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Meet the… head of product

Daniel Robinson, head of product, Pebble, talks TVBEurope through a typical day, including navigating between the 30,000-foot view and deciding on the colour of buttons on a user interface.

Talk us through an average day in your role 

At Pebble, I find that an ‘average day’ is almost a cliché. I lead a team of four product managers and owners and we are responsible for product lifecycles of five distinct products.

My routine involves close collaboration with each product manager and collective brainstorming to shape comprehensive product roadmaps. We actively seek input from stakeholders across the business and, of course, our valued customers.

Key to my role is maintaining a holistic view of the entire Pebble portfolio, rather than focusing solely on individual products. This includes navigating between the ‘30,000-foot view,’ where I coordinate product launches, and more hands-on days spent on the shop floor, deciding on nuances like the colour of buttons in the user interface. This variety not only keeps things consistently interesting but also allows me to think strategically and also be creative.

How did you get started in the media industry?

I started my career at Pebble as a customer support engineer, and this year I will celebrate my 12th year with the company. Initially, when I accepted the job, I thought that I would only stay for a few months. This was due to a lack of domain knowledge. However, with the support of my colleagues and additional training through the IABM, I quickly fell in love with the industry.

It is a great industry to work in as there are no two broadcasters who have the exact same workflows. If you have a passion for problem-solving, the broadcast industry offers a dynamic and engaging environment, distinct from more generic IT roles.

What training did you have before entering the industry?

I did a BTEC in ICT during my college years, followed by a degree in computer networking at the University of Northumbria. The foundational knowledge that I gained during my university studies has proven invaluable in my career as it covered many of the fundamental technologies essential in modern broadcast facilities.

Why do you enjoy working in the industry?

I enjoy working in the industry due to its global nature. With Pebble’s strong global presence, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to exciting places, including the two big tradeshows NAB and IBC that are held in two renowned “party” capitals. I really enjoy engaging with customers to understand their challenges and how Pebble made solutions to help them adds a significant amount of variety to my role.

What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours?

To be effective as a product manager or owner, a strong understanding of your product’s domain is crucial. My advice is to concentrate on building knowledge in the fundamentals of your domain. If you’re involved in software projects then be aware of the software development practices and adopt a ‘Systems thinking’ approach. That being said, it is very important to developing soft skills such as effective communication with customers, thinking on your feet, digest a lot of information and problem-solving are integral aspects of the role.