On Thursday, February 6th, the 4th annual winner of The Best Product Person (TBPP) was announced at The Product Group!
And, this year’s runner-up was so astounding he too has been invited to speak at The Product Group and receive special recognition on our awards page for The Best Product Person.
Only under extraordinary circumstances do we award a runner-up — where product excellence is clearly displayed and proximity to TBPP is especially close. This year, join us in also congratulating the TBPP Runner-up, Matthew Smith of Shutterstock
Matthew is currently the General Manager of Offset.com, a subsidiary of Shuttertsock, the largest global image marketplace. Prior to running Offset, he was the Director of New Products at Shutterstock, where he lead the company’s video, mobile, and new product strategy. Previously he was a Senior Product Manager at Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG), the world’s leading expert network, where he built and ran the company’s survey and Q&A business.
Getting to Here
> What key people helped shape you into the product manager you are today?
There are three influential people who shaped my product beliefs at an early age, and I am not sure any of them are aware of it.
The first is Jonathan Glick (the founder and CEO of Sulia.com). Jonathan and I worked together at Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG). He was the one who actually tapped me on the shoulder and brought me into the product world. When I asked why he thought I could be a product manager, he responded by saying “You understand the technical aspect of what we do, you understand the business aspect of what we do, you can talk to customers, and most importantly, you can make decisions – good product people have to be willing to make a call, and be ok being wrong. It’s the indecision that really kills momentum”
The second person is Marty Cagan (Partner at svpg.com). Marty came to GLG to help us think about product years ago, and everything he had to say instantly hit home with me. It was all about customer research, validation of ideas before development, and prioritizing efforts based on research and metrics. In fact, Marty was so spot on with how I thought about things, that we brought him to Shutterstock when I first got there so that he could help Shutterstock as well.
The third is my father. As a kid, I watched my father build and sell two business. He did everything, sales, business development, design, managing, product, etc. For me, it just made sense. If you are going to build something, you have to be able to think about all aspects of the business, you have to understand that if you build a product, you then have to market it, you have to know how the economics work, how users respond to it, and you have to be able to motivate a team to build and sell it. Most importantly, my father taught me that the key to building a business, is understanding all aspects, the complexity, and being able to break them down into simple, actionable elements.
> How did you decide to become a product manager?
As I mentioned above, it was Jonathan Glick who really threw me into the water. I wasn’t really aware of what a product manager was, but I was use to dealing with clients and translating what they were doing, what they were looking for, patterns of usage, etc into ideas for the business. Jonathan tapped me on the shoulder one day and said “you need to be a product manager”.
> What inspires you in your day-to-day work?
First and foremost, people. The team I work with has just as much passion for the business/products I work on, and it’s amazingly inspiring. The second is the fundamental challenge of solving problems; I love the idea that we, as product people, can create tools, products, services, etc that change peoples daily habits and routines for the better. Last, but certainly not least, is the idea that we should be beating ourselves; I fundamentally believe that we should always challenge ourselves to build a better business on a daily basis, because if we don’t, someone else will.
More to Come
Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Matthew Smith.
Thank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2014 has begun! The individual who first nominates TBPP is also awarded! This year, the first nominator of Adrian received a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.com. Nominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!
The Product Guy
About ‘The Best Product Person’
The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (https://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).
TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.
TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.
For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp
About ‘The Product Group’
The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )