Resources for Product Managers

“If software is eating the world, then product managers are setting the menu.” Des Traynor

Product management is relatively new field and universities still lack accredited product management programs. I suppose you learn to be a product manager while being a product manager just like you learn to be a CEO while being a CEO.

Recently, there have been courses like General Assembly’s 10-week Product Management and UC Berkeley’s five-day Product Management aimed at people who want to move into product management. While these are good they do cost a fair bit and would be good if your company is sponsoring your course.

But there are plenty of valuable resources available which I suggest you go through before taking any such course (if you do decide take one). I have listed a few below and broken down into Books and Blogs with the focus on Management and Design (product managers need to have a technical background or strong understanding of the platforms they work on).


1. Inspired | How to create products that customers love (Management)
Marty Cagan’s book is a must read for any product manager/startup-founder.

2. The Hard Things about Hard Things (Management)
Ben Harrowtiz shares his experience while working at Netscape and then focuses on “The Struggle” you face while building and running a business.

3. Lean Startup (Management)
If you are sick of the word “lean” Eric Ries is the man to blame! Excellent read.
The cycle: build (HFP/MVP), measure, learn.

4. Decoded (Marketing)
Jay-Z Phil Barden explains the science behind why we buy what we buy. A perfect mixture of deep ideas from visual and decision neuroscience and clear pictures of why those ideas matter for marketing.

5. The Design of Everyday Things (Design)
“Design is really an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating.”
Visibility, a good conceptual model, good mappings, and feedback.

6. Thinking with Type (Design)
“Typography is what language looks like” Ellen Lupton’s excellent book for students, designers writers and editors.

7. Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think and Rocket Surgery Made Easy (Design)
Both books focus on web usability and user experience.

8. Hooked (Design)
Nir Eyal lays out the “Hook Model”, a framework of the 4 key stages to build habit-forming products. Trigger > Action > Variable Reward > Investment.

9. Creativity Inc. (Management)
Part autobiography, part history of Pixar, part business book. Examples of creative disagreements and problem-solving techniques from inside one of the great movie production companies.


1. Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager (Management)
Ben Horowitz’s excellent description of Good and Bad Product Managers.
“Good product managers focus the team on revenue and customers…Bad product managers define good products that can’t be executed or let engineering build whatever they want.”

2. Mind the Product (Management)
Read the posts as well as attend the events, you will meet and network with some fantastic product managers.

3. Google Ventures Library (Management, Marketing, Design)
Covers all aspect of startup life from Product Management to Design to Marketing.

4. A16Z Podcast | Anderson Horowitz
Needless to say one of the best tech podcast other there.

5. Paul Graham’s Essays (Management)
No startup resource would be complete without PG’s thoughts.

6. Five-Day Product Design Sprint (Design)
Jake Knapp (Design Partner at Google Ventures) shows us how they run product design sprints.

7. Read Julie Zhuo’s and Irene Au’s Medium posts (Design)
Julie is the Product Design Director at Facebook. Irene is the former head of design at Google, Yahoo, Udacity. You’ll get great insights just by reading their posts.

8. Design Hack (Design)
If you like design and want to know more, take this excellent online course. You will receive a design lesson in your inbox each week, handcrafted by design pros.

9. Design / UX collection on Medium

10. Watch the following design docs
Helvetica: A documentary directed by Gary Hustwit about the world’s most inescapable typeface
Objectified: Also directed by Gary Hustwit, this documentary is about consumers’ relationship with manufactured objects and the people who design them
Urbanized: A documentary about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features
Design & Thinking: A documentary exploring the idea of design thinking.

11. Speaking of Design thinking Stanford’s offers an online crash course in Design Thinking. Extremely fun and useful!

12. Designers + Geeks
“A community for designers, thinkers, and makers.”

Of course, the beauty of all these resources is that you learn at your own pace and apply in real life. You learn to be a good product manager while being a product manager.

Humans Need Not Apply

“Technology gets better, cheaper, and faster at a rate biology can’t match + Economics always wins = Automation is inevitable.”

A Positive Outlook

The Benefits of Optimism Are Real from The Atlantic. It’s not just Hollywood magic.

Silver Linings Playbook

You have to do everything you can and if you stay positive you have a shot at a silver lining.

Life of Pi

You might think I lost all hope at that point. I did. And as a result I perked up and felt much better.

Google the Hardware Company

Google today launched chromebook and chromebox, in partnership with Samsung.

Next logical step would be to manufacture their own Chrombooks. Maybe buy a PC maker or through their Motorola division.

Because as Steve Jobs Alan Kay said “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.”

Soon they’ll be a closed ecosystem like Apple.


Persist or Bail?

Two contrasting reads

A lot of people ask, ‘Why did you keep going? Why didn’t you bail?'” he said. “I think the idea of telling people, ‘We blew it,’ was just too embarrassing. – Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann on CNN


Kevin Rose’s Milk shutters its first app Oink after just over 4 months –  TNW


Thoughts on Google Plus

My thoughts on Google plus Q&A: RBS on Google+

As I mentioned in the Q&A, I think its important for brands to be active on Google plus.

As a user I use it more as a bookmarking site than for posting/updating purposes. Unlike Facebook where you can not see all the sites/articles you ‘Like’d. Google plus allows you to see all the ‘+1’s’ you’ve made and share/recommend those to your friends when they search on Google.

From the page Your +1’s appear here. +1 the things around the web you like, agree with, or want to recommend to others. 


Kickstarter is on a roll. Two projects pass the $1 Million mark in a single day! That’s huge!

The team has executed the idea very well. Here’s a talk that Yancey Strickler (Kickstarter’s co-founder) gave last June at Creative Mornings, on how they came up with the idea and the whole concept.

I came across this video and Creative Mornings on Fred Wilson‘s blog.