Unveiling the Traits of Top-tier Product Managers and the Cycle of Greed and Fear

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Jul 27, 2023

4 min read


Unveiling the Traits of Top-tier Product Managers and the Cycle of Greed and Fear


In the fast-paced world of product management, there is a clear distinction between the Top 1% and the Top 10%. While both are highly skilled professionals, the top-tier product managers possess certain qualities that set them apart. Additionally, understanding the cycle of greed and fear can provide valuable insights into the dynamics that drive individuals in their pursuit of success. In this article, we will explore the key differentiating factors of the top 1% of product managers and delve into the lifecycle of greed and fear.

Thinking Big and Communicating Effectively:

One of the defining characteristics of the top 1% of product managers is their ability to think big. Their thinking is not limited by the resources available today or the current market environment. Instead, they have the vision to identify large disruptive opportunities and develop concrete plans to capitalize on them. These product managers understand that innovation and growth come from pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo.

Furthermore, effective communication is a crucial skill that distinguishes the top 1% of product managers. They possess the ability to present a case that is impossible to refute or ignore. While data plays a significant role in their decision-making process, they also tap into other biases, beliefs, and triggers to convince stakeholders to allocate resources and support their initiatives. By effectively communicating their ideas, these product managers can rally support and remove any obstacles that may hinder progress.

The Power of Simplification and Prioritization:

Simplifying complex ideas and projects is another hallmark of the top 1% of product managers. They understand that getting 80% of the value out of any feature or project with 20% of the effort is key to maximizing efficiency and achieving results. By focusing on the essential aspects and eliminating unnecessary complexities, these product managers can deliver impactful solutions in a streamlined manner.

Moreover, prioritization is a critical skill possessed by the top 1% of product managers. They excel at sequencing projects, balancing quick wins with long-term investments, and finding the right equilibrium between offense and defense. By carefully prioritizing their efforts, these product managers ensure that they are making the most effective use of their resources and driving meaningful outcomes.

Forecasting, Measuring, and Building Relationships:

A distinguishing feature of the top 1% of product managers is their ability to forecast the approximate benefit of a project. Leveraging past experience and comparable benchmarks, they can efficiently estimate the potential impact and outcomes. This skill enables them to make informed decisions and align their initiatives with the overall business objectives.

Additionally, these product managers excel at building relationships and earning the trust of executives, peers, and stakeholders. They take the time to understand what motivates each individual and tailor their approach accordingly. By establishing strong alliances, they can garner support, overcome obstacles, and navigate the complexities of organizational dynamics. This ability to build relationships ensures that their ideas are not only heard but also embraced by those in influential positions.

The Lifecycle of Greed and Fear:

In exploring the traits that separate the top 1% of product managers, it is essential to recognize the underlying dynamics of the lifecycle of greed and fear. Greed often originates from the innocent idea that one is right, deserving, or owed something for their efforts. This delusional justification fuels the desire to push for more than what is fair or earned. The addictive nature of recognition, attention, and rewards further perpetuates this cycle of greed.

Conversely, fear reaches its peak when individuals start fearing what else they have to fear. When consumed by fear, individuals become blind to the positive possibilities and opportunities that may arise. This fixation on negative outcomes hampers their ability to take calculated risks and stifles innovation. Understanding this cycle of greed and fear is crucial for product managers as it allows them to navigate their emotions and make rational decisions in the best interest of their products and companies.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace a growth mindset: To become a top-tier product manager, adopt a growth mindset that allows you to think beyond limitations and seize disruptive opportunities. Continuously challenge yourself to think bigger and explore new possibilities.
  • 2. Hone your communication skills: Invest in developing effective communication skills. Learn to leverage data, emotions, and persuasive techniques to make compelling cases that garner support and resources for your initiatives.
  • 3. Foster meaningful relationships: Prioritize relationship-building within your organization. Understand the motivations and triggers of key stakeholders and invest in building trust and alliances. Strong relationships will not only facilitate your decision-making process but also enable you to overcome obstacles and drive successful outcomes.


Becoming a top-tier product manager requires a combination of skills, mindset, and an understanding of the underlying dynamics that shape decision-making. By thinking big, communicating effectively, simplifying projects, prioritizing efforts, forecasting, measuring, and building relationships, product managers can position themselves among the top 1%. Moreover, recognizing the cycle of greed and fear empowers individuals to navigate their emotions and make rational decisions that benefit their products and companies. Embrace the actionable advice provided and embark on your journey to becoming a product management trailblazer.

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