The first few months of the year have always been known as Awards Season and here at Products That Count it’s no different. This year’s Product Awards are happening on March 2-4, 2021 and with the year we just weathered, we plan to celebrate in a big way. If you haven’t yet, make sure you get registered to catch the best products of the year all in one place.

This week in a special episode of Product Talk, we invited our CPO, James Gray, and our very own Founder, SC Moatti, to hop on the mic and talk about everything Product Awards. Listen to the full episode above, on iTunes or Spotify, and breeze through the highlights below.

On the inspiration for the Product Awards

While any reason to celebrate is welcome in these times, the Age of Product has given product managers even more of them. Every year, product teams go to market with amazing tools that allow product managers to innovate and accelerate across all fronts. SC shares with listeners the inspiration behind the Product Awards:

“About a year after Products That Count was founded, I started hearing about all these amazing tools that PMs were using. Tools like Amplitude, Mixpanel, and Optimizely. These brilliant entrepreneurs were creating services that really were changing the lives of PMS. It got me thinking; we need to celebrate the ways that PMs are going to become so much smarter with these tools, and how we can go about it. That was sort of the genesis of the awards”

On product superpowers and the Awards Advisory Board

Each year as we begin to plan for the upcoming year ‘s awards, we dive into the superpowers available to product managers in the product lifecycle. As we get closer to event, we welcome independent product leaders  to Awards Advisory Board to help guide the nomination process for each stage.

“We start off in Q3 and form an Awards Advisory Board. We pick five amazing product leaders from different geographies and different verticals and we give them a stage of the product life cycle to focus on. 

“Those stages are Conceive, Build, Design, Operate, and Collaborate. Then, we ask them to choose the superpowers, maybe three or four per stage, that every great product manager needs to execute as an excellent product manager within that stage. Of course, the stages evolve each year based on the product leaders’ experiences and the speed of product innovation.”

“The first year, people were looking at these tools a bit confused. In more recent years, though, the response is an excitement to learn about things that they didn’t know about, and that are going to help product managers do their jobs more effectively. Now, we’re seeing people coming to the awards not only to learn about new tools, but because they realize that it’s actually critical for them to be better at their jobs.”

On being a market leader

While the base idea is to celebrate the product community as a whole, events like the Product Awards are crucial in gaining awareness of the state of the market. Of course, knowing what is occurring in the space you play in is imperative to owning it. James states:

‘For any company, it’s a really important strategic lens to think about their category and how they go about defining the problem they are uniquely in a position to solve. and really kind of define what that is in shape.”

SC dives in and elaborates further on what it takes to truly be a market leader.

“We applied that thinking to our own organization, and what it means for Products That Count to be a market leader. It’s no small undertaking, right? First of all, there’s very little research on what’s the great market leader, because it’s way more than just building a product. It’s a product, but it’s also defining the category we play in. So, you have to first know what that category is, how it’s needed, and how it solves a problem.

“Then, it’s about company building, because if you don’t have your entire team behind that new category, then you’re bound to fail. When we started defining our brand new category internally, half the team was under the impression we were doing something similar to others. So, we needed to change that mindset. That culture shift was absolutely critical to us building a market-leading product in a brand new category.”

About the speaker
SC Moatti Mighty Capital, Managing Partner Editor

SC Moatti is a technology visionary, entrepreneur and investor. She is the founding partner of Mighty Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and Products That Count, one of the largest communities of product managers, leaders and founders in the world. Previously, she built products that billions of people use at Facebook, Nokia and Electronic Arts. She also serves on boards of both public and private companies, including mobile technology giant Opera Software (OPERA:Oslo). An award-winning bestselling author, Moatti frequently gives keynotes on business and technology, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, and on NPR. She lectures at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she earned her MBA and has a Master of Science in electrical engineering. Andrew Chen, one of Uber's top executives, called SC “a genius at making mobile products people love.” For more information, visit scmoatti.com.