Product Management :: Product Marketing

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!

13 November, 2012

GSM Phones - 20 years old

El Reg has written a great article charting the history of GSM digital mobile phones.

On 9 November 1992, Nokia launched the world's first commercially available GSM digital mobile phone (with text messaging on a two line display!).

This awesome event was preceded by GSM technology being harmonised European mobile networks in 1991.

The Register's article takes us on a tour of European mobile phone technology. (Photo credits to The Register.) Below are some iconic phone of this period:
Motorola StarTAC from 1996

Motorola Timeport (1999), Nokia 3310 (2000), Ericsson T36 (2000) and Nokia 6310i (2002)

NEC e606 (2003), Motorola Razr (2004) and Nokia N95 (2006)

From the same article:
Nevertheless, according to recent research from YouGov carried out for Carphone Warehouse, a third of those over the age of 45 still use their first mobile phone, which highlights just how quickly the market has developed. And perhaps how well-built the handsets of yesteryear, like the Nokia 1011, were.
I concur: my parents still use a pair of Nokia 3310 - and although I have had to replace them (replacing them is cheaper than flashing the ROM which was in the problem on two occasions), I admire the usability of the interface and the user experience.