Words of Wisdom for Product Managers: Quotes Edition
Product Management Proverbs: Quotes for Success
The Wisdom of product leaders and successful entrepreneurs can often provide valuable insight and guidance. That's why, in this article, I’ve compiled a collection of my favorite proverbs and quotes from some of the greatest minds of product leaders and entrepreneurs.
These words of wisdom offer a glimpse into the strategies, mindset, and principles that have helped drive success in the industry. Whether you're a seasoned product manager or just starting out, these quotes are sure to inspire and motivate you on your journey to success.
Hi 👋, Rommel here! Welcome to this week's newsletter. Each week I share some tips and knowledge about mobile product management. January’s already done, In case you miss it take a look at all my post for the month of January:
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I listed 15 of my favorite quotes below. I compiled this list so that together we can have a document to look at to keep us inspired. Being a PM is challenging but with the right mindset and attitude, one can overcome obstacles and lead successful product development initiatives. Take a look at the list below:
“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”
— Michael Porter, University Professor at Harvard Business School
Product managers must constantly balance the demands of stakeholders, market trends, and internal resources to create effective product strategies. Choosing what not to do means focusing on what is truly important, what differentiates the product, and what drives business value.
“Be stubborn on vision but flexible on details.”
— Jeff Bezos, Founder, and CEO of Amazon
By being firmly committed to the overall direction and purpose of the product, product managers can maintain focus and ensure that all decisions align with the bigger picture. Striking this balance between vision and adaptability is crucial for product success and requires the ability to think critically, make informed decisions, and continuously evaluate and adjust the product strategy.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”
— Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft
This highlights the importance of paying attention to negative feedback, especially when it comes from unhappy customers. Viewing negative feedback as a valuable resource, rather than criticism, is a key mindset for a successful PM.
“The only way to win is to learn faster than everyone else”
— Eric Reis, Author of The Lean Startup
This quote is the core principle of the Lean Startup, to minimize waste and risk by continuously testing and refining the product in response to feedback from customers. This approach is centered around the idea of "validated learning," which means using experiments and data to validate or invalidate assumptions about the product, market, and customer needs.
“Building a great product is a creative, chaotic process that you won’t get right every time, so you have to also be learning from success and failure.”
— Gibson Biddle, Former VP of Product at Netflix
The process of creating a great product is complex and filled with both successes and failures. By continuously seeking out new insights, experimenting with new approaches, and adapting to changing market conditions, product managers can drive innovation and ultimately, create a better product.
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas.”
— Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple
Having a clear focus is crucial for delivering a successful product. This highlights the importance of making informed decisions and prioritizing effectively. The ability to focus and make informed choices is a key attribute of a successful PM and helps drive the success of the product and business.
“Always have empathy for your customers.”
— Jesse Owens II, Product Director of Digital Payments at Mastercard
By having empathy for your customers, you can better understand their pain points and create solutions that address them. This results in a more successful product and satisfied customers, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth. In short, empathy is a key ingredient for creating successful products and building strong relationships with your customers.
“A great product manager has the brain of an engineer, the heart of a designer, and the speech of a diplomat”
— Deep Nishar, VP of Product at LinkedIn
By combining these three traits, a product manager can successfully lead a cross-functional team to deliver a high-quality product that meets the needs of both the business and its users.
“Any damn fool can make something complex, it takes a genius to make something simple.”
— Peter Seeger, Product Director at Docusign
It is tempting to add features and functionality to make a product more impressive or marketable. However, this can often result in a product that is overwhelming or confusing for users. Making something simple may not always be the easiest option, but it takes a true genius to understand that it is often the most effective.
“No matter how beautiful the visual design is if it fails to help our users achieve their goals, it’s bad design.”
— Crystal C. Yan, Product at Remitly
A beautiful visual design is only effective if it serves a purpose and enhances the user experience. PMs must prioritize functionality and usability, ensuring that the product design supports the user's journey and meets their needs. Good design is not just about aesthetics, it is about creating a product that is both effective and enjoyable to use.
“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
— Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of LinkedIn
PMs and Founders often strive for perfection and can be hesitant to launch until every feature is in place and every detail is perfect. However, this approach can delay the launch and prevent early feedback from users, which is crucial for improving the product. By launching quickly, even with a basic or "embarrassing" version, product managers can get the product into the hands of users, gather feedback, and make iterative improvements.
Launching too late can result in missed opportunities and lost ground to competitors. Don't be afraid to embrace the MVP mentality and launch early to gather valuable user feedback.
“The utmost thing is the user experience, to have the most useful experience.”
— Marissa Mayer, Former CEO of Yahoo!
A product with a good user experience sets it apart from others and leads to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and positive word of mouth. PMs must keep the user experience at the forefront of their decisions and continually evaluate and refine it to ensure it remains relevant and valuable.
“Testing with one user early in the project is better than testing with 50 near the end.”
— Steve Krug, Author of Don’t Make Me Think
Testing early and often helps PMs make informed decisions, and results in a better overall user experience. Incorporating user feedback and testing throughout the development process leads to a more successful product launch and satisfied customers.
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
— Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple
PMs should understand that design goes beyond just aesthetics, it encompasses the functionality and usability of the product as well. A product's design influences the user experience and determines its overall usefulness.
“Don’t measure success by outputs. Measure it by outcomes.”
This is a powerful quote that highlights the importance of considering the impact of a product, rather than just its production. As a PM, it's crucial to understand that outputs, such as the number of products shipped or features released, are only indicators of progress. The true measure of success should be the outcome, or the impact the product has on the customers and the business.
To be an effective PM, it's essential to shift the focus from outputs to outcomes, and measure success based on the impact of the product.
The quotes that I compiled in this article offer a wealth of inspiration and guidance for any aspiring founders or anyone in the product management field. By embracing the wisdom of successful leaders and incorporating it into our own practices, we can develop a stronger mindset and approach to our work. Whether you're facing a difficult decision, seeking to improve your skills, or simply looking for a motivational boost, these quotes are a valuable resource that you can turn to time and time again.
What do you think? Did you like some of the quotes I listed above? Do you have your own favorite quote? If you do share it! I’m interested in your thoughts about this article.
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Until next week, Thank you for reading, and have a great week!