Interview: 7 Questions With… Carl Knibbs
Today, we have another great conversation in our continuing series of one-on-one interviews with product management professionals.
What’s the single biggest mistake Product Managers make on the job? And what has working for the BBC taught him? Read on…
Carl, what attracted you to product management?
Product Management requires a mixture of creativity and drive to get things done well. It was clear to me when I started my career in ‘digital’ that product management would both challenge and reward me the most. So far, so good!
What inspires you in your day-to-day workflow?
I am most inspired by the never-ending churn of bright ideas on the internet.
And also by people. Having spent much of my career working at the BBC in particular — who have amazing people working on BBC.co.uk — you learn that digital attracts the brightest and most talented individuals who it is impossible not to be inspired by and to learn from.
What excites you about your current products?
These days I am motivated and inspired by my team (UXD engineer, me) and the prospect of simplifying how we manage our finances in the UK.
Together with a management team of ex-Motley Fool, MTV and BBC we’ve started lovemoney.com and our online banking service. The site has only been around since 2009 and I am hopeful we’ll soon be the number one money destination in the UK.
Reflecting on things you’ve seen or experienced over the years, what would you say is the single biggest mistake Product Managers make on the job–and how should they avoid it?
Without doubt, tunnel vision. Tunnel vision ruins a product’s competitive edge. I think this can avoided by constantly reviewing the competition and the product roadmap and taking a fresh approach whenever it is realistic to do so.
Do you see cultural or other differences in product leadership in the UK versus the US or other parts of the world?
I think that the US product leadership champions the product with higher priority and focus than we perhaps do in the UK. I think we could certainly learn from that.
How do you see product management evolving over the next 5 years?
I think that the concepts and traits of product management will continue to bleed over in to being the central focus of maintaining and developing digital products within organizations.
I predict less product managers, but more people employing product management practices.
I’m a big fan of British sci-fi shows (Primeval, Doctor Who, Being Human). What are you watching and enjoying these days?
Oh, I love Being Human — the irony is I left the BBC before shows like this started!
We (UK) are just getting the latest season of 24, which I am glued to. I, of- course, spent last summer watching all episodes of The Wire, which I loved.
Right now I just finished with the UK version of the Scandinavian drama Wallander, not sure that one will make it your way…
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