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Colin Millerchip
Head of Product Management

Why did you choose Red Gate?

It was a chance to do 'real' market-focussed product management, rather than being a PowerPoint jockey for senior execs, or spending my life in tactical sales activities.

When did you join Red Gate?

July 2007.

Before you arrived at Red Gate what did you do?

I was a Product Manager at Convergys, and before that, various roles including Product Manager at Cambridge Animation Systems.

What does your job involve on a day-to-day basis?

My role has changed in the last year: it's now less about hands-on management of products, and more about running the processes to help other Product Managers manage their products.  For example, we have a process to define and refine our business plans, and our goals for the business; and another that allows us to manage the spread of risk across our portfolio of products.  A large part of my current role is managing and evolving these processes.

I also take on specific projects, such as pieces of market research that cut across the company and hence don't 'belong' to any one person or area.  And, of course, there are the normal activities associated with leading a business function, like recruitment, training/mentoring, etc.

Give us an example of some great work you've done as a Product Manager at Red Gate.

One activity that comes to mind, is that I developed a strategy for one of our products that was aimed at shifting away from a market position that was strongly under threat, to a much more defensible one. 

Strategies are hard things to develop, not least because they need to be robust against "unknown unknowns", things that might happen in the future that you can't predict ahead of time.  And it's going to take time to know whether this is a successful strategy, so the jury's out as to whether or not this was great work.

What do you like about working in product management at Red Gate?

To my mind, the key to enjoying any job is the people with whom you work. The Product Managers at Red Gate are universally über–smart people, prone to robust debate but without disrespecting people, and fun to be around.

What do you like most about Red Gate today?

That despite the fact that it's grown significantly since I joined the company – from around 80 to almost 300 people – it has worked really hard to hold onto its culture, and has largely succeeded.

Complete the following sentence: I know everything there is to know about...

… herding cats. 

What's your favourite book?

Hard to pick a single one, but I love "Tortilla Flat" by John Steinbeck, and "The Sirens of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut is a favourite too.

What super power do you wish you had (or have but aren't telling anyone because that's the point of being super)?

Again, I'm going to cheat and pick two: teleportation and time-travel.  I've love to go back in time an witness some of the key moments in history.

What's your most memorable Red Gate experience so far?

The trip to the Apple store with a voucher that I could only spend on Apple stuff (i.e., not just cash that I could 'blow' on paying the gas bill).

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