One of the most important things in recruiting a product manager, according to Marty Cagan, is product passion. Marty is something of an authority in the field, and authored a very well respected book in the field called Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love.
Marty defines product passion as someone who “just loves products:”
they live, eat, and breathe them.
I find this line of thought a bit disturbing, because from my experience, passion is an outcome, not a cause, of what we do. Certainly, we have our natural inclinations. Yet, what we become interested in and do is as much a function of our context as it is something internal. Recent research as popularized in books like the Outliers: The Story of Success would corroborate this. Further, one of my friends, who started selling something as an entrepreneur started feeling lukewarm about it. What he was selling, it was to make money; it was a “fun side project.” After a little while, as he learned more about the business, talked to the customers, he realized he loved it. He later wrote in his letter to his customers:
Since then I’ve developed a passion for [this business].
But, I digress. Point is, either way, you got to spend time doing products, care about products, learn about products. As Cagan wrote, live and breathe it. And one good way to do that is to pay attention to products, to tear them down, see what is good and bad, what could be better.
Of course, products exist in larger business context: business goals, revenue targets, competitors. Still, it is good to start with the product in isolation. Start with what matters most and build out from it. So, here is an example of a simple mobile app teardown for two travel itinerary apps.
Thank you so much for viewing, and please leave comments.
David at Crater Lake National Park