially it allows anyone to scan a picture, object or printed page and see it come alive on their phones. This technology is great for magazines wanting to expand their advertising opportunities.

It is also great for retailers who can display posters of products, have consumers scan them and order them directly to their homes. Watch this demo to get a better feel of the product. 

For a recent project in our graduate program we used this technology to show our presentation. You can view a video of how we did that here: