This week on Product Love, I sat down with Anneliese Olson, General Manager & Global Head of Printing Category at HP.

Anneliese started her career as a market research analyst, and she conducted numerous product marketing and management projects in 25 countries. After doing different roles at HP, she naturally gravitated back to product management. In this episode, we talked extensively about her experience abroad (which you can listen to above), and her journey in product.

Getting involved with product

Anneliese shares that the natural order of being a great product manager at HP back then, meant coming from an engineering background. Or at a minimum, you would need an MBA. She didn’t need either of those.

Instead, the biggest springboard for her was her ability to look at the business through an external lens. Her experience in doing research in so many countries such as India, China, and Singapore allowed her to deepen her customer insights and create a point of view based on that. She contributed her research to teams then but slowly stepped into the product management side where she began to craft solutions and partnerships.

More than becoming technical, or getting a degree, her breakthrough came from understanding customers at a deeper level. While universities are creating formalized product management programs, and product boot camps are rising in popularity, Anneliese reminds us that the best way to becoming a great product manager is still staying close to the customer.

What she’s solving now

The world has shifted from products and ownership to a pay-per-use model. Business models have changed significantly over the last decade, and that only means HP has to naturally change, too. Anneliese shares that it’s a matter of asking important questions like, how do people want to consume technology? What does that look like? What do people want to pay to use?

COVID has accelerated these questions. Right now, her focus is guiding her customers through making that journey. As people are having to figure out how to go to digital faster or adapt to their hybrid work environment, Anneliese is focusing on how to deliver more digital solutions.

Want to learn about her experience of breaking into those markets? Check out the episode above.

About the Author

Eric Boduch is the chief evangelist for Pendo. Previously, he served as the CEO of Brainstorm SMS Technologies LLC (dba SMaSh, Inc.) and was the co-founder and CEO of several other companies. Eric holds a Bachelor of Science from The School of Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Electrical and Computer Engineering and is a graduate of its Executive Management Program.