Each year, the members of the Awards Advisory Board choose one of the five product stages to represent. Using their extensive expertise in product, they then help decide the categories that we award within that stage. In this blog series, we’ll get to know our board members further by learning their background in the world of product, and why they love product management. Starting it off, let’s get to know the product leader driving the Conceive Stage.

Getting to know Nikki Ahmadi

Universal Electronics Product Director Nikki Ahmadi is no stranger to Products That Count. In fact, you may already be familiar with her through our Podcast, Product Talk. Her interviews with some of the top product leaders in the industry continue to drive forward the product conversation. If you haven’t already, listen to her latest piece with Verizon Board Director, Shellye Archambeau where they talk about how to take risks and lead with intention. Find it here on Itunes and Spotify.

With over a decade of experience working in product engineering and management for multimillion-dollar tech and start-up companies, Nikki was the obvious choice to guide the Conceive Stage. She believes that what truly drives innovation is a passion for improving everyday lives. In her own words:

“It’s not just a commitment to technological breakthroughs. It’s also people’s passion for improving everyday lives. Building products that leave a lasting impact, disrupt the industry and are vehicles of change. All while providing the best user experience.”

On choosing the Conceive Stage

“In my opinion, this is one of the most important, fun, and creative phases in building a product. At this stage, you’re dealing with a blank slate, and really, it’s all about ideation.”

“For a mature product, you have a few inputs to take into account: the state of the industry and market research, but most importantly, what your customers are telling you. Their needs and their demands. At this stage, you need to be highly analytical. Ultimately, you don’t want to end up in a situation where you’re chasing trends. That can be very difficult to do at times, especially if you’re close to the industry”

On what makes a great product

“A great product is simple to understand and truly leaves an impact. It may have very complicated technology behind it but ultimately it’s easy to use and creates value in everyday life. In a way, there’s a lot of art that goes into building a great product.”

“The success and failure of a company boil down to its product offerings, no matter whether it’s a service, hardware or software product. Thus, the role of the product folks cannot be emphasized enough.”

On what makes a great product manager

This is one of our favorite questions to ask product leaders. With careers that span the gamut from varying industries, backgrounds, and skills, the breadth of insight flowing through Products That Count is incalculable. Even though the Conceive Stage is the start of the product lifecycle, Nikki’s expertise spans them all, with a passion that is second to none.

“I believe that product folks are product owners. They really are the CEOs of the product that they own. With that, a good product person is someone who can dream and imagine what to build next and can also see a path to get there. Oftentimes, you have dreamers, but they don’t know how to get to the finish line. So it’s important to understand the steps and the stages you have to go through to build something. Above all, a good product person is a great listener.”

“Product managers are the visionaries. They are the thinkers and the doers. By ensuring value creation for the customers, they are one of the key figures in a company. Also, they are the ones that provide clarity in vision to the engineering and design teams. This enables them to deliver on an idea, a promise, and create change.”

“In essence, a great product person is a lifetime student who listens attentively, dreams big, and finds a way to achieve her or his dream.”

What are you most excited about with the 2021 Product Awards?

“The Awards show is an opportunity to truly decipher the product development world and identify or highlight the tools that can enable product folks out there to build great products.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Get those nominations in for the 2021 Product Awards, and we can’t wait to see you on the screen!


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