Defining Greatness As A Product Manager
Every product manager has an opinion on what makes a great product. To me, it starts with your brand being instantly recognizable. In other words, you can see the brand oozing out of the product – combined with a sense of heart and desire. For example, when you look at Nike or Adidas, every single product “looks the part” and makes a very strong connection with its customers.
Along these lines, great products are grounded in a strong mission. Getting back to diversity and inclusion, your workplace culture and overall goals have a direct impact on your product focus. As a result, people feel good about using the product – and as a product manager, you feel good about what you’re building.
Most importantly, great products are those that go from something new and exciting to an essential commodity. In other words, they turn into solutions that make you say “I can’t live without using this.” For example, Google Maps has become an essential tool that I use multiple times every day. Now that I live in Southern California, I have to stay on top of traffic and find the best route to get from point to point. Furthermore, it makes an impact when I’m on foot as well!
When it comes to being a great product manager, you have to start with building your own vision. In other words, you need to figure out what is most valuable to customers in order to build meaningful solutions. Furthermore, you need to be a great storyteller. This not only helps in selling your product, but also inspires others to join your team.
Finally, you have to build strong relationships with peers. As a product manager, you’re going to face challenges along the way. With this, having people in your corner will help you come through in the end. Most importantly, these relationships continue to make the grind more enjoyable and satisfying.
About the speaker
Paige Conrad is the Director of Product Management at Acorns - a rapidly-growing startup that is empowering more people to become personal wealth managers through micro-investing. Prior to joining Acorns, Paige worked at Twitter for over 4 years - starting out as a project manager before transitioning to a product management role shortly after the company's IPO in 2014. Paige is a graduate of UC Berkeley and currently lives in Southern California.