What Makes Bengaluru the Silicon Valley of India?

This weekend Institute of Product Leadership inaugurated the newest cohort (3rd with CMR University and 5th overall) of our Executive MBA in Product Leadership program that is offered in collaboration with universities. CMR University is one of the host universities for the program. The inauguration ceremony was chaired by Honorable Vice Chancellor of CMR University, Dr. Joshi, with Dr. Mohan Das, Director of Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India, as the invited chief guest. Below is the text of my short speech. I shared the vision of the Institute, as part of which, I addressed the question of what makes Bengaluru the Silicon Valley of India. Continue reading

You Just Completed a Workshop…What Next?

Congratulations! You just completed a workshop. Hopefully it was not death by powerpoint, and the instructor made sure you were not just sitting in a chair all day, made sure you stayed engaged, asked you questions and answered yours with some real-life examples. Now, armed with this newfound knowledge and way of thinking, you are brimming with new perspective and can’t wait to get back and apply all you learnt. What comes next? How do you make the most of this investment of time, energy and money?

Continue reading

What Distinguishes the Top 1% Product Managers from the Top 10%?

I came across this question on Quora and it got me thinking.

It’s useful to understand what distinguishes the top 1% from the top 10% in any field. The top 10% in any field are likely some of the top notch performers in that field. The margin of difference is very small. Yet there must be that extra special “it” factor that separates the top 1% from the rest, that gives the top 1% a well-earned exalted status. That is why we speak of Michael Jordan, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and such people in a different breath from their peers in the game.

What is the special “it” factor?

Continue reading

Product Professional to CEO

Google recently promoted Sundar Pichai to the role of CEO. Naturally, this received a lot of press with many articles talking about Pichai’s journey from a middle class family background in India, his education at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Stanford and Wharton, and working at McKinsey and Google. No doubt, it is a remarkable story of progress. Since Pichai is an India-born CEO, it generated even more interest.

Continue reading

What Job Do You Hire the Apple Watch For?

After the recent Apple keynote, a friend sent me these questions:

  • Is the watch now a permanent part of your purchase? Buy one every 2 years to pair with your iPhone?
  • What would have to happen for you to say – it is not worth spending $350 to have a watch on my wrist?
  • Why buy a $350 Apple when a $100-$200 Pebble gives you the same functionality?

The question behind the question is, what is the compelling reason to buy a product. Continue reading

Let’s Get It Done – What Do You Do?

Play out this scenario. You are a product manager. A senior executive in your company has an idea about what your product needs to do. S/he has sufficient understanding of the product and the market. S/he speaks with as many customers as you do if not more. If s/he happens to be in charge of engineering and product development, they also know the technology, effort, complexity. The edict is passed down – “We need to do X. Let’s get it done.” and this generates a perfect maelstrom of activity. You are the product manager. What do you do?

Please share your thoughts in the comments. Trying out a new format for a post, but this is a real situation for many product managers.

Move the Needle in 2015

It’s that time of the year when most companies with fiscal year starting January 1st are engaged in or done with their 2015 planning – bookings forecasts, budgets for investments and personnel, at the company level and broken down by business units and major product lines. It starts with defining what success means and translating that into specific initiatives and actions to achieve it. It is also the time of the year when people usually start to think about their new year resolutions, and dropping a few pounds is always a perennial favorite. It is time to figure out what will move the needle in 2015. Continue reading