Love in The Era of ‘Product Management’

For Product Lovers everywhere.

As a freshly minted B-school student, I was bombarded with suave words all around me. ‘ROI, ‘optimization’, ‘prioritization’, ‘strategy’, ‘low-hanging fruits’ — in this volley of language, one word I missed a lot was ‘Love’. Growing up, love was a big part of our everyday. Mom and I baked because we loved the smell of fresh batter cooking in the oven, because we loved laughing together, because we loved the bliss on everyone’s face when they bit into our weekly creations. I painted a lot because it made me convey my love for life without using words. We traveled through India as a family because we loved getting to an unknown place, together — brave adventurers who are sharing a personal discovery of self and the world around us.

But that faded a bit as I grew up, and got out to the corporate world. And at B-school, in the midst of all the bustle, I realised that I miss that word. I wanted to bring ‘love’ back into my life. What do I love to do. What makes me feel loved. What am I passionate about. What is it that will make me wake up every morning, glad to be doing what I am doing, being where I am living, be meeting whom I am sharing my life or work with.

Around the time I started on this quest for love, I also started freelancing with a few startups in the Indian digital and e-commerce space. I saw first hand the experiences consumers have with a product, their “a-ha” moments and their “aw, snap!’” ones. I got to understand the beauty of data and the miracles of intuition. I found euphoria in creating products that make someone, everyone, anyone, happy.

And I found my love.

So these past few years, I have been listening, learning and un-learning, working with brilliant — sometimes 2-people — teams to create and launch mobile and web products that users love to use and we loved creating. From m-commerce to content, from fashion-tech to consumer-to-consumer transactions, from community to brands — without love of the users for the product, love of the engineers for the code, and love of the company for their customers, there is no miracle, no hook-line-sinker, no sharing, no growth, no magic.

And that’s what we need. We need to extend the beauty of creating poetry and paintings to softwares and algorithms. We need to help customers and engineers and companies alike, find love.

We need to evolve from Product Managers to Product Lovers.