29 November, 2012

Steve Jobs - the world's greatest ever product manager

Last month's excellent Cambridge Product Management Network's excellent session debated Steve Jobs - the world's best product manager.

Clearly, I was biased as I wrote this article a year ago:
Steve Jobs - the world's greatest Product Manager and Product Marketer, shortly after SJ died.

Rob Davies proposed the motion and did an excellent job of rating Steve Jobs performance on the essential skills that a Product Manager should display.  Apple financial returns were massive - which ultimately is the only empirical measure that matters if you're developing products - see my blog post 'Apple - the most valuable company in the world'.

Elizabeth Ayer puts forward a very persuasive counter argument. She agreed that Apple's products were superb. Her key persuasive argument was that Steve Job was notorious dictator / autocrat and perfectionist. For those that have read his biography (I haven't), it is apparent that he was very difficult to work with - you definitely worked FOR him.

For this reason, I eventually disagreed with the proposition, when it came to the vote. 

SJ  created great products, but that doesn't mean he is a product manager - he didn't work in the classical definition of a product manager. Therefore he is an exception on many axes, but a classical product manager fundamentally works through others - something that Steve just didn't do.

Great debate - and definitely made me think. Thank you!

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