The road to success is filled with failures

I’ve learned years ago that failure is the stepping stone to success. “Without failure you are not growing.” “You can’t succeed without failing.” “All successful people have failed.” I’ve memorized the famous Thomas Jefferson quote “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I’ve watch the Michael Jordan commercial about failure multiple times. Yet I still fear it. I don’t want to do it. Maybe my head understands but my heart doesn’t believe it. It’s scary. But just because it’s scary doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it (see my post Scared Speechless Speech. I’ve failed at many product management tasks already. From missing requirements, to missing target release dates, to pulling data incorrectly to make a decision. Failure to say no to project, working on lower priority projects ahead of major priority projects. I guess I can take comfort in knowing that at least I’m learning. But I know this will be something that I’ll always have to be reminded. Though the fear of failure will probably never go away, how I respond to it can. I found this video that serves as a good reminder and I hope you enjoy it as well.

What the big GoDaddy can teach a Product manager

I just finished watching Bob Parson’s, CEO of GoDaddy, video blog. I started watching it a few months back and really enjoyed it. Most of it seems to be of the self-help type. His recent one had 8 tips on how he deals with life when the going gets tough.

  1. Its the journey, not the destination
  2. Get a little better each and every day
  3. Avoid being your greatest enemy
  4. Flex your mental muscles
  5. The early bird gets the worm
  6. Big expectations lead to big dissappoints. Replace expectations with ambition.
  7. Nice people actually finish first.
  8. The present is a gift. Spending to much time in the past creates regret. Spending to much time in the future creates worry.

Most of the sayings are things I’m sure everyone has heard from time to time but it’s always good to be reminded every once and awhile. If you want to check out the video you can see it below.

4 Questions a Product Manager must memorize to succeed

1. What is the biggest problem you are trying to solve today?
2. How hard has it been to find an answer to this problem? Very hard, somewhat hard, not very hard?
3. What caused you to go out and look for a solution for this?
4. What would it mean if you find the solution to this problem?

Question #1 will give you what your market is looking for.  Question #2 will let you know if people would be willing to pay for the solution. The harder it is, the more they might be willing to pay for it. The last 2 questions will give you the story behind the problem because let’s face it, sometimes we are trying to find solutions for symptoms instead of dealing with the root cause of the issue.

A possible script I might use would be: Hi, my name is <name> and I’m the product manager for XYZ. We are doing research to see how we should focus our efforts for next year and was wondering if you can help? All you have to do is answer 4 questions that take 10 mins. Can you please help us?

Accidental Product Manager

I first learned of the term “accidental product manager” in a seminar I took. Pretty much the definition is exactly what it sounds like. You started in some role, moved up and then someone asks you, “Do you want to be the product manager? I think you would be good at it.” Then the unknowing innocent victim thinks, “Sounds important, and it comes with a promotion! I’m in.” Little do they know the pain they are in for.

That’s what happened to me. I started as a QA Engineer, went through some manager roles, then that enchanting question came out of someone’s mouth and here I am. (Of course it didn’t exactly happen that way but you get the point).

After the thrill of a new position faded the realization of “What does a product manager do?” settled in. And the more important question, “How do I do it?!”

The comforting thing is that I realized I wasn’t alone. This seems to be the theme for this career. So if you are in the same boat, take comfort that you are not alone. The term is so popular it has even been trademarked and there is even a blog www.theaccidentalpm.com.

Next up, so what does a product manager actually do? Short answer. It’s complicated.

Welcome

Welcome to my blog. I haven’t blogged since the xanga.com days for those that even remember that. So first the purpose of this blog. Most of the post will center around product management. Through this blog I will document my journey in my attempt to create a career. Why use a blog? Mostly to be selfish. First, it will force me to review and put into action all the stuff I’ve learned and read. Second, I believe that until you can explain something, you haven’t really learned it. Lastly, why not? <p> Sometimes you’ll see posts about random stuff but mostly it will be about my exciting, scary and mistake filled journey that hopefully has a pot of gold in the end. Enjoy!