Scott Forstall and Steven Sinofsky – two great product visionaries fired in a span of 2 weeks!

To me, personally, the last two-three weeks have been the most tumultuous and it has really nothing to do with me but the product behemoths – Apple and Microsoft – and their grossly incorrect decisions!

Here’s what happened.

About two weeks ago, Scott Forstall (iOS Chief) was fired from Apple by CEO, Tim Cook for apparently not signing on an Apple Maps apology letter to consumers.

About two days ago, Steven Sinofsky (Windows 7 and Windows 8 and Surface Chief) was fired from Microsoft by CEO, Steve Ballmer for apparently not collaborating enough with other teams.

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Lessons from Apple – What will it take to be a great product manager from India?

For starters, it requires a different way of thinking. It requires setting yourself apart. It requires strategic thinking, it requires us to trust gut instinct on what will work and what will not – when validation by facts is impossible, it requires excellent communication and presentation skills. It requires excellent analytical and logical reasoning skills, it requires great lateral thinking skills. It requires a great understanding of technology. It requires great management skills. It requires ‘influence without authority’ skills. It requires high levels of integrity and ethics, values. It requires directness/frankness, approachability. It requires business skills as a lot of it deals with product pricing, positioning, understanding customer segmentation, customer behaviour, customer needs and wants, requires reasonable level of understanding of product marketing/communcation/promotion, it requires high levels of hardwork, it requires partnering with engineering/marketing/sales to convey what is doable versus tradeoffs, It requires working across time zones. It requires travel. It requires persistence. It requires empathy for customers and a problem solving approach. It requires quick decision making. It requires the courage to call a spade a spade. It requires conviction and immense self belief. It requires the ability to say NO! It requires PASSION!

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