Imagine for a moment that you did have at your disposal, the world’s biggest database of prices of everything. Imagine also that you had a deep and rich product catalog that was associated with these prices. What would you do with this?
Well that depends on who you are. As an economist, you could use the information to study your theories as do the good folks at MIT’s BPP. As a marketing professional you could study the effect of campaigns and promotions on the competition’s prices. As a financial analyst you could investigate whether a company’s financial health was correlated in any way with prices for their goods and services. As a sales professional you could look at the prices of your competition before a customer call. At some point during the day, no matter who you are, you might find some use for information related to prices and products.
But we got to thinking – who could use product and price information every minute of the day? Any business that builds and / or offers a product or service of course. And who in such a product or business?
We discovered the world of a product manager. To be sure, a product manager has many identities in different businesses. In a retailer they may go by merchandising manager, category manager or purchasing manager. At brands, they go by brand manager or product manager or product analyst or price analyst. Sometimes product managers masquerade as marketing managers. And there are infinite variations of the product manager as the size of the company varies.
It fascinates us that the product manager lives in a world that is largely manual and ad hoc. Their expertise seems to be to the ability to connect disparate conversations and data into a point of view that creates unique products and services. And then shepherd these products through their life cycles while making a nice profit and building an interesting business.
What would the product manager be capable of if we gave them the data, the tools and the applications that would help them come up with new product ideas, set the right prices, manage promotions and make their offerings available to their customers in the best ways possible? What if we made it easy to collaborate with others in their company and communicate with their peers at other companies? What if we could bring powerful analytics and beautiful visualizations to bear on their problems? What if we could connect their internal data with internet data to make meaningful suggestions? What if we could make a platform for product managers to do whatever they wanted?
That feels like an interesting opportunity to us.