A while back I wrote about the first phase of my career. When I made the move from software engineer to product manager and “never looked back”. I’m writing to come clean and admit that I have frequently considered moving back to engineering, for many of the reasons I outline here, and one more reason that is the subject of this story.
PM seems like the ideal job for those of us who are technically strong but care more about the why and the what than the how and the details. …
As with all innovation or change-making, it’s important to deeply understand not just the problem itself, but the conditions that created the problem. And just as with all the big problems we have as a society today, this one is fast becoming an us versus them.
“Us” is the general public, innocently using these products that seem on the surface to be engaging and helpful only to find they get more and more depressed, addicted, and distracted by using them. “Them” is the big tech companies engaging intentionally in “surveillance capitalism” and the “attention economy”.
The media jumps in and paints the worst possible picture of what the “big tech” companies are doing and attaches greed as the underlying factor, making it harder and harder for technologists to engage in good faith in a conversation on how to fix it. …
Everything I do is centered around a continued investigation into why I’m here. How I can find more meaning and fulfillment? How can I live the best life possible?
Recently, I’ve begun to question whether I’m really a product manager. This is freaking me out FYI. It’s been my identity for 15 years and my story has been, up until recently, that I was “born” one.
Spoiler alert: I don’t think the best solution to a problem always involves technology.
And it certainly doesn’t always involve the technology I happen to be working on.
You commonly hear that product managers work at the intersection of business, design, and engineering. I have a different perspective: product managers work at the intersection of desired outcomes (innovation) and technology. Technology is an accepted constraint to the solution set. And an even more restrictive constraint is that it should involve your company’s technology. …