Scalpel & Scythe

August 18, 2019

This is hands-down my favorite interview I have ever done. Grant Miller of Replicated was the interviewer and the Heavy Bit crew did a great job of editing & post production. Grant & I spoke for about 1.5 hours and they only trimmed it down about 15 mins, presumably to lay waste to the umms and ahhhhs.

I was still at Tenable when it was recorded and fresh off doing my best to prep the product org (and biz at large) for the rigors of being a public company.  We cover all sorts of topics that occupy the brain of a product leader at scale, from how to best communicate to design philosophy and much more.

August 18, 2019

Earlier this year I was interviewed by Ryan Carson over at Treehouse / Change Wave. The short 24 min interview can be found here: .

It was a fun, personal interview spanning everything from my time as a volunteer zookeeper to morning rituals to drive productivity.

April 15, 2019

I recently wrote an article on Medium in order to reflect on my journey training for the LA Marathon. The full article is up on Medium  but here's the opening section:


I had always wanted to run a marathon, but with a long string of injuries and a 44 year-old body I knew I had to do it properly or I wouldn’t be able to finish. The time commitments of being a tech executive and my family had always prevented me from seriously considering it. It was on my “someday list” where ideas loiter and often die.

Then last November things unexpectedly changed.

I found myself with plenty of time and exactly 18 weeks to prepare for the Los Angeles Marathon. As a longtime product leader, I decided I would plan for as if it were a product launch with a roadmap, milestones along the way, teams of people working on...

April 12, 2019

Last month, Jack Daniel and I launched a new podcast called Security Voices in order to fill a gap we felt existed for long-form, no BS dialogue with the people who are shaping the industry. The long form explanation goes like this:

"There are great stories in the security industry that aren’t being told. Fascinating people who fly below the radar and aren’t being heard. We know because we encounter them in hallways, hotel lobbies and just about everywhere imaginable across the globe. Everytime we think “I wish I had recorded that conversation so that everyone could hear it…” Our goal with Security Voices is to provide a place for clear-headed dialogue with great people that’s unencumbered by the hyperbole and shouting that’s far too common in security circles. We don’t have anything against sponso...

August 24, 2017

Customer feedback is vital to any product organization.  The most obvious source of customer feedback is from the customer themselves, followed the people who interact with them the most: Sales & Support. It often takes the form of missing  feature requests, changes to existing features and the like. It ranges from “absolute must haves” to “it would be nice if”. It comes to you without prompting, it often has dollar signs and strongly worded emails behind it, and with even a handful of active customers your typical product leader will have a queue full of requests. As a product leader, you ignore this feedback at your peril: it is an essential source of input and useful for prioritization and scoping (among other things). The only worse thing than ignoring it is acting on it without tempering it w...

December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas! I began writing this back in August and had my original post interrupted by the unwelcome news my grandmother was dying. Months later, I felt I had some unfinished business I wanted to close out before the year's end. So here's my perspective on PMM, both for me to solidify my own thinking and for the benefit of my current team.


I believe Product Marketing (PMM) is primarily about creating and delivering the story an organization tells the market about its products. Markets are driven by dialogue and PMM has a weighty responsibility: Product Marketing conceives the narrative and keeps the conversation flowing naturally throughout the year. While PMM is necessarily focused externally on the market, successful teams tackle work inside the organization with vigor. Aligning stake...

August 1, 2016

I wrote this recently in order to clarify things for my new team... and then ended up sharing it a bit more broadly before getting a nudge to finalize it as a post. It's intended to read as "what my experience has taught me so far" as opposed to any universal truth.

There are a lot of ways to structure a product org. As with most things, there’s a few ways that usually work and some that are nearly destined to fail. In between there’s a ton of variation that is useful and necessary depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, what the culture is like, how distributed you are, how complex the product is, etc.

This is not “the right model”-- this is the model I like and have seen produce predictably good results for both agile and waterfall shops. It can and should be molded to whatever the business...

Please reload

Dave Cole
Entrepreneur, Investor

I love helping things grow-- tomatoes, businesses, people. Over my 23 years in the wild jungles of the infosec industry, I've spent ~19 years building products for companies big and small, consumers and enterprises. I blog only occasionally but read frequently, finishing a book every couple weeks. I invest opportunistically in security and LA-based tech.

Search By Tags
Please reload

© 2016, Scalpel & Scythe, Inc.

  • LinkedIn - Black Circle
  • Twitter Black Round