7 lessons you must learn from the genius minds of all time to become a successful product manager.
I am passionate about my work as a product owner. I have grown into the role of product management in the past decade. I am excited to wake up every morning and go to work. I always get butterflies in my stomach when I hear about the new product or idea I should be working and that burning desire to make a product that can solve some user needs. I think being a product owner gives me the satisfaction and the joy of doing my part on creating a positive impact in the changing world.
I love reading, and I love quotes. I devotedly follow many of the great minds in the product industry like Jeff Benzo, Elon Musk, Bill Gates. I have learned a lot from them. I have a journal full of quotes that have inspired me throughout, changed my mindset over time, and helped me live my passion.
In this article, I want to share some of these quotes that are stuck with me what I have learned from them and how I apply them in my daily work life.
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”— Steve Jobs
Being solution-oriented is an outstanding quality that defines us as product managers.
When I hear someone complaining, my brain goes like how can this be solved? What can we do to make it easier?
If you can think about something to create, if you have an idea for providing a good experience, or a solution to a problem to do good for the planet, you can create it. Everything is possible in this world of technology, maybe even teleporting in some years.
If you got an idea, put some effort into exploring the possibilities. Don’t kill it by just second-guessing it. Engage in brainstorming, look past current barriers, visualize, and imagine the perfect world scenario. If you have a will and you believe in it, you can find a way to do it. Even if you don’t see a way, for now, you will get the knowledge, the experience. Every effort you take pays off. It is all win-win at the end.
Either you achieve the goal, or you learn from failure, in any case, you get one step closer to your goal.
‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’— Albert Einstein
This quote although made a century ago before product management existed but its value applies to the core of the product management
To be able to communicate well with everyone in your hemisphere first, you, as a product manager, should know your product in and out. You should know what it has to offer, what are the short-comings, what are the plans, the design, the user need, all of it. You should know it so well that even if someone woke you up in the middle of the night, you should be able to say if you click this button, you reach on this page. You should be able to explain why the behavior is as it is. And only then will you be able to explain it to anyone, in the simplest way that they could understand better.
As a product manager, you talk to many people in a day. You talk to stakeholders, to users, to designers, to developers. Each of your audience speaks and understands a different language. Some understand tech terms but not marketing gimmick, and some don’t speak technical at all. Since you are the expert here, you should be able to explain all of them in a language that they understand.
Understand your product well enough so that when you speak, people think it was easy to understand, and they get it.
Every product is complex in its own way, but you must know the simplest explanation.
If I had to pick one quote that has changed my perspective 360 degrees, it’s this quote. It has changed my perspective and my mindset entirely towards feedback and idea generation. We, as a product manager, build a product as a solution to one problem. After understanding the meaning behind Bill Gates’s words, I realized, unhappy customers are not something we should be scared off; in fact, they are the most significant opportunity. If you get negative feedback, you should see it as an opportunity for improvement. It is a gift. You should get excited that you are discovering something meaningful and valuable.
Try to listen to the underlying problem behind those unhappy words. Nothing is personal here. Our customers are giving responses to the product or service that they are using. Our job is to make their experience better. It is the best way to know what to improve when you hear it from an unhappy customer.
This advice also helps with other aspects of our daily life. I like to take in all the feedback I can get. Sometimes as an average person, some negative feedback hurts, and the immediate response is being defensive. But when you truly understand the value of constructive feedback, you act on the feedback to improve. Sometimes you don’t have to work on it, but it helps you better understand another person’s perspective.
Appreciate the feedback, and take it well.
“Be stubborn on vision but flexible on details.”– Jeff Bezos
In the world of agile and fast-paced development, continuous delivery is the primary focus. All the concepts of MVP’s and prototypes are a part of constant learning and iteration cycles. Deliver quick, fail fast, learn, and iterate is the motto.
As a product owner, you should know the vision of your product, your organization, and stand by it, but you should also understand the stretch between perfection and good to go. You should be A quick solution may not be sustainable, but it might be necessary to learn faster or to get the timing right. You can have a technical debt on a feature that has performed over expectations rather than spending time to make a feature foolproof and not used by any users.
‘Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not.’– Elon Musk
This quote has pushed me many times to still do the next right thing when in doubt. To take action when others are still procrastinating. When an idea strikes your brain, which is above the normal level, your intelligence kicks in and starts rationalizing. In the creative process, sometimes the biggest hinder is the rationale. Every new invention and creation will seem impossible in the beginning. The circumstances and possibilities of success are thin when you are innovating. You should try to see beyond the current events.
Take the leap, when others are dreaming.
Sincerely Media — Unsplash
‘The journey of thousand miles begins with one step.’ – Lao Tzu
I like to have big goals. I am a person who gets motivated when I aspire to achieve something that looks out of reach. However, now I also understand that happiness is in the journey. So, appreciate and enjoy every single step you take towards your goal.
It is essential to not feel stressed or impatient because you don’t see the results today. When your team or you are working on something which looks like a million light-years away, you must celebrate every single milestone. T the energy level and motivation in the team. They will be more focused on the vision and feel worthy even though the achievement is not complete yet.
“We must respond to opportunities before they become conventional wisdom.” ― Satya Nadella
Every product owner follows some trends. When you hear about a new trend in the market, don’t hesitate to explore it. Almost every product in the market has competition. It is not always possible to be work towards innovation. Sometimes when the competition has accomplished something new and better than you don’t be dishearted. Instead, take it as an opportunity and make sure that your product is not missing out on the best feature because the competition launched it first. Serve your loyal users, don’t let them down, make them proud by providing them all the cool features available out there. They expect if the other apps have single sign-on, then your app should also have single sign-on. There is no shame in copying the feature that serves best for your user. After all, everything we do is for our users.
The important trick to learn is, even though you are copying an existing feature, you can focus on improving it even further. You can replicate but mutate.
There is always a better away. There is always room for improvement.
Author: Bindiya Thakkar