Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What my 5 year old teaches me about Product Management (and life)....

From my wordpress blog (written on June 12th, 2012):
A good friend who is an excellent architect with years of experience hit anomie (want to read my post on PMs and anomie go here) and  I actively encouraged him to investigate options beyond his comfort zone. He decided to give Product Management a go and I think he loves it with caveats...as I warned him and a number of my other friends -- Being a PM is an extremely rewarding job, yet you need patience and you need the will to last the grind ( something that over the years I seem to be losing)...at the end whatever career you choose, ask yourself the question : is this something both my head and my heart want me to do?
Life has been a good teacher in general but over the past 5 years so has my son. My son reminds me every day of the following things :
(A) Prioritize  : K2 is ruthless about what matters in his life - it is his playtime, his ipad time and then parents time... I have learnt from K2 whether it is a backlog plan or my meal plan at home, it is critical that I get to first things first...one of them is weekly meals for my family...I came up with a grandiose weekly plan, haven't yet gotten around to executing 100% to plan -- hey but it is prioritized.
(B) Communicate : whether it is a "small" question to letting us know he needs to use the bathroom, to he is hungry, sleepy or grumpy...K2 communicates...it is annoying at times but useful most times...I would rather he tell me he has a tummy ache to me second guessing it. Similarly whether it is to Development, Sales, Customers, peers or Management - I believe in appropriate data and information sharing. Every quarter after revenue was posted - I did an all-hands with the development team to walk them through revenues, wins-losses, roadmap snapshots and the next 3 month outlook ...I think these communications helped serve the purpose of Establishing Direction and there was no alienation from the product (remember Karl Marx).
(C) Simplify : Man tends to overcomplicate, overthink life...K2 breaks things down to the basics (classic Maslow) - "When you learn how to say yes to the things you want in your life and no to the things you don't want in your life – your life becomes simpler."
(D) Think Win-Win : As we grew up in India our life was very competitive -- we learnt to base our self-worth on comparisons and competition. We thought about succeeding in terms of someone else failing–i.e.,  if I win, you lose; or if you win, I lose. Life almost became a zero-sum game.-- however, with K2 I see that he is in a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions -- he wants to share, his attitude is "there is plenty for all"

This weekend - I conquered my fear of heights to help K2 conquer his...we watched Madagascar 3...strolled the farmer's market and splurged on the healthy (beans,brocolli, brinjal) and the not-so-healthy (pies and brownies)...we stared at the Golden Gate bridge in awe and explored Sausalito (for the first time)...ready for Monday and the rest of the week. As my Bapa always tells me - sometimes it just about changing the perspective and life falls into place....how has life been treating you?


  1. Enjoyed reading your post.Looking forward to seeing more.

  2. Thanks Paddy! BTW, Sri Devi is one of my favorite actresses too...and mostly the old movies with Kamalhasan were my favorites too