GetUpside CEO on The Business of Product Management (Part 2)
The most rewarding side of product management is being able to take on a new problem from scratch. Simply put – it’s equal parts fascinating, rewarding and entertaining. However, there are plenty of challenges that product managers face when trying to get a new idea off the ground. Clearly, there are many paths you can take to get things underway. The question is – where do you start to ensure long-term success?
In my experience, every successful product journey starts with data. That said, it’s important to consider data across multiple sources. Specifically, you can’t rely solely on quantitative data – which is a common pitfall for many product teams. In addition, you need to combine “the numbers” with qualitative data to get a full understanding of the opportunity.
However, data on its own isn’t enough to guide product management teams. Ultimately, you need very smart people to think critically about your data set. Specifically, you need to operate with a completely unbiased approach in evaluating data. There’s a tendency to look at any data with the “rosiest” view possible.
Simply put, you need to approach positive and negative input through the same lens.
For example, you need to look at the good news and bad news with the same intentions. It’s critical to approach any set of data from an objective point of view and focus on how to solve problems. No matter if it’s good news or bad news, you need to ask – “how can we make this better?”
This approach is especially important within product management teams at startups. During the forming phase for any new business, the foundation for success is addressing a series of problems. Along these lines, you need to have a group of product managers who are fascinated by solving problems.
Ultimately, product management at its best provides solutions that solve meaningful problems for people. Furthermore, the payoff that you’ll get is much bigger than a paycheck or payout from an IPO. Instead, the greatest joy comes from knowing that you’re making an impact on the world. In the end, the problems that product teams are seeking to solve should make meaningful change for as many people as possible.
About the speaker
Alex Kinnier is the Co-Founder and CEO of GetUpside - helping consumers save money effectively and driving new business to traditional retailers. Prior to starting GetUpside, Alex led the product team at Opower - which was acquired by Oracle in 2014. In addition, Alex also worked on product teams at Google and has invested in select venture capital firms. Alex holds an MBA from Harvard University and currently lives in Washington, D.C.