It’s no secret I love the Lakers, and that I love being a Product Manager. I’ve always kind of felt that my product management style is that of Phil Jackson, that I have that Zen-like radiance. The products I release are Kobe Bryants, Shaquille O’Neills and every once in a while – a Nick Young. However, like Kobe’s retirement statements and poem, you need to know when to discontinue your current version, and reinvent the next.
You may have the best product for 5 years, 10 years and sometimes a little longer, but you need to know when to stop being complacent with your product and either kill it, or reinvent it.
Many companies have become complacent with their product, and eventually it led to their demise. Blackberry and Palm Pilot, to name a few. Polaroid was on its way there too, but was saved thanks to the “vintage” trend.
In order to remain part of the game, you must reinvent yourself, and not just “lag behind.” Kobe is one of the best players ever, but he knows that he had reached the point where he might start going downhill. So he retired from playing, deleted his “older version,” and is now on the verge of reinvention (come, on! Do you really think he will disappear completely?). He will now use his skills in a slightly different way, before people will lose interest, probably as a commentator (judging by one of his latest interviews.)
As product managers, we must remember this lesson. Always keep your eye on the ball, change with the changing environment, and make sure you’re stay relevant, whether with MVP development, or by a complete reinvention.