What’s Your Product Management Theme Song?

I’ve been interviewing PMs for various positions within my company for the last several months and there’s a question that I think has produced some pretty intriguing answers.


Image source: C&C Concept and Creation

And the question is:

What song best sums up your thoughts about product management and being a product manager?

The question sounds silly, like one of those Facebook personality quizzes. But, I think, in an interview process, it’s pretty revealing.

Is the choice funny? Thoughtful? Empty? Overwrought?

My answer comes from Target, circa winter 2006.

I was walking through the electronics department, and every TV in the place was playing a Target commercial overlaid with this amazing song I’d never heard before. I went home and did some research on my computer (because, of course, this is the pre-Shazam era) and discovered the song was “Shape Of Things To Come” by Max Frost and the Troopers (1968).

I became obsessed with this song. In part because it sums up a lot of my feelings about being a product manager.

Here are the lyrics…

There’s a new sun
Rising up angry in the sky
And there’s a new voice
Saying, “We’re not afraid to die”
Let the old world make believe
It’s blind and deaf and dumb
But nothing can change the shape of things to come

There are changes
Lying ahead in every road
And there are new thoughts
Ready and waiting to explode
When tomorrow is today
The bells may toll for some
But nothing can change the shape of things to come

The future’s coming in now
Sweet and strong
Ain’t no one who can hold it back for long

There are new dreams
Crowding out old realities
There’s revolution
Sweeping in like a fresh new breeze
Let the old world make believe
It’s blind and deaf and dumb
But nothing can change the shape of things (4x)
To come!

This song has everything

Setting aside the origins of the song — the lyrics tell a business story we’d all be wise to remember.

The world is always changing, and its our job to stay plugged into that. Goliaths rise and fall, and if we want to stay relevant we need to face the facts, and meet the ever-changing needs of the marketplace.

It’s hopeful, angry, clever, dangerous. You know, like most good PMs.

So, how about you — what song sums up your feelings about product management?

Bonus Content

Listen to “Shape Of Things To Come” on YouTube:

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Christopher Cummings

Blogs about product management. Loves Jesus, his family, comic books, video games, and giant robots. Occasionally crawls through mud and leaps over fire.

7 thoughts on “What’s Your Product Management Theme Song?

  1. I’d say “Man In A Box” by Alice In Chains. Often feel like I need to deny my maker to get things done!

  2. Wow, Maurico, that’s pretty dark! Does this mean you’re the mysterious man, wearing a black hooded cloak, roaming around the office? 😉

  3. I’m not currently in product management per se, but when I was (and even in my new role), I’d say my theme was from The A-Team: When you have a problem, if no one else can help, maybe you can hire the A-Team.

  4. On our last project it was Tom Petty – Won’t back down. We had a lot of challenges and one day after a bad night, I brought this in, loaded it up in to our application’s music source and anyone using the application would hear it. “You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won’t back down.” No matter the challenge, never give up.

  5. Hi Greg – That’s pretty great. The iron will, the steely determination — perfectly captured in that song. And it sounds like it worked, too. Congrats!

  6. I have a bit of a thing for Queen’s “We will rock you”. It reminds of the chant that I would like to hear outside the office of customers cheering our name! (in a good way).

  7. A colleague from China sent me this: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNzQwOTg4NTA4.html The name of the song is “Product Manager is a Dog”. It summarizes my feelings, at the very least.

    My colleague’s translation:

    ?????? ?????? I get to sleep later than a cat and get up earlier than the rooster

    ?????? ?????? weapon is just my brain and energy
    ???PRD ?????? PRD is on my left hand and product draft is on my right hand
    ??????? ?????? what you want? I am struggling all day long

    ??????? emails push me push me push me
    ??????? product development is tired tired tired
    ??????? you guys are always right right right
    ????? ???? I am the product dog, I want to say it out

    ??????? product manager is a dog
    oh? ? ? GO GO GO oh dog dog dog, go go go
    ???????? ?????? ?OH NO??only ONE PIECE (a Japanese carton) is left in your life, pretties girls are just in your dreams
    ??????? product manager is a dog
    oh? ? ? GO GO GO oh dog dog dog, go go go
    ??????? ????? ?? loser please don’t cry and fapping until you satisfied

    ???????????????? if my product make you happy please pat my head
    ?????????? ?????? if my product make you happy let’s clap our hands

    ?????? ?????? he want me to add a link and you want me to add a button
    70???? 90???? requirements form 70’s people but still not enough for 90’s
    ?????? ?????? cannot make everybody happy with it, I almost lost my mind
    ??????? ?????? don’t want to give your more examples, don’t make me roar.

    ??????? boss said I am too stupid
    ??????? document always need more revises
    ??????? customer service people always yell at me
    ????????? I am product manager and I am done

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