How to be a good product manager with business background

Geometric_Stacker_from_Melissa_&_Doug_for_my_daughterHere is an opinion I have held for a while: technical product managers in technology companies with scientific and engineering backgrounds are genuinely more superior against product managers who have come up from the business track. The only drawback is that the technical product managers lack three essential skills: business knowledge in sales and marketing, flexibility to deal with business constraints and management experience. Yet, those skills can be learned far more easily against a business product manager who simply do not have the technical know-hows. Even if this is so, it is not the end of the world for the business product managers. A few MBAs or startup founders with no technology backgrounds have posed this question to me, “If I want to be a good product manager in a technology, how can I become one given that I have no technology background?” [Read more…]

New is Easy but Right is Hard: Hacking Product Management

Eastern_CowboysA great product is a synthesis of technology and business thinking. How do we decide what goes into the product and determine the roadmap of the product? How do we establish the balance between the business and technology of the product? In this post (based on a talk with the same title I gave in Hackers & Painters on 15 Nov), we discuss some interesting lessons learned on product management and why both business leaders and technologists don’t get it. [Read more…]

The Signal & the Noise

Signal & NoiseIn the customer discovery phase of a startup, the startup team typically encounter a phenomenon called the signal and the noise. The signal answers the question whether your startup is genuinely gaining traction and generating viral user growth. The noise shrouds your vision with all the drums banging about the promise of your startup. Both signal and noise constituted both marketing and public relations (PR) portion of a startup. How do you build a proper marketing and PR plan while relentlessly focused on delivering the minimum viable product? I shared some insights on working with users, media engagement and crisis management with the JFDI 2013b class. [Read more…]