What is quickly becoming tradition, we are kicking off the first series of the year looking at our most recent winner of The Best Product Person. Chris Sarette, The Best Product Person of 2011, is the estimable subject of this series. Over the coming weeks I will be sharing a segments of a Q&A session I had with Chris — and lending some insight into why Chris truly is The Best Product Person of 2011.
Getting to here…
> What key people helped shape you into the product manager you are today?
I wouldn’t be on the path I’m on now with product development without the mentorship I’ve received from inCase co-founder Bobby Chang. Bobby’s contributions to the vision and rollout of the project I work on (Mend) have given me a more holistic view of product evolution, and the need to build excellence into every step.
> How did you decide to become a product manager?
My involvement with product development initially stemmed out of my love affair with numbers. I’ve always been the “numbers guy,” so the math that accompanies sourcing, production schedules, and sales strategies is very enticing. Eighteen months into this project, my passion for the quantitative side of the business has been complemented by a genuine satisfaction that comes from working in a hybrid creative/logistical space. Bringing a product from design, through sourcing and sampling, and to production is an extremely rewarding experience.
> What inspires you in your day-to-day work?
Anyone who’s involved with Mend doesn’t need to look very far for inspiration on a daily basis. Each of the 17 seamstresses we employ was at one time abducted by a rebel army operating in northern Uganda, and many of these women escaped the group carrying children fathered by their captors. Mend provides them with an opportunity to not only provide for their families, but to also transition from victim to community role model.
I’m also very lucky to work somewhere that produces amazing videos to tell our stories. More about my inspiration can be found in this 3-minute video: http://vimeo.com/31776405.
Over the next few weeks I will share more of my interview with Chris Sarette, The Best Product Person of 2011!
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The Product Guy