Perspectives

This Week in Product – Sep. 14, 2018

EE/CS/MBA/PM?

The most popular debates we’ve had on ProductCraft have been about two questions: whether PMs need a technical background, and whether they need an MBA. This article combines the two: do MBAs need a technical background? This piece from the Columbia Business School highlights the importance of honing skills that were traditionally beyond the pail. “We’re not trying to graduate best-in-class coders,” says Andrew Lee, the CBS’ chief innovation officer.  “It’s about graduating business leaders with an understanding and appreciation of technology given that it is central to every company today.” Some dedicated product management programs are doing the same.

What Plans?

Can you imagine? a five-year roadmap? PMs must have had all the time in the world!

What’s in a Name?


Naming products is fun! You get to spend some time thinking about what problem your product is trying to solve, but also how it’s meant to make people feel. Except if you’re Apple, and then you can find a name that means nothing and is really hard to say. Two xs in a row, really? The Apple event earlier this week fodder for great product snark, but I think this tweet from the VP of product at Eventbrite was probably my favorite.

Translate: PM

I love reading product job descriptions the same way I enjoy reading recipes — just imagining them puts me in a good mood. Product jobs often describe people that — if they in fact exist — are a kind of unicorn. This job at Intapp, may fit this bill. To me, the highlight here is the emphasis on the “ability to explain software to non-technical users.” I often think of product managers as translators, not just of technical to non-technical, but also of stories to features, needs to expectations, and lots of information into concrete tasks.

A Moment of Silence

So long, Inbox, it’s been real. I’ll remember you every time I see the boomerang feature in Gmail.

About the Author

Hillá Meller is the editor-in-chief of ProductCraft. Previously, she was a content specialist at Insert, a mobile engagement platform, and a digital insights analyst at SimilarWeb. A graduate of Yale and Georgetown, Hillá is a life-long nerd.