Building a great technology and product culture
Technology and Product will replace the drudgery of human life with celebration, joy and lesser manual work.
What you see today will be the history in the future, say in next 100 to 200 years. But this will lead to immense up-gradation of human life through technology and product. You learn from the history how human made an attempt to build a better future.
Technology and Product will replace the drudgery of human life with celebration, joy and lesser manual work. Great product works like a magnet, which automatically pull everyone to adopt this to lead a convenient life. Evolution of airplane over train and bus for the transportation in last 25-30 years is the great example of possibility of technology and how it brings leisure in human life.
Building a product to ease the human life is a huge opportunity and responsibility for the technology folk. Product management has given rise to a new spectrum for the rapid advancement, which involves science, art, culture, technology and understanding of mankind.
I do not see any sort of competition with any country and any company. It's simple, one who envision a better world through technology and adds value in mankind life will be part of the history.
Product leaders play a central role in envisioning technology products. Great product leaders spend days and night to live the life of the user till they can think, act, eat, sleep like the user of technology. They bring in the following attributes:
Curiosity, like a kid - They have insatiable desire to know everything about the universe of the users for the product they are building. They go extra mile to know everything, habits, likes/dislikes, life style and surroundings. They keep on asking questions which are insane for the others. But they do not care and keep on asking until they get an answer.
Imagination - Great product managers spend a lot of time visualising their products being used by user. He lives in that visual world before writing anything on the paper and guiding anyone to do anything. Its like magic, you imagine something in your mind and you are able to guide the people the way you want them to see the world. I remembers, one of my mentor was telling me, when a great product leader wears a green glass and he has an ability to show the world the world looks green.
Empathy - You can not have two faces at a same time. You can wear a mask for sometime and sooner or later you will show your real face. When you are thinking about mankind, you need to deeply empathise on the lifestyle of those men to visualise some product solution. When you are real and honest, even if you do not have data available to guide your decision making, you will do the best for your product.
Artist, attention to detail - Its science more than an art. You come up with your observational experiment and thinking, but you need to test it before formalising a product for the future. You iterate with your users and bring in ease of use to the product that succeed.
Technology biased - One who loves to have data in his breakfast and wait for the data to cook and come with valuable insights for the dinner. It's a believe, which turns a dream into a reality. Great leaders have strong bias with technology.
Think Big, like a CEO - You need to think big, big like 10X from what you have today. Linear thinking allows you to solve for today, but thinking 10X defines the future. Steve Jobs was one among the visionary, a great product leader, who was thinking for the future. When everyone around is busy in meeting daily needs and indulge in mundane tasks, responsibility is on the product and technology leader to think like a CEO and solve for the future before anyone could realise the what's going to happen in the future. Evolution of smart phone and internet has broken all the barrier of innovation and allow you to think 100X as well.
Nothing is perfect - Nothing is perfect and great product managers rigorously refine products.
They keep raising their bar on quality and deeply care about the users interest and time. Endeavour is to build products for the users to transform their lifestyle. You will learn and again iterate to come up with next version. You will never have perfect technology solution.
Technology forbids you to reach the state of satiation and perfection. You always demand and expect more, which leads rise to innovate and build new products.
(Rahul Kumar is Group Chief Product Officer with HT Media Group. Earlier, he has led various technology and product innovations across different industries, e-commerce, logistic and media to name a few.)