From R&D Engineer to Product Manager

Francois Abbe has had many years experience designing world beating hi tech equipment. He has had the opportunity to travel the globe both as an engineer and product manager representing the products he has designed and (later on in his career) that he product managed.

1. What's your academic background/training?
After graduating in France, I followed a B.Eng in Electronics and
Communication Engineering.

2. What did you do before product management?I worked as a R&D engineer designing niche video signal processing products that’s used in the television broadcast and film industry. I’ve also worked designing lighting equipment and as a DJ.

3. Where did you previously work?I worked for Snell & Wilcox in the UK, as a Product Manager.

4. What inspired you to become a product manager?I recognised that there were often a gap between the high quality niche products that I designed and the needs of the customers. Designing products that did not offer a complete solution became meaningless. Product Management gave me the opportunity to influence the feature set of the products that we marketed I found this much more enjoyable!

5. How did you make the move from being a R&D engineer to becoming a product manager?Snell & Wilcox often used engineers to assist at exhibitions, customer visits, road shows and product training – this exposure gave me a good introduction and a smooth transition into product management.

6. What do you like best about your job?I enjoy interacting with a variety of people in my specific field.

7. What do you least like about your job?
When the product development cycle is too long.

8. How do you keep up with the latest technologies?
All sorts: chatting, emails, internet...

9. Describe your Product Management job in one sentence.Managing all aspects of the product line and life cycle.

10. What's your dream product to manage?Any product that is used in live broadcast applications.

11. What would be the top three attributes you need to do your job?Ability to listen, flexibility and vision

12. What's the key attribute you need in order to work with the development

13. What do you do when you're not managing products (outside interests)?Cinema and food

14. What advice would you give some one who wants to become a product manager?
Be passionate and focused!


  1. It's great to read the words of someone jou've known so well....I'm glad to hear such good news about Francois.

  2. Hi Fran├žois,

    As you perhaps may know, I have a quite similar evolution in my own career.
    I think I would have answered these questions as you did !

    Let's go filling the gaps with passion ;-)

    See you (very) soon ;-)


    Pierre Mestrez.