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What Product Managers Can Learn From Dr. Seuss and Anthony Bourdain

Insistence on the highest standards for their products!

Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss was known for his hardball habits with his publishers:

‘Many authors who have turned in a manuscript and learned that it has been accepted are happy to leave the technicalities of its transformation into a book up to their publishers. Not Geisel. Invading the production department, he will dump three or four moldy bits of crayon, or some scraps torn from matchbooks … say that they are precisely the shades of color he wants used in this or that illustration. ‘— The New Yorker.

Giesel, or Dr. Seuss, used to be so thorough with his works, that he would complain if he perceived one color to be a tiny bit off, even in the thirteenth or fourteenth printing of one of his works.

‘After more than a hundred thousand copies of “The Cat in the Hat Comes Back” had been sold, he decided that a single black line on the original jacket was too black, and a new jacket was made up. ‘ — The New Yorker.

One of his neighbours in La Jolla once told him:

“Be tough. Keep your standards up. It’s your product, and don’t you let anybody talk you into letting it slip.”

Anthony Bourdain

This TV personality of much–applauded TV shows such as ‘Parts Unknown’, ‘No Reservations’ and many others had a knack of obsessing over his work.

From the moment Bourdain conceives of an episode, he obsesses over the soundtrack, and for the sequence with Obama he wanted to include the James Brown song “The Boss.” When the producers cannot afford to license a song, they often commission music that evokes the original. For a “Big Lebowski” homage in a Tehran episode, they arranged the recording of a facsimile, in Farsi, of Dylan’s “The Man in Me.” But Bourdain wanted the original James Brown track, no matter how much it cost. — The New Yorker.

With his biting humour, easygoing but unwavering humble attitude, Bourdain was known to have his way with his work.

“I don’t know who’s paying for it,” he said. “But somebody’s fucking paying for it.” — Anthony Bourdain

Lessons for Product Management

“From a genius you tolerate a little bit more.”



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