What is a Product Manager anyway?

My 5 year old daughter just started Kindergarten this week and she asked me to explain to her exactly what I did at Yahoo so she could convey this to her class. She barely uses a computer so I was a bit challenged but then I remembered a great post by Susan Mernit that summed it up nicely.

When I describe my job to non-techie friends, I like to say it’s like being the executive chef in a big restaurant because as big piece of my job is deciding what to send out when, and another is to review and roll up all the possibilities and then recommend what we actually build and empower the teams that build it.

We’ve been washing the pots and pans for the past little while but once that’s done, the chefs are chomping at the bit to put out some great new stuff.

Current Events

Uniqlock – Uniqlo’s Viral Advertisement

The Japanese clothing store Uniqlo has burst onto the scene with a viral widget that features a clock interspersed with a robotic model featuring their new polo shirt. Click through to the site and explore the video in more detail as well as a cool, interactive map which features other blogs running the widget.

The only thing missing is any clear “call to action” or even a description; it’s not entirely obvious that it’s a clock. But then again, this is Japan and if you’ve every experienced Japanese advertising – it’s all about the subtle, curious hook that draws you in.


And in other news this weekend

NBC pulls its content off of iTunes, thinks it can force Office fans to pay $4.99/episode from a site called Hulu.

The gamble NBCU is making is that they can still make business decisions with their content that don’t include their customers. – Terry Heaton

The talented ones will go first. Bad news for you, TV networks. You’ll be stuck with the shittiest creators, the timid ones who don’t dare cross the chasm. Your shows will get worse and worse. Your sitcoms will grow lamer, if that’s possible. Your reality shows will grow stupider. – Dan Lyons as Fake Steve Jobs

Google News starts hosting newswire stores from AP, AFP, and others. Once they start running advertising, their transformation into Yahoo News will be complete.

Well, we just saw the latest news on this front, with Google “trading for its own account” as opposed to its traditional role of handing off traffic to web sites it searches – Tim O’Reilly

The news industry may very well have lost both the battle and the war because now Google is the world’s largest searchable newspaper. – Steven Hodson 

Current Events

Time Lapse Video of Bay Bridge Construction

The Bay Bridge was closed this Labor Day weekend so we stayed close to home and didn’t venture across the Bay into the city. Here’s a time lapse video of what CalTrans was up to. The bridge opened this evening, 11 hours ahead of schedule. CC Myers was the contractor on the job, the same firm that rebuilt the destroyed 580 overpass in just 25 days.

Pitching for the Yankees – “Ian-Kredible”

Ian Kennedy makes the cover of the New York Post

So I’ve been following my doppelganger’s budding baseball career ever since he first blipped up on my Technorati feed as a hot prospect for the Yankee’s draft last Summer. I’m super-pleased to see that the young Ian pretty much aced his debut as a pitcher against the Devil Rays and has earned himself another start in the next five days or so. Out here in California we don’t get the Yankee’s games on TV so I unfortunately couldn’t see him perform but according the the write-up in the NY Post;

Kennedy allowed three runs – one earned – and five hits in seven innings and earned himself another start, Joe Torre said. Kennedy struck out six – after one, the scoreboard flashed, “Ian-Kredible” – and walked two, throwing 66 of his 96 pitches for strikes.

Not bad at all – way to uphold the name!

UPDATE: Further coverage:

This Guy Ian Kennedy was Born Ready – 23 family members and friends made the trip to NYC to see him play.

Joe Torre post-game interview – “the kid has real poise”