If you’re a product manager, you know that our jobs are hectic. But if we do it right, it is also very rewarding.
Nevertheless, we all need a little inspiration from time to time to stay motivated and dedicated to our jobs and our users.
That is why I recently compiled some of the best product management quotes that help me stay motivated, excited, and happy about my job.
All of these quotes hold a very special place in my heart and have stuck with me for a long time. Not because some of the biggest industry experts have said them, but because they capture the essence of what we should do as product managers.
Here they are. I hope they inspire you as much as they inspired me.
Unhappy customers help in learning
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – @BillGates
We can learn a lot about our user needs and pains by talking to the unhappy ones. If they’re unhappy, there are things or aspects they don’t like about the product. And if we’re able to identify these aspects and we fix them, we will be able to create a lot of impact.
Vision and tactics
“Be stubborn on vision but flexible on details.” – @JeffBezos
At any given time, we should have a clear long term vision and objectives. We should not change or iterate that vision without a very strong reason. However, we should be ok if the plan to get to the vision needs changes and iterations.
Focus is about saying no
“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
As product managers, we need to say NO more than we say yes to ensure we focus only on the highest impact ideas.
Seeking negative feedback
“You want to be extra rigorous about making the best possible thing you can. Find everything wrong with it and fix it. Seek negative feedback, particularly from friends.” - @elonmusk
Most of the time, when we have new ideas, we try to align stakeholders on that idea. Or we seek feedback that validates our thoughts and ideas. Rarely do we ever seek negative feedback or flaws in our ideas. And doing that is what truly unlocks great ideas.
Launching too late
“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” – @reidhoffman
This quote reminds me to focus on speed of launching. And speed does not mean you launch shit, but you launch quick so you can learn quick and then scale to build the final product
Simplificaation is tough
“Any damn fool can make something complex, it takes a genius to make something simple.” - Albert Einstein
We solve very complex problems. It is our job to be able to understand these problems and to break them down into simpler, more manageable chunks of work. While it may sound easy, it is not. Translating a vague problem statement into an actionable roadmap is tough, but it needs to be done.
Liking this post? Get the next one in your inbox!
"If you don’t invest in the future and don’t plan for the future, there won’t be one." – George Buckley
I feel it is extremely important for us to always be thinking about the future. Instead of getting too caught up in creating solutions to the user’s problems of today, we should anticipate their problems of the future, and solve for them.
What not to do
"The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do." – Michael Porterer
What you do is as important as what you choose not to do. It is important to be ruthless when it comes to choosing what to do (and what not to do). That is the only way that ensures we are focusing on the best ideas at all times.
"The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." – Stephen Covey
Proactively create and align your work with the overall product vision and strategic goals. Do not change course based on daily issues or external demands.
Importance of getting used
"The value is in what gets used, not in what gets built." – Kris Gale, @Yammer
Unless users use the product, it is useless. Even if it is the most elegant, well thought out, and the best in the market. Focus on building for users.
“Move away from output to outcomes” - @leahickman, Silicon Valley Product Group
Outputs might make you happy. But outcomes will make the users happy. That, in turn, will make your bosses happy. Focus on outcomes, not outputs.
The right problem
"No matter how good the team… if we’re not solving the right problem, the project fails." – William W. Williams
I’ve spent years focusing on the solution so much that I never stopped to validate if I’m solving the right problem. In today’s world, creating a solution is the easy part. Finding the right problem is the hard, but the essential part.
"Data beats opinions." - Unknown
Use data to align and convince your stakeholders. It is easy to argue about opinions, but hard to do it with data.
"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said." - Peter Drucker
Communication is the number one most important skill required to succeed as a product manager. And while we think communication is all about sending messages, we need to understand it is more about hearing (even the things that are not said) and observing.
“If you ask why enough times, eventually you'll work it out and get to the root cause.” - @destraynor
In other words, always find the “why” of the “what” you’re working on. Without that, creating impact is close to impossible.
Read the original Twitter thread here 👇
For more threads on product management, follow me @JustAnotherPM