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Does Product Management Require Confidence? Sho’Nuff!

Yesterday: We recapped 1985 martial arts cult classic “Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon“, where Bruce Leroy searches for the mystical kung-fu power known as The Glow, and ends up dating Vanity.

Today: We’ll use that story recap as a springboard into this week’s topic: The importance of confidence in product management.

And I don’t mean just the outside world’s confidence in product management; I mean our own confidence, in ourselves, as Product Managers. Because some of this week’s conversations on Twitter made me question whether or not we really have The Glow.

The Ironic Thing With Bruce Leroy

–besides the fact that he’s an African American who’s so into Japanese culture that he eats popcorn with chopsticks — is that he already is “The Master” he’s been searching for; he just doesn’t know it.

Only when the chips are down, at the end of the film, does Leroy finally realize he’s already achieved The Final Level and manifest The Glow.

I Like Bill Campbell As Much As The Next Guy

But some of the reaction in the product management community to the Intuit chairman’s comments about hiring product management early in the lifecycle seemed kind of strange to me.

Maybe I’m Just Spoiled

Having worked for companies where product management is respected, if not always well understood, maybe I just take for granted now that modern technology companies understand that you need…

somebody who can really understand the dynamics of what goes on in a marketplace, apply technology to that marketplace, see how the technology can work, and continue to advise brilliant scientists so they can adapt their products to make sure customers are happy.

Bill Campbell

If a company did not believe in the things Campbell is talking about, why would you want to work there?

When You Got The Glow…

As Product Managers, we spend a lot of time discussing the strategic importance of product management and taking to task trolls who should (and probably do) know better.

But I wonder if, somewhere inside, we’re not unlike Leroy — unaware that we already possess the Glow. Or, worse, doubting we have it. Or doubting it even exists. So we pounce on comments like Campbell’s that reinforce our beliefs.

We’ve established that product management requires courage and action. It also requires confidence.

And not the fake kind of confidence I’ve seen in people who don’t know what they’re in for.

I mean, the kind of confidence that reassures your team and your organization that what we’re investing our time and resources into is worthwhile, based on the data we’ve uncovered and processed, and can be successful.

In the immortal words of Willie Hutch:

Now all the masters know that you need the glow,
You need the glow, the glow to grow.
If you love to live, you live to love,
Hah, you got to move to the upper level.
Cos when you got the glow, there ain’t no stopping,
What you want to do.

Believe it.

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Where Are They Now?

I promised yesterday to give you updates on the stars of Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon; here you go:

  • Taimak Guarriello (aka, Bruce Leroy) continues acting on TV and stage, and has developed a wellness program for young people. He is, of course, on Twitter.
  • Vanity (aka, Laura Charles) left Hollywood to focus on her faith. Her recent memoir is titled “Blame It On Vanity”.
  • Julius Carry III (aka, Sho’nuff) appeared in many genre television roles, such as the bounty hunter Lord Bowler in the The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., before his death on August 19, 2008.
  • Christopher Murney (aka, Eddie Arkadian) appeared on the October 22, 2008, episode of Independent Lens
  • Faith Prince (aka, Angela Viracco) is currently appearing on Broadway in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
  • DeBarge is no longer at large.
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