Almost every musician I listen to carries influences of the progressive rock band King Crimson. For instance, my favorite musician Steven Wilson has put out entire albums that (to me) sounds like a King Crimson “project”. Including his debut solo album Grace for Drowning which featured several King Crimson members including Tony Levin.
Today, I realized not only does King Crimson’s sound echo prodigiously within the discographies of my favorite artists, they’ve also had a thing or two to say about good (and bad) product management over the decades!
Without further ado, I present: product management lessons learned through King Crimson lyrics.
Knowledge is a deadly friend
If no one sets the rules
The fate of all mankind, I see
Is in the hands of fools
Great power comes from great responsibility and your team looks to you to set the rules. If they sense they’re in the hands of fools, well, confusion will be their epitaph … it’s important to set a strong vision and get buy-in!
Three of a Perfect Pair
She is susceptible
He is impossible
They have their cross to share
Three of a perfect pair
He has his contradicting views
She has her cyclothymic moods
They make a study in despair
Three of a perfect pair
This song is clearly about channeling healthy conflict within “The Triad”: engineering, design, and PM. If things get complicated, aggravated, you’ll end up with a perfect mess.
Sundown dazzling day
Gold through my eyes
But my eyes turned within
Starless and bible black
If there’s any reason why product managers exist, it’s to set a direction and chart a path for their team to get there. Without a north star, your smiles will only signal emptiness.
Frame by Frame
Frame by frame (Suddenly)
Death by drowning (from within)
In your, in your analysis
Product managers are constantly making and facilitating decisions. Speed and quality count. Breaking things down step by step can help ensure you don’t fall prey to analysis paralysis so you can keep your team unblocked.
Ignorance has alway been something I excel in
Followed by naivety and pride
Doesn’t take a scientist to see how
Any clever predator could have a piece of me
Unlike the fossil in these lyrics, a product manager should reflect and learn from their mistakes. For that matter, a good product manager is always eager to learn and innovate. Otherwise someone will be digging your bones, too …
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Have you wanted to learn some product management lessons via King Crimson lyrics? I got you. https://t.co/jYqFGLAyng— Meg Risdal 👾 (@MeganRisdal) October 24, 2020