Q: What are the top three lessons or tips that you’d share with product managers that are in emerging tech spaces?
From my perspective, there’s a lot of reading and researching, looking at other industries and finding paths where other industries have evolved and matured. Are there parallels that you can draw from that. And I think, as humankind, we tend to be following kind of big strands of things. And we’re just on different parts of the journey in different industries.
I think that’s the first thing is always reading research and look for parallels in other places and see how those industries have developed. And what has happened to the products and those industries? How have they stayed relevant? Test driving, as we said about the actionable insight, is really, really important. You know, even if it’s written down, you have a conversation with a potential prospect at an event or at an exhibition and test drive, ask the question, what would you do? What would you do if you had a supercomputer for the weekend, and you may get many different answers. But test driving is really, really key.
And I think, lastly, even though test driving is a great thing, if you can represent things visually, like in a prototype style, you get more and more of people kind of going, “ah, I see, I see where you’re going with this”. And the interesting thing about that is because people have different backgrounds and biases, and different experiences, you may be then looking at your prototype, and then actually looking left or right of it and not down the center. But I think a lot of people see things visually, and they kind of go, “oh, I get it, I see what you mean, what if you did this,” and they’d start pointing at a screen or pointing at a piece of paper going, “if you did this, this would really help me out.” For an emerging space that’s sometimes the best thing. Even if you have to draw with crayons something visual that people can put their put their hands on is so much better than not.
Q: How would you recommend folks do as they product management in the emerging tech space?
I think for product management in general, is having either knowledge or experience in the other pieces of the business that drive a business towards its existence. towards its continuous and continuing viability. So, for example, my experience was in develop management, it was in professional services, and client services. So, I got to see it from an implementation side of things, I got to see it from a support side of things. And I think that kind of gives you a more rounded view of the experience of not only the people using your software, day to day, but also the people who implement it, the people who support it. What are their thought processes? What are their experiences? For emerging industries, it’s a little bit harder I think, putting your finger in emerging industry is a harder thing. From my experience, I think I’ve said it further up, reading and researching, even if it’s outside of your direct space, is always a good thing to do. Follow the people you know, the Bill Gates of the world or follow the Mark Cubans of the world or whoever just to see what they’re talking about. And kind of get a feel for general trends and then look for companies that seem to be making a difference in those particular spaces. And be flexible. Sometimes people come into a role with experience, but sometimes it’s more about the drive to know more. Okay, are there parallels – what else can we bring to bear on this? Because a new industry is a new industry. There may not be always a reference point which you can sail your ship by.