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While learning the ropes of Product Management, it is vital to understand the context. Essentially “Product Management is effective translation of customer context into delightful solutions”. A couple of weeks ago there was an article in the newspapers on Bangladesh banning the Japanese manga cartoon Doraemon from its TV screens. This move was based over fears that youngsters who are hooked on the Hindi-dubbed version are struggling to learn their native Bengali. The ban comes after several local dailies called for a ban on the cartoon, worried that Doraemon addicts were speaking Hindi to each other instead of Bengali. This must have been a big fall for Doremon. The context is that Doremon was created by manga artist Fujiko Fujio, and revolves around a robotic cat who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a pre-teen boy, Nobita. Tokyo’s foreign ministry appointed Doraemon as its first “anime ambassador” in 2008 in an effort to deepen foreign interest in Japanese culture.
The issue is product management, remember, i am looking at the spectrum of strategy and execution, so what went wrong for Doremon? The strategy that quite a few companies have been following is to strategize the simple equation of. while this might work a few times, it is not rare to see spectacular crashes, an other Doremon maybe.
The other bit of news that caught my eye was about the Rain Room in The Curve gallery at the Barbican Centre in London. Now this is a 100 square metre field of falling water which visitors are invited to walk into. Sensors detect where visitors are standing, and the rain stops around them, giving them an experience of how it might feel to control the rain. On entering The Curve the visitor hears the sound of water and feels moisture in the air before discovering the thousands of falling droplets that respond to their presence and movement. A wonderful experience i am sure. I am almost certain that people will love to see first hand this splendid experience, of being in control of the rain.
The correlation?- power to execute a need. Now in the context of Product Management the rain room will only work if the execution is extremely good. So do you need a Manager or a Leader, the answer is – a Product Leader. A manager will be able to execute what is possible and practical. A leader will lead the team to achieve the impossible, willingly!