CEO of the Product works, just not as you think

• 1 min read

Fifteen years ago 😅 Ben Horowitz wrote the seminal Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager. This included the famous statement: “A good product manager is the CEO of the product”.

A lot has been said about how this isn’t true. How PMs often don’t have budget authority, or others have greater decision making power. I agree with some of that sentiment. But it is more helpful to think of it in a leadership context.

A good Product Manager leads by example, works to build consensus on direction, trusts and empowers their team to do their best work, claims failures as their own and successes as the teams. This sounds a lot like some of the best CEOs I’ve worked with. Sure, a PM can’t do it by force or by stamping their authority… but neither would a good CEO in 99% of cases.