Why Entrepreneurs Make Good Product Managers

What makes a good product manager? I once asked this question to a number of product executives. Several of them gave me an answer like this:

A good product manager thinks like a CEO.

What does this mean?

It means you know all aspects of the product – its market, its customers, its operations, its team of talent, etc. You know your product’s and your team’s strengths & weaknesses. You know the market’s current state, potential trends, major players, economic factors, regulatory issues, etc. You know your customers and how they currently solve the problem you are trying to solve.

It means you care about the product deeply. It’s not just a job. It’s a calling, a passion. You have a strong, compelling vision and are willing to work hard to make it happen. And you know how to inspire others with your vision as well.

It means you are pragmatic because this is your livelihood. You are constantly gathering & analyzing data to make your decisions. And when you don’t have enough information – which you rarely will – you are willing to make an informed, yet bold decision.

It means you find people smarter than you and spend a lot of time rallying them. They are the lifeblood of your product and the means to bring flesh to the vision, and you know it. Roadblocks in their path are demolished feverishly & quickly.

It means you are flexible. The world is constantly changing. Your product and your team will need to change with it. Mistakes are embraced and learnings and shared enthusiastically. You’d rather move quickly and course-correct often with your eyes open, than to pick a single direction and go forward blindly.

Product manager, CEO, entrepreneur, business owner – in the end, they all share the same basic mindset. They are trying to build a product that people will love, use, and tell their friends about.

Photo by: Joi

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *