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What it takes to be a Product Manager
A Day In The Life Of A Product Manager : Based On A True Story :-)
By: Amit GoelAmit Goel
Co-Founder & CEO at CareerPlot
I had published this post about 1.5 years back on my personal blog and now, reposting it on LinkedIn. This post is not about being inspirational or talk about the pros and cons of being a product manager. It is all about doing what one always wants to do in life. Everyone plays an important role in success of a company. Be it a CEO, COO, sales, marketing, programmers, testers, admins, HR, finance, support or a lesser known mortal called Product Manager, everyone is so integral for a company to be successful. and the measure of success is only one thing called “Customer Happiness Index”.
So, With all the kind of roles mentioned above, most of them are very well defined functions. There is only one function called Product Management which is so ambiguous (in everyone's mind) that even product managers get confused many times why they exist. Sometimes, it is so frustrating for a product manager to figure out whether one is an engineer, support executive , operations person, salesperson, marketing professional or basically, either nothing or everything.
So, Let's visualise a day in the life of a product manager. Feel free to replace the characters in the story with the people around you. For example: you can replace the CEO with other managers, directors or project heads etc..
A Product Manager day entails a minimum of the following.
Daily Stand up meeting ( a catch up with his/her team)
This is the bare minimum and a must have. A product manager definitely starts a day with a daily stand up with his teammates (mostly virtually on telephone to save time in the morning while being in traffic). In this stand up, he blurbs out the issues he is facing to get the feature released on time or if nothing else, at least get it released. Also, he fights out with his team mates (other product managers) about why his thing is important and others need to wait. By the end of this stand up, his blood pressure has already shot up and is boiling with anger.
Stand up with Feature Teams
This is optional if agile is functioning in its best possible format in a company. but in reality, agile is twisted in most companies and a product manager becomes the part of feature team stand up to make sure he observes the progress and issues and resolves if it can be. Now, there are different opinions by everyone on how agile should be. But a product manager should be the last one attending daily stand ups of different teams.
Dealing with Sales teams
By the time, stand ups are over and a product manager barely manages to finish a cup of coffee and is about to finish his 50% of email replies, he gets the calls from sales executives about clarifications of certain features in the product and if they can be modified with in a day to get the potential customer. Of course, most of the time , the answer is a BIG NO. and he spends crucial minutes explaining that it cannot be done. at the end of the discussion with sales executive, with in few minutes, he starts seeing the mails from almost all corners how a customer is lost because a product is not up to the mark and he missed out on such basic scenario of customer needs. and as a result, company has lost a very significant customer and a huge pile of money.
Dealing with Tech teams
Because of argument with sales teams, he talks to tech team if certain tweaks are possible in the product quickly. Inspite of him being technical and polite, the tech team just ignores him and says a BIG NO without understanding the impact on customers or business or even giving him/her a proper hearing. They just move on to their second cup of coffee and a discussion on how Facebook is handling millions of requests per second. Because for tech teams, their daily dose of technology orgasm happens with hi-tech discussions about how other companies are building cool technology and how their company is full of stupid shit of people who do not know anything. Now, the product manager is left distraught and disarrayed by a bunch of engineers who claim to "know-it-all" gods.
Dealing with Marketing
As the product manager is recovering from the blows given by tech teams, a mail from marketing arrives asking for suggestions for a new partnership they wish to crack. They want suggestions if they can launch a new product scheme in the market and if the product can support it. This one is fairly easy and a product manager says yes to anything which helps in product growth. but then, comes the hard part. Now, he needs to draft a one pager and get the graphic designer to depict it in exactly what marketing teams wants and the hours go by while that lonely graphic designer sitting in a corner thinking like Leonardo Da Vinci or Salvador Dali tries to open up Photoshop on his 16 GB memory machine for the next two hours.
And an irritated customer calls
While the lunch time is gone and the product manager is hungry, here comes the patience test. A customer calls directly to product manager as he got the phone number figured out by fooling the customer support executives or through the connections on LinkedIn and complains that he is not able to perform a transaction or may be there is some issue he is facing. Remember that every customer feels that the issue he is facing is life threatening. A product manager rushes to the QA team to verify it who, in turn, asks for “steps to reproduce”. A few hours with the QA team with the last hour full of hot debates and then, a few expletives and abusive exchanges gets the problem identified and now, an unacceptable timeline is communicated to customer about the fix of the issue. This angers the customer and he disconnects the phone.
Phone call from COO (chief operations officer)
The Product Manager is just about to begin his lunch when people are having snacks or playing ping pong in the evening, when the COO calls. The angry customer has reached out to top management and has threatened to part ways with the company if the issue is not resolved in an hour. Forgetting the so called lunch in between, the product manager rushes to tech team and pleads (read: begs ) to them to fix it urgently. Finally, one of the tech guys agree as he feels that he should help the needy (like sometimes, PETA feels to help the humans instead of animals). He fixes the issue but by that time, QA team is already preparing to leave for the day. Now, the product manager pleads (read: begs again) to the QA guy and he agrees to help (like Trump agreeing to help an immigrant who belongs to Slovenia). Then, the Dev Ops, Sys Admin and release teams finally listen to the pleas of a poor guy and make the release happen.
Roadmap Disagreement with CTO
By that time, CTO figures out that they have many more important things in technology to be taken care of as product needs to be scalable and reliable. and a huge discussion with CTO happens to align the roadmap again. Note that, roadmap discussions are a daily affair and a dream of one year roadmap is just a “DREAM”. CTO wants the system to be scalable to handle million customers at any given time when in reality, the company is still yet to breach the 5000 customer mark. and this is top priority because his team has figured out that Facebook and Google have built and used this super cool piece of technology and now, they have open sourced it too. Also, all other engineers in the world are talking about it so they need to implement it too.
Finally, Status update with CEO
The office is empty. People have gone home. It’s the security guards having dinner in office. The product manager is winding off for the day as he is just about to miss a celebration at home. But then the CEO calls, he has heard about the customer complaint, last minute bug fix done by tech guys, problems identified in product by COO and team, sales team complaining about product not having that feature which can bring revenue, marketing team just cribbing about zero support from product management, a screwed up roadmap as told by CTO and of course, not adhering to the instructions given by the CEO himself. So, CEO agains tells the product manager to spend another quick one hour to find a solution to all the problems and send him a proposal which needs to be reviewed first thing in the morning....
While the product manager is working on the proposal, the birds are chirping outside. The cleaning staff has started coming in... The sun is getting to 30 degrees in the horizon...
By the way, the celebration at home which he was supposed to attend at any cost got over yesterday.
FYI, This is not my story. I am one happy product manager who loves every aspect of product management and building products.Check my profile to know more about me :-)
PS 1 : If you are an aspiring product manager based in India ( Bangalore or Hyderabad ) and want to meet me in person, I can definitely catch up with you for a cup of coffee on any weekend. Just connect with me on LinkedIn and then, send me a message ...
If you want to have a telephonic discussion with me on anything about product management or startups etc, or would like to have my advice on these topics again... just connect with me on linkedIn and send me a message...
PS 2 : If you want , you can read my previous articles on LinkedIn to get my thoughts on product management. check the section "Don't miss more articles by Amit Goel" below.
Disclaimer : Any resemblance to persons living or dead should be plainly apparent to them and those who know them. All events described herein actually happened, though on occasion the author has taken certain liberties with the event definition and chronology, because that is his right to freedom of exaggeration like every other human being on this planet and especially, because he belongs to India.
What startups can learn from Myntra’s U-turn
Last year, Myntra, one of India’s largest online fashion stores, took the audacious decision to shut down its website and become an app-only store. The rationale given was to provide better user experience. While some of its customers protested, Myntra stuck to its decision. Myntra’s parent company, Flipkart, followed suit by turning off its mobile website too.
About nine months later, both Myntra and Flipkart have re-opened their mobile websites, first Flipkart and then Myntra. On June 1st, Myntra will re-launchits desktop site. The reasons mentioned by Myntra include: providing multi-channel access, the need for larger screens for categories like home furnishing, and sizeable desktop traffic.
I have a theory on Myntra’s original hypothesis and why it may not have worked out.
On the Internet, most shopping journeys start with a Google search. The reasons are manifold. Google has earned users’ trust for locating precisely what they are looking for, sometimes even with ambiguous search queries. And for nearly all queries, Google generates the most relevant ads. For shopping related searches, Google has a modified ad format that shows the picture of the product, its price, and any offers by the given retailer. In short, Google helps users to make better decisions.
Users have come to rely on Google so much that instead of visiting a particular website directly, they just type in the company’s name on Google and expect it to give them a link to the website. This phenomenon is so widespread that brand owners pay Google to show their ads for their own brand name searches. Even the mighty web companies like Amazon pay the Google Tax for searches of its brand, as shown in the screen capture below.
In the e-commerce competition that started earlier this decade, Myntra quickly rose to become India’s biggest online shopping destination for apparel and fashion products. Google awarded its popularity by giving Myntra a high ranking in the listing for organic searches and thus more free traffic for Myntra, making it even more popular.
Myntra received tons of traffic from Google for highly competitive and commercial search queries. Google’s ads were also effective in driving users to Myntra with high purchase intention. But when Myntra made the fatal decision to switch off its website, it effectively shut down this source of high quality and, mostly, free traffic to its site. Myntra’s bet, probably, was that it had enough mind share and trust of Indian customers that they will remember Myntraas the first destination for fashion products. So no more Google Tax! Myntra probably intended to force shoppers to make a choice –Myntra versus other shopping sites. Inadvertently, however, they forced users to make a choice between Google and Myntra.
A year ago, in May 2015, Google announced that its search traffic on mobile had surpassed desktop traffic. In India, the same inflection point may have been reached earlier, given the country’s relatively low penetration of desktops as compared to mobile.
During its first quarter results, Google announced that the paid clicks in Q1 2016 were 29% higher than in Q1 2015.In other words, Google’s search engine continues to see its usage growing significantly from an already very high base. Just to give you a sense of Google’s prowess, in August 2012, Google was performing 100 billion searches per month. No new data about search volume has been published but if you look at Google’s fabulous paid-click growth rates since then, it is safe to say that they have easily doubled that number.
Google’s mobile operating system, Android, has over a billion users worldwide. The default search application on Android-powered mobile phones is, well, obviously, Google. In India, Android has over 90% market share of smartphone operating systems.
Google continued to send traffic to Myntra even when its website was shut off. This was due to the good karma that Myntra had earned since its inception. Users searched for products on Google, clicked on Myntra’s organic result, and then immediately hit the back button when users saw a note asking them to download the app instead of finding the product that they were looking for. In web analytics parlance, this is called a ‘bounce’. As the number of users bouncing from Myntra’s website went up, Google started demoting that result. Gradually, it stops sending traffic altogether to Myntra.
From April 2015, Google publicly stated that its search-ranking algorithm would start giving importance to mobile-friendliness– a decision termed as “Mobilegeddon” in the search community. In March 2016, Google announced that itwas going to place even more importance on sites being mobile friendly. Given that Google still doesn’t have a separate index for mobile, according to the experts, it seems that there is a technical challenge to have a site only for one device and not for others. And how do you classify ‘tablets’, which are another class of devices altogether?
Here we are. Google has a massive search market share, which is growing at a breathtaking pace. Users go to Google with muscle memory, whenever they want something. And Myntra isn’t present there. It’s entirely possible that the core audience of Myntra open its app whenever they think about fashion. But, on the flip side, there is a huge population that has never purchased anything online yet and coming online for the first time. For those users, Myntra practically doesn’t exist, unless they have seen its ads on TV or in print.
Google is ready to hand over all the fashion-related traffic, worth hundreds of crores of rupees annually, to Myntra. For free. All Google asks is that Myntra have a website. And so Myntra is doing just that.
So what can startups learn from Myntra’s blunder?
First, pay the Google Tax!Second, it is important to have both a website and an app for your e-commerce enabled store.Third, ensure that your desktop site is friendly for all devices to earn Google’s favour.Myntra had to learn the above lessons the hard way and probably lost countless millions. Don’t make the same mistake!
Kapil Sharma kickstarts 2017 with good news, announces two new comedy shows
The laughter dose just got multiplied. The funny man of our entertainment industry, Kapil Sharma is coming up with two new shows. Yes, you read that right. The comedian and actor, who rose to fame with his television show Comedy Nights With Kapil and presently hosts The Kapil Sharma Show on Sony, shared the good news as part of ringing in his New Year.He wrote, “First news of the year.. k9 is producing two comedy shows … hope u will like .. stay happy.” For Kapil, the year of 2016 has been a roller coaster ride. The actor got embroiled in controversies, his set was on fire and then his rift with a leading channel’s producer. However, as they say, all’s well that ends well. Kapil’s growth has been tremendous.
As per industry reports, Kapil is getting a whopping Rs 110 crore for his renewed year-long stint of the show with Sony. Considering The Kapil Sharma Show is one of the top TRP generators for not just the channel, but on the Indian television too, the comedian easily pockets around Rs 60-80 lakh per episode, becoming one of the top earning actors of small screen too.
Source: Indian Express
2015 - Internet Trends Report (3.5 Million Views & Counting)
KPCB’s Mary Meeker presents the 2015 Internet Trends report, 20 years after the inaugural “The Internet Report” was first published in 1995. Since then, the number of Internet users has risen from 35 million in 1995 to more than 2.8 billion today. The 2015 report looks at key Internet trends globally – while still healthy Internet user and smartphone subscription growth continue to slow, Internet engagement continues to rise led by consumers spending more time on their mobile devices, where they can be connected 24/7. Mobile advertising still has headroom to expand and new innovations around ad formats and buy buttons should prove compelling for consumers and businesses.
We are re-imagining more and more aspects of our daily lives, as mobile users and entrepreneurs continue to push innovation and creative output across new online platforms. User-generated / curated / shared content continues to rise, ranging from pins on Pinterest to videos on Snapchat and Facebook. Business processes continue to be re-imagined, led by companies aiming to make data more useful and services more efficient. Demographic shifts are helping to accelerate technology changes. Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce and their work / life expectations differ from previous generations. As connectivity and commerce continue to rise, we have witnessed broad impacts on consumer expectations, which in turn can alter work for many, to a form of work that can be flexible and supplemental. Looking internationally, Chinese Internet leaders continue to innovate, while India is on-track to become the second-largest Internet market in the world.Link to the report: Internet Trends Report
Image SourceLike most offbeat movies, this one isn’t very famous. The movie will hit you so hard that you cannot not be affected by it. You might love it, You might hate it because it will depress you, make you cry but there is no chance that you’ll be unaffected. Tulip Joshi is so brilliant that you’ll wonder why is she not approached by directors. The world created by the movie makers will take you in the grotesque, scary, hair-raising dystopian world as a result of female infanticide. Do yourself a favour and watch it.
2. MasaanImage SourceAn offbeat movie that was watched and discussed by many. It’s a story of how four lives intersect along the Ganges and that gives an insight into love, life and death. One of the finest movies of 2015, this movie will be a chilling experience. Beautifully written and directed, with top-notch performances by the actors, it’s a do not miss movie!
3. The Blue UmbrellaImage SourceVishal Bharadwaj is the master of adaptations. Based on Ruskin Bond’s short story, the story captures the simple life of a small hill-town and tells the story of a girl whose favourite blue umbrella gets stolen. The little girl is adorable and Pankaj Kapoor absolutely makes the film an extraordinary one.
4. ParzaniaImage SourceBased on the real life story of a Parsi family whose son goes missing during the Gujarat riots, the movie is deeply impactful. The director, the cinematographer, the story writer, the script writer, the actors, everyone is commendable. And it’s a shame it was never released in Gujarat. It’s a shame when people are left devoid of such movies.
5. DorImage SourceIt’s very hard to make a simple movie. A movie of two simple women, very different from each other, linked by a tragedy. Their budding friendship is so beautifully written and scripted. Dor is so much more than a story about their friendship. It’s a story about the wide gap in how the women are treated in the urban and rural ares. It’s about the struggle of a widow. Ayesha Takia and Gul Panag are pure brilliance.
6. GulaalImage SourceAnurag Kashyap is the master-maker of offbeat movies. A huge fan, I simple cannot fathom how this man makes his movies. The story of a law student whose journey will leave you speechless. It is dark, moving, engrossing and brain consuming. The cast is awesome and Kay Kay Menon steals the show! Do, do watch it!
7. Black FridayImage SourceAnother movie by Anurag Kashyap! Based on the investigations following the 1993 serial bomb blasts…this movie is raw, dark, real and brilliantly made. The performances, direction, background score, use of colours, light, effects, everything makes the movie mind blowing. Not everyone is as brave as Mr. Kashyap to take up the task of making such a movie and executing it so well.
8. Mumbai Meri JaanImage SourceNishikant Kamat is another director who’ll stun you with his movies. The story of how the Mumbai serial bombings affected the lives of 5 people unrelated to each other. The story is beautifully written and the stories of the 5 different people blend in seamlessly. The cast is again just perfect and you’d missing a lot if you haven’t watched this movie yet!
9. LakshyaImage SourceVery few offbeat movies cast a hero popular amongst the masses. This is one such movie which had established that Hrithik is a brilliant actor and more, that Farhan Akhtar is an even brilliant director. It’s the story of a good-for-nothing jobless, grown man who joins the army and turns over a new leaf. Preity Zinta is flawless, too.
10. UdaanImage SourceAlmost every cinephile would have watched this movie. For those who haven’t, Udaan will leave you spellbound with it’s brilliant story-telling. Nobody can play the character of an ultra-strict father better than Ronit Roy and Rohan’s journey of freedom is something you’ll have to witness to appreciate it!
11. The LunchboxImage SourceWhat a brilliant work of art! The best of the movies are the ones that tell a simple tale. The story of two lives whose paths cross because of a wrong delivery is what the story is about. When there are actors like Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin, you don’t have to say much. But what’s amazing is that Nimrat Kaur is at par and her work is just wonderful.
12. A WednesdayImage SourceThe cast is so inviting: Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Jimmy Shergill…you would want to watch the movie without further checking the IMDB. The movie is fantastic. A case that keeps haunting a retired police officer, the case of a man and a Wednesday. The dialogues will make you whistle and you’ll fall in love with offbeat cinema!
13. Monsoon WeddingImage SourceMira Nair is a woman I highly respect. And if I had a chance, I would love to learn the art of making movies from her. Monsoon Wedding is a 2001 film which talks about so many issues in the most subtle manner. There are many stories in this film. The story of a stressed father, the bride with a secret, the bride’s cousin with a deeper, darker secret. It’s an overwhelming ride of emotions and the beauty of relationships.
14. No SmokingImage SourceAnother film from Anurag Kashyap. Watch this strange movie since it tells the tale of a man who is a chain smoker. The movie is not just about quitting smoking; it’s about quitting any addiction. Welcome to realistic cinema. The theme is hard to make a movie on that’s why Kashyap is pure genius.
15. SwadesImage SourceAnother offbeat, a brilliant movie starring a famous star! I can absolutely watch this movie over and over again. The story of a man who comes to India to take his nanny with him to the U.S.A. but instead falls in love with India. The movies will show the life of rural India and honestly, at the end will make you hopeful. Shahrukh Khan is wonderful and the movie is a must-watch.
16. Stanley ka DabbaImage SourceSoft, simple and a gem of a movie. If you think it’s a movie for kids, please throw your preconceived notions out the window and watch this beautiful movie. It revolves around a teacher who forces students to share their tiffins with him and threatens one because he is unable to bring one. Very moving, very well written and amazingly executed!
17. Being CyrusImage SourceOriginally named ‘Akoori’, this movie is about a young man who enter the lives of the dysfunctional Sethna family. It is a dark, intense, comic urbane film and a movie well ahead of its time. Very intelligently written and well-directed, this movie should be on your bucket list.
18. MaqboolImage SourceIt’s extremely difficult to adapt a play and convert it into a movie that tells the story in an Indian way. So hats-off to Vishal Bharadwaj for his brilliant adaptation! The casting is superb and so is the characterization. The script is fantastic and Macbeth couldn’t have reached the masses in a better way!
19. AligarhImage SourceIf you haven’t seen this movie, you probably have missed out so much. The story of a professor expelled from his university because of his sexual orientation and his struggles is heart-wrenching and honestly, making a movie on a controversial topic is brave. The movie might seem slow at times but I love it. The scene where Manoj Bajpai sings a song along with the radio is so touching and moving and wonderfully executed. A brilliant movie that should definitely be watched.
20. The NamesakeImage SourceBased on Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel and directed by Mira Nair, the movie will take you into its world and leave you speechless! It gives you a look into family ties, clashing value and culture and all of it is so beautifully written and directed. Kudos to you, Mira Nair!
21. Manorama: Six Feet UnderImage SourceThis movie is intriguing, complex and gives you a thrilling ride. It’s not a simple movie and it will weave the story into web and then untangle it slowly. Abhay Deol is obviously fantastic and will leave a deep impact on you. Gul Panag is amazing too! Watch it and see it for yourself!
22. DasvidaniyaImage SourceVinay Pathak is one of my favorite actors and no one can do the protagonist’s role better than him. This movie will leave you pleased, satisfied and wondering how you delayed watching it. The story about a man loves to make lists and makes a final one when he realizes he is about to die. The story is simple and the performances are brilliant.
23. ShahidImage SourceBased on the real-life story of controversial lawyer Shahid Azmi who was assassinated in 2010, this movie was very moving and had a deep impact. Rajkumar Rao is amazing and he’ll leave you stunned by his performance. It is honest and very responsibly made. Do watch it if you have a love for cinema!
24. LSDImage SourceThree stories told through a camera which is a part of the story is amazing! The cast is new but very convincing. The director has tried something new in the movie and has succeeded to an extent. Watch the movie for its experience.
25. Mr. and Mrs. IyerImage SourceNot really famous but a great movie that Indian cinema produced. The story about a devout Hindu woman who protects a Muslim man when communal riots break out. A very sensitive topic; the characters have been done justice and how couldn’t they have been done when played by Rahul Bose and Konkana Sen Sharma. Wonderful movie and should definitely be watched.
26. I Am KalamImage SourceSimple, sweet with perfect narration, it’s the story of a boy who calls himself Kalam with the hope of becoming like Abdul Kalam someday. It depicts the story of poor India and the struggles of uneducated masses. It’s a great watch!
27. IqbalImage SourceIqbal is one the movies that people watched and discussed. The story of a deaf and mute boy with a passion for cricket and his journey. Shreyas Talpade was so brilliant that he shocked us. The relationships are wonderfully portrayed the screenplay is very tight. If you haven’t watched this, please do!
28. Dev DImage SourceOne must think I am biased towards Anurag Kashyap but he owns the world of offbeat cinema. An unconventional interpretation and portrayal of Devdas, this movie is just superb. The music is fantastic and the performance will leave you reeling. So much talent in one movie, it overwhelms me.
29. Khosla Ka GhoslaImage SourceOffbeat and comedy. One of the very few comedy movies that’ll leave your stomach hurting. The story of a middle-class man from Delhi who tries to get back his land from a property dealer with the help of his family and friends. It should be watched if you are looking for a movie one can related to and laugh at!
30. Sulemaani KeedaImage SourceA hilarious movie on two struggling ‘bros’ who knock on every door in Mumbai to realize their dream of becoming writers. Very realistic and honestly, you will see your story somewhere in them. If you are a struggler in the city of dreams, you’ll be able to relate to it. And it’ll be strange and weird if you do not like i