It’s a cautionary tale that’s so familiar it spawned an archetype: the brilliant engineer who invents game-changing technology that never succeeds in the marketplace because (as every good product manager knows) a technology is not enough. Technology is but one thing needed to build something bigger — a product. The archetypical engineer has a blind spot that hides from her this larger truth. Enter product managers, gifted with insight into the holy product, who swoop in to save the day. (Having been a product manager myself, I can poke fun.)
Now, while there is some truth to this story, fortunately the understanding that a technology is but one part of a successful product has become widespread (including, it must be said, by lots of those “stereotypical” engineers). But ironically, there’s yet another blind spot that affects those most convinced they see the full picture. In this new blind spot looms something bigger than product. What looms there is brand.
Just as the stereotypical engineer focuses too much on technology and fails to appreciate product, the stereotypical product manager focuses too much on product and fails to appreciate brand. Yes, technology is not enough and is but one thing needed to build a product. But just as true is that a product is not enough. Product is but one thing needed to build something bigger — a brand.
Successful teams and companies understand this and orient all of their activities towards creating this greater asset. They understand this fundamental truth: all businesses, including yours, exist solely to build a brand.
Also published on Medium.