In his keynote session at #mtpcon London 2022, Manon Dave talks about his career experiences and how he has kept his work creative, innovative and fun.
Watch this video or read on for key highlights from the talk.
Product managers can struggle to describe what they do for a living. Manon says his definition is that “we make cool shit”. For him, it’s always been about being creative. He says he’s a geek, he makes tech products and makes music, and Product is an opportunity for him to double down on the things he enjoys.
He says: “What makes great product people is an appreciation of Product. If you think back on your youth, what you were constantly engaging with was really well-designed, well-produced engaging storytelling in a product format.”
After a software engineering degree, Manon spent a few years in the then-emerging affiliate marketing industry – at the start of the big data boom. He then moved to Berlin to take up a product management role in the music tech industry, working for Native Instruments. He says he understood the storytelling aspect of music making and applied a personalisation, retargeting, data-driven approach to his product, Maschine, and it became a music industry staple. From there he moved to another music tech business, Roli, and helped to develop the Roli Seaboard, a keyboard-style MIDI controller.
He then talks about his experiences heading up Product and Design at EF Education First. Here he developed the Study Buddy, a smart speaker aimed at 3-6-year-olds learning English.
There are some common themes running through all of Manon’s stories of his career to date. He says: “I’m referring to stuff that I’m into, and trying to have fun with it. I’m trying to remind myself that at heart I’m a creative, even though maybe I can’t paint or design or play an instrument that well. “ He talks about a TED talk from Tim Harford, Slow motion multitasking, which refers to a common pattern among highly creative people to have several projects on the go at once.
He says: “If we start to apply some of the things we care about to our day jobs then we’ll start to realise that these things are one and the same. Bringing your whole self to work is something that can make a material difference to the business you work in and also to your own happiness and mental health.
There’s more where that came from!
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