Brief lessons from the greatest product managers
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Brief lessons from the greatest product managers

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A short ppt about some of the greatest product people ever.

A short ppt about some of the greatest product people ever.

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Brief lessons from the greatest product managers Brief lessons from the greatest product managers Presentation Transcript

  • A Few Lessons from the Greatest Product Managers of all Time
  • What this is • As a “product guy” in tech for the past ~15 years, I love great products and admire people who make great products… this ppt is about some of those people • As a product management professional I am constantly thinking about how to make better products… this document started out as a way to distill and capture some of the best practices / patterns that make some product managers great • I’ve focused this list on “makers of great products” at the exclusion of many brilliant engineers, scientists and business leaders who are not uniquely Product People • In my own view, the best Product People are leaders who uniquely synthesize: • Applied innovative thinking and making (engineering) • Deep and perceptive market understanding (marketing) • Intuitive connection with customer needs (sales)
  • Iconic Product People Thomas J. Watson Good product design is good business Henry Ford Good products won’t saturate the market Steve Jobs Decide what not to do Bill Gates Great products can create new markets Ferdinand Porsche Great product can stir emotions Kelly Johnson Protect the product team William Harley Great function outlasts fashion Barney Roos Iterate to exceed product expectations Leo Fender Simple products rock! Contemporary Product Visionaries Elon Musk Have conviction in product vision Larry Ellison Compete with passion Jeff Bezos Focus manically on product growth Larry Page Great product makes the hard stuff seem easy James Dyson Make products you’d want your name on Product Visionaries You May Not Know About Marissa Meyer Enforce product vision Jack Dorsey Identify disruptive opportunity Thomas Kurian Use your products Tony Hsieh Great customer service is a product itself Lessons from product people who changed the world
  • Good design is good business. -Thomas J. Watson Jr. All the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think. The trouble is that men very often resort to all sorts of devices in order not to think, because thinking is such hard work. -Thomas J. Watson Jr. Good product design is good business
  • Yes, there is some debate about whether Ford actually said it, but the underlying wisdom for product management stands. Quality means doing it right when no one is looking. - Ford Good products won’t saturate the market 1st job is to make good product. - Ford A market is never saturated with good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one. - Ford
  • Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do… it’s true for companies and it’s true for products. -Jobs if you focus on making really great products, then the profits will follow. -Jobs Decide what not to do After retaking the failing company (90 days from insolvency) in 1997, Jobs slashed the product lines to focus on 4 products: a consumer desktop product, a consumer portable product, a professional desktop product, and a professional portable product. By 1998 Apple had turned a $300m profit and was on the way toward becoming the highest valued corporation in history.
  • “When Paul showed me that magazine, there was no such thing as a software industry,” Gates recalled. “We had the insight that you could create one. And we did.” In 1982 IBM asked Bill Gates to produce an operating system for its personal computers, not having one he licensed QDOS from Tim Patterson for $50k, modified it, renamed it MS-DOS, and resold it to IBM. IBM thought all potential revenue was in hardware but Gates knew better and negotiated the deal with IBM to allow Microsoft to market the operating system separately. Gates became the wealthiest person ever. Great products can create new markets
  • Great product can stir emotion “A formally harmonious product needs no decoration; it should be elevated through pure form” -Porsche
  • SR-71 • 18 months from contract to prototype • 30+ years as fastest and highest flying Protect the product team Legendary leader of Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, he famously insulated his teams from politics and any unnecessary bureaucratic distractions. His leadership contributed to over 30 aircraft including the P-38, Constellation, F-80, U-2, SR-71, and F117 stealth fighter.
  • 1909 2009 Great function outlasts fashion William Harley was the chief product engineer for Harley Davidson Motor Company, more than 100 years later, the V-Twin remains the most iconic engine design in motorcycle history.
  • (in product engineering) “…don’t be afraid of making mistakes, but be awfully afraid of being afraid.” -Roos Lead product designer of the iconic Willys Jeep and head engineer for the Studebaker and Chrysler inline engines, Barney Roos had a strong reputation for delivering focused, iterative improvements to early prototypes. Iterate to exceed product expectations
  • Fender could look at something and immediately discern the simplest method of whatever had to be done -Les Paul …rock and roll as we know it could not exist without Leo Fender -Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The design of each element should be thought out in order to be easy to make and easy to repair -Leo Fender Simple products rock!
  • Iconic Product People Thomas J. Watson Good product design is good business Henry Ford Good products won’t saturate the market Steve Jobs Decide what not to do Bill Gates Great products can create new markets Ferdinand Porsche Great product can stir emotions Kelly Johnson Protect the product team William Harley Great function outlasts fashion Barney Roos Iterate to exceed product expectations Leo Fender Simple products rock! Contemporary Product Visionaries Elon Musk Have conviction in product vision Larry Ellison Compete with passion Jeff Bezos Focus manically on product growth Larry Page Great product makes the hard stuff seem easy James Dyson Make products you’d want your name on Product Visionaries You May Not Know About Marissa Meyer Enforce product vision Jack Dorsey Identify disruptive opportunity Thomas Kurian Use your products Tony Hsieh Great customer service is a product itself Lessons from product people who changed the world
  • “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” -Musk “Starting and growing a business is as much about the innovation, drive and determination of the people who do it as it is about the product they sell.” -Musk At a young age he saw 3 things that would change humanity in his lifetime: 1) the internet, 2) sustainable transportation, and 3) space exploration. So, he set went and built products for the future he saw. Have conviction in product vision
  • “the only way to get ahead is to find errors in conventional wisdom” - Ellison "I enjoy the competition and the process of learning as we compete. The whole thing is just fascinating. I don't know what I'll do when I retire. When I go sailing, I look around ... anyone want to race? I just love competing as opposed to just going out and watching the sunset.“ -Ellison Compete with Passion
  • "Your margin is my opportunity.” -Bezos “There are two kinds of companies, those that work to raise prices and those that work to lower them” -Bezos Focus manically on product growth
  • We are trying to find user needs that aren’t being met at all -Larry Page Great product makes the hard stuff seem easy
  • “The trick is not to keep looking over your shoulder at others, or to worry, even as you begin a project, that it is not going to be the best possible example of its kind. As long as it works, and it is exciting, people will follow you.” -Dyson I am a creator of products, a builder of things, and my name appears on them. -Dyson Make products you’d want your name on People buy products if they’re better. -Dyson
  • Iconic Product People Thomas J. Watson Good product design is good business Henry Ford Good products won’t saturate the market Steve Jobs Decide what not to do Bill Gates Great products can create new markets Ferdinand Porsche Great product can stir emotions Kelly Johnson Protect the product team William Harley Great function outlasts fashion Barney Roos Iterate to exceed product expectations Leo Fender Simple products rock! Contemporary Product Visionaries Elon Musk Have conviction in product vision Larry Ellison Compete with passion Jeff Bezos Focus manically on product growth Larry Page Great product makes the hard stuff seem easy James Dyson Make products you’d want your name on Product Visionaries You May Not Know About Marissa Meyer Enforce product vision Jack Dorsey Identify disruptive opportunity Thomas Kurian Use your products Tony Hsieh Great customer service is a product itself Lessons from product people who changed the world
  • Enforce the product vision As a Google product manager and later executive, Mayer was credited with enforcing a rigid vision across Google's user-facing properties; she became the linchpin of integration between products, and she kept tabs on every engineer and designer, high and low," David Auerbach writes in Slate. "She is also accused of being stubbornly single-minded, ignoring others' opinions, disrespecting seniority and prestige, and being more focused on vision than on necessary compromises or Yahoo's quarterly earnings.“ Marissa Mayer became the youngest woman to ever be listed on Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women list, and the only person to appear in all three of Fortune lists in a single year (Business Person of the Year, Most Powerful Women, 40 under 40)
  • At 13yo Jack Dorsey was already writing code for his startup, as the first CEO of Twitter he captured a market that nobody else knew existed. As founder and CEO of Square, he’s now aiming to revolutionize the banking payments industry – a market he was drawn to precisely because it looked ripe for disruption. Identify disruptive opportunity
  • The highest paid product executive in the world (Fortune), for good reasons… a relentless focus on consuming his own technologies as part of a cohesive pre- engineered solution. Thomas Kurian has a reputation for hyper attention to product details, guiding product decisions no matter how small. He started as a Product Manager himself, putting Oracle’s middleware on the map before eventually buying BEA, Sun and taking on all Oracle’s product responsibilities. In the $180b+ enterprise software industry, there is not a more influential product leader. Use your products
  • Great customer service is itself a product Famously focused on customer service, Tony Hsieh’s book “Delivering Happiness” was the #1 New York Times best seller where he links profits to great customer service and great customer service to happy employees…sounds simple but he’s embedded that culture deep into his company, and customers are rewarding his vision with loyalty and profits. More than any other, his product is customer service itself.
  • Some final thoughts about great product managers • 1/3rd of the people on this list had their own name on their product, as a product manager would you put your name on yours? • 80% of the people on this list had engineering or technical background, but that alone was not sufficient, they all had relentless drive to deliver exceptional product experience. • In compiling this list, common themes emerged from reading each product leader’s own advice: • embrace and learn from failure • be confident in being unconventional • if you’re not encountering obstacles then you’re not innovating • making is its own reward – but when you make great product, profits and markets will follow • It’s not easy… great product management takes repeated efforts in the face of failure, and the dedication and conviction to persist on your product vision when surrounded by doubters