5 Minutes With Ben Cunningham (AUSTAR)

Ben Cunningham, Product Manager AUSTAR for Business and My Star Personal Digital Recorder

Ben Cunningham is new to the role of Product Management. He has an interesting background, much of which was spent as a lawyer as well as a producer of Interactive TV.

Ben’s views conforms to opinions expressed by veteran Product Managers.

Describe Product Management

According to Ben, Product Management is a combination of developing new products, managing those that are in the market, and retiring those that are “getting old in the tooth”.

At AUSTAR, Product Management ensures that pricing meets the gross margin objectives of the business and that the product rules are understood and implemented through the business. Most importantly, the Product Management team at AUSTAR is focused on delivering products that our customers want.

To perform our role effectively, we work closely with Marketing, Sales, Legal, Finance, Strategy and IT.

Overall, I see Product Management as a great generalist role that gives wide exposure to the company and teaches many business skills.

What are your main responsibilities as Product Manager at AUSTAR?

I am responsible for pricing and packaging our TV channels for residential and commercial customers, and overseeing the successful launch of our exciting Personal Digital Recorder, My Star.

What are the main issues facing Product Managers in general?

As the guardian of gross margin at AUSTAR, its often difficult to decline requests and prevent the Sales team from discounting the product. We also have to be mindful that we do not cannibalise other products in our quest for new ones.

In general, Product Managers often have to ensure a smooth flow of information across the organisation. This in itself is a full time role, but is relegated to Product Managers as the owners of the product.

On a lighter note, its important for Product Managers to have FUN when the pressure is on.