CEO- The best product manager?

Apologies for any typing / grammatical errors! Please point out the same through your invaluable comments


One direct answer to the above question is “yes”.
What exactly is a CEO supposed to do? Guide and lead the company to growth, prosperity and development. And the world has seen brilliant CEOs doing so. What are the few names that come to the mind: Steve Jobs, Chad Holliday, Bill Gates, Julius Rosenwald —- and there is a brilliant list. Actually this is a list of Business Leaders who have shown a direction to the world, in a way of their own But all leaders may not be COEs. Think of Sergei Brin and Larry Page. The thing that is always common in successful Business Leaders (be it CEOs or NOT) is their deep rooted “sense of purpose” – which although is simple enough to fit in a 140 character Twitter post, however conveys a messianic sense of belief and purpose. The word therefore is NOT in being the CEO– but in being the Change Leader who is there to metamorphose the caterpillar to the butterfly. How many of such people we see in and around us?


But that is not what this post is about– it is about can the CEO be the best product manager? Actually while studying a few links, I found out that the next way forward from being the head of the product management team is the position of the CEO– they have some similarities in their tasks of managing expectations and dealing with people. The justification for the starting answer is Steve Jobs.


Imagine Steve Jobs at any of the MacWorld exhibitions. There is an aura around him. Is it about a passions like no other. Is he the product manager at Apple? –No, he is better than that. He is the one prime example to prove that beyond Strategic and Tactical games there is the necessity of the details of Operations- he knows about perfection. Perfection cannot be achieved in a day. Even Steve himself if not perfect, and it is shown by the way he himself perfected the “art of perfection” over the years– remember the 1984 Macintosh release ? Imagine the charismatic Steve of then, and compare it to the Steve at MacWorld 2007 introducing the iPhone. There is a sea-change. What is attractive is the fact that, every time, when the audience expects to see the “great”‘ Steve they last saw, they are only overwhelmed to find a better Steve, a better Apple, a better show of perfection.


During my first twitter post, I was wondering what could be the opening statement. Somehow I remembered Steve Jobs, and automatically I typed the following words in Twitter : “There is a great need to outperform one’s own self– Learning is the process, perfection is the by product- No honcho said that, I did“.


This was and is dedicated to the achievements of Steve Jobs.


The word perfection must be the only word in the dictionary of Product Managers. That is something I have literally felt is missing in the loads of books and articles that I have been reading about product management. It is not that you don’t have a precedent to guide you and show that it is possible– as I was mentioning, Steve Jobs is the best example that we get to see daily around us in our lives.




CEOs who are change leaders are also perfectionists. Name a CEO who is revered for his contribution and still is not a perfectionist. I feel Akio Toyoda– the man who transformed Toyota, and Steve Jobs (the one who has transformed Apple)– represents the best change leaders of  our recent times, and there is a lot to learn about business administration from people like him.


The best part to note is, CEOs who have demonstrated the passion for their company and their products, have really proved to be the greatest of world leaders. What is common is the simplistic sense of purpose that fits the Twitter post.. This is what drives a company– A company is never about the share holders– it is about the people, from the lowest of rungs to those in the highest of posts, who make the company the company that it is.


A product manager who has the power to bring a change for the betterment of the bottomline of the product’s culture truly becomes the best of CEOs, but the vice versa may not always be true. Such CEOs, I feel, should learn the art of respecting the philosophy of a  Product Culture from the CEOs who have driven change for the “good” in the world.


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3 Responses to CEO- The best product manager?

  1. amit says:

    "Hi,This is a good platform to define and discuss. What i think is that not only the CEO can be the best Product manager, but each and every individual within the organization has the capability, provided the organization gives the right platform and leverages. The best example could be Google, which came out with this Android platform,just out of the bright idea of an employee who re-vamped the concept of earning and learning. Another example is INTEL- why on earth could you think that INTEL these days is showcasing ADs which is displaying a very common man being admired by the entire organization. This is all about leverage and opportunity which can lead to the development of a new product manager in each and every individual of the organization, provided the CEO takes the right step and guides the rest…..Thanks,Just a Friend "

  2. Srirupa says:

    Srirupa MitraNo doubt it is a good idea. But as a whole, the idea is laggimg far behind. The CEO need not be committed or make promises. It needs to be involved. Involvement is one element which we are looking right now in the industry. If that is happening, the company is happening. But in my 15 years of experience, I have experienced none. The examples that is given is more of outside India. Is there anything in India?

  3. Srirupa says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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