Entrepreneurs make great product managers. Even more valuable here at Vertex are our intrapreneurs. But what exactly is intrapreneurship?
Intrapreneurship is a relatively recent concept that focuses on employees of a company that have many of the attributes of entrepreneurs. An intrapreneur is an employee within a company that takes risks in an effort to solve a given problem, a key trait that is valued at Vertex, especially in the area of product management.
As one of the leading algorithmic software companies, Vertex believes that the vision, creativity, and ownership entrepreneurs routinely display also serve product managers well. That’s one of the reasons Vertex along with Google, Phillips, Carnegie Mellon University, and other leading-edge organizations are sponsoring 2019 ProductCamp Pittsburgh on Sept. 28.
This marks the second year Pittsburgh is hosting ProductCamp, an “unconference” that was first staged in Silicon Valley about a decade ago and that has since spread to numerous cities in the U.S. and around the world. The event’s ethos is that attendees can and will shape the event (e.g., by voting on which sessions will be put on) through active participation.
That spirit aligns with Vertex’s view on the ways that the skill sets of entrepreneurs and product managers overlap in at least three areas:
Vision: Entrepreneurs tend to be big-picture thinkers -- visionaries driven by the idea of change. They are often on a mission to make something that most folks have yet to consider. This is also an important trait for a product manager: without vision it is incredibly difficult to lead cross-functional teams or bring new or improved products to market.
Creativity: Entrepreneurs are good at saying “no” to get them closer to a “yes.” They are passionate people who take failure in stride, learn from it, and move forward. Similarly, product managers are unafraid to fail or to share new ideas. To be effective, product managers also take risks and experiment constantly.
Ownership: Like entrepreneurs, product managers believe in taking ownership in the truest sense -- doing whatever it takes to make the product successful. It’s about living and breathing the product and hatching new ideas in the middle of the night. Product managers also have a pulse on market dynamics and user needs.
Entrepreneurs are driven and believe in making something out of nothing. Where normal professionals see problems, entrepreneurs see opportunities. They are dreamers who believe they can swim against the tide, and their enthusiasm is infectious. They often lead by example and inspire teams towards a common goal. These entrepreneurial traits also help our product managers thrive.
John H. Wilson is Director, Global Compliance Technologies. He has more than 20 years of experience in software and services industries. John is responsible for leading client engagement and co-innovations, supporting multinational tax leaders and professionals to address global taxation challenges. He holds a B.S. in marketing from Messiah College, an M.B.A. from The Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in organizational leadership from Regent University.