Most high technology Product Management revolves around one of three models: Software, Product, or Services. As a Product Manager, I believe it is essential to have experience managing all three. I have personally managed several services, and am currently managing a growing portfolio of products. Software has been a component of both but never a piece sold stand alone (it will likely be my next startup, allowing my personal completion of the trio).
The high tech trio blends together more than you think – software, products and services’ lines are blurring in the new internet world. For example:
- Is iTunes software or a service? Easy, it is both. You download and run it on your PC, but its real value comes from the service component of purchasing music online and the delivery of music to your desktop or iPod.
- Is NetFlix a service or a product? The service is delivering you a product. However without the specific inventory and processes they have built, NetFlix is another FedEx.
- Is YouTube software or service? Again, both.
PM’s must recognize that no matter what is at the core of their effort, there is probably at least one other member of the trio at work.