Quotes for a product manager to live by.

I’ve always enjoyed good quotes. If you can’t find the exact words to communicate your thought, quotes are often a source to communicate more effectively. As a Product Manager, I am always looking for words that help me communicate more effectively. The book that opened my eyes to the power of specific words was, Words that Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear by Frank Luntz. I’ve also found that several quotes around specific themes help me understand the concept much better.  In this post, I share my favorite quotes around action, attitude, persistence, confidence, and life-long learning. I’m reading quotes everyday and often share my favorites on Twitter at @bobhaa.


Product Managers need to be people of action. While it’s good to have a good discussion and some data on solving specific problems, make sure taking action is in the forefront of your life. How much discussion you have and how much data you collect will probably reflect the size of your company. Startups can’t afford to invest in long drawn out studies and need to move quickly and large companies typically spend more time researching, planning, and collecting data. Always remember your product solves a customer problem, be actively moving in that direction.

Action is the foundational key to all success.
– Pablo Picasso

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.
– Napoleon Hill

Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.
– Theodore Roosevelt

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Product Managers need to have a good attitude. People are drawn to others with a good attitude. As a Product Manager, you will need to influence customers, product development, marketing, and your management. Having a good attitude makes a difference. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe attitude is everything. Attitude doesn’t replace competence or leadership, but it can be the difference maker in bringing the team together to rally behind the product. Always remember to have a good attitude.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
-Winston Churchill

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.
– Lou Holtz

It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.
– Zig Ziglar

Product Managers need to be persistent. As the leader of your product, you need to persistently press on toward success. Always remember that because you have thought through a problem doesn’t mean your team has had the opportunity to think it through. Be persistent in your communication. Remember that customers are dealing with the product today, with all it’s flaws and not with the vision of where you plan to take the product. Be persistent in overcoming today’s problems and listening to the customer. Just because your the Product Manager doesn’t mean everyone is going to agree with you. Be persistent in connecting with people. In everything you do, be persistent.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
– Winston Churchill

The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
– Chinese Proverb

Edison failed 10,000 times before he made the electric light. Do not be discouraged if you fail a few times.
-Napoleon Hill

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.
-Michael Jordan

Product Managers must have confidence. Have you ever been around a leader that doesn’t have confidence? Who would ever follow someone who isn’t confident in where they are going? As a product manager, everyone will be watching you very closely. Your teams confidence in the product will reflect your confidence in the product. It doesn’t mean you are not realistic in where the product is today, your confidence must show that you are confident in the team to solve the problems that lay ahead of you. In everything you do, be confident.

Experience tells you what to do. Confidence allows you to do it.
– Stan Smith

Go forward confidently, energetically attacking problems, expecting favorable outcomes.
– Norman Vincent Peale

Product Managers must be leaders.  It’s easy to be a leader when the people you lead report to you. It takes real leadership to lead in today’s matrix managed teams. In order for a Product Manager to be successful, you will need to lead product developers, marketing managers, sales teams, and customers, in which none of them will report to you. As a Product Manager, I became a student of leadership. One of my favorite authors is John Maxwell and one of my favorite books is the A 360 degree leader:Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization.

Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.
-Lillian Dickson

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
-Peter F. Drucker


Last and probably most important is that Product Managers must be life-long learners. As a Product Managers you need to become good at learning and learn something new everyday. Whether it’s a new product feature, a new technology, a new process, a new application, a new competitor, or a new way of thinking, learning is vital to the life and success of a Product Manager. There are new technologies emerging everyday that can drastically effect your product.  Product Managers need to be learning everyday to face the difficult landscape that will throw problems at you from every direction. Learning from everything you do and from the leaders in your industry will help you to become a better Product Manager.

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.
– Albert Einstein

Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.
– Albert Einstein

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
– Benjamin Franklin

As a Product Manager words are a powerful thing and will have a huge impact on your team. Start focusing on the words you use today and make it a goal to improve your communication skills.

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