I definitely was born as an engineer.
If I look back at the early beginning of my career, I have to admit that I was definitely an engineer. My first assignement back in 1991 was to write software for a proprietary ERP package built on top of a Unix System V box and one of the first relational databases which I cannot even remember.
After that I went a little bit low level on those Unix boxes for the next couple of years.
As an engineer you care much more on making stuff work rather than making things looks nice. I always left those kind of stuff to the Sales and Marketing guys which I always considered fancy people.
A few years later I moved to Product Marketing and since then I have mostly been in Marketing and, as you may know, I am now Product Development Manager for 3.
I definitely think that developing a new product, being this a new mobile phone or a car does not matter, is a challenging task.
You will need to solve technical issues, manage budget, costs and time to market but it is one of the most fascinating job I could imagine to get.
When I first started this job I was looking at it with my engineering glasses on. I was thinking that the product had to work as expected when our customers brought it home from our shops.
Lucky me I had the opportunity to have a fantastic team on my side. We have Industrial Designers, Graphic Designers, User Interface specialists and User Experience experts as well.
These guys were able to open my mind and making me understant that a product does not have only to work from a technical standpoint. It has to work as a whole.
I have learnt from them how to look and industrial design and usability, how a user interface has great impact on the perception of the product from the user, how different materials make a mobile phone different and more captivating. I could never imagined that this could happen.
I would say that now I still have my scientific approach to Product Development, but, on the other side, I have gained a humanistic approach to the same subject making me a more complete professional.
At the very same time I had the opportunity to teach to these team of highly creative people which are the technical hurdles of implementing some of their ideas on real devices, maybe helping them to be more complete professionals.
It has been a win-win situation for both of us and we have been able to deliver great products in 2008.
I hope the same will happen in 2009!
To all of my team: thank you for helping me.