What Can We Learn From The $400 Juicer That’s Supposedly Destroying Silicon Valley?

The BusinessInsider article The evidence is piling up – Silicon Valley is being destroyed seems to have riled up a lot of people. People are at a loss to understand how could the fabled VCs of Silicon Valley invest $120 million in a company that makes a juicer. People are wondering incredulously, there’s an app for that?! Since when did we need an app to drink juice?

Continue reading

What IS Product Management, really?

Are you surprised why this question is even being asked in the first place? We have had product management in the industry for a long time now. Proctor & Gamble pioneered the concepts of brand management and market research (“Find out what the customer wants and give it to them.“). The importance of the role was further legitimized at HP and at Apple, where Steve Jobs was the uber Product Manager (“It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want. Customers do not know what they want until you give it to them.“)

With such a storied legacy of Product Management, why this question now? Continue reading

5 Critical Checkpoints on the Product Roadmap

On any road, there are the usual sign markers showing useful information, locations for services, and sometimes, checkpoints set up by law enforcement authorities. These checkpoints are intended to ensure compliance, e.g., sobriety, seat belts, or in other situations to reroute traffic due to hazardous conditions ahead, e.g., rock slides, excessive flooding and snow, and so on. Bottomline, the purpose of a checkpoint is to ensure that we are equipped for our onward journey, that it continues to be safe, and we get to our destination without too much unplanned adventure.

The Product Roadmap is a similar journey in its own right. What checkpoints should we have to inspect if the journey continues on its planned route, or take detours as necessary? Continue reading

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%?

Product Management Today Best Article

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

Product Management Today Best Article

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