TL;DR: Below be the 7 Arrrrguments based on Black Bart’s Pirate Code of 1722 that suggest that a product manager is more pirate king/queen than CEO.
- Some CEOs exercise their power to dictate priorities by virtue of possessing the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion.
According to the 1st Article of the Pirate Code:
“Every man shall have an equal vote in affairs of moment. “
- Unlike product peeps, CEOs can distribute resources, or not, as they see fit.
Also according to the 1st Article of the Pirate Code:
“He shall have an equal title to the fresh provisions or strong liquors at any time seized, and shall use them at pleasure unless a scarcity makes it necessary for the common good that a retrenchment may be voted.”
- Certain CEOs have been known to hoist funds based on their version of the truth.
According to the 2nd Article of the Pirate Code:
“But if they defraud the company to the value of even one dollar in plate, jewels, or money, they shall be marooned. If any man rob another, he shall have his nose and ears slit, and be put ashore where he shall be sure to encounter hardships.”
- Aggressively sales-focused CEOs sometimes gamble in the form of promising extremely tight deadlines that the dev teams have to keep.
According to the 4th Article of the Pirate Code:
“None shall game for money, either with dice or cards.”
- CEOs in larger corporate institutions may not always possess a hands-on, working knowledge of how the sausage is made.
According to the 5th Article of the Pirate Code:
“Each man shall keep his piece, cutlass and pistols, at all times clean and ready for action.”
- A small number of CEOs have been known to abandon ship rather than go down with it when things get really hairy.
According to the 7th Article of the Pirate Code:
“He that shall desert the ship or his quarters in the time of battle shall be punished by death or marooning.”
- CEOs can ask the more entertaining team members to work on weekends.
According to the 11th Article of the Pirate Code:
“The musicians shall have rest on the Sabbath Day only, by right, on all other days, by favor only.”
- BONUS: “It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the Navy.”
Steve Jobs as quoted by John Sculley as saying in 1982
Ok, that quote wasn’t from the Pirate Code. Regardless, I’m thinking it’s applicable to the notion that perhaps product leaders are more pirate captains than CEOs; at least according to the Code.
Even if you don’t see yourself as a backlog buccaneer, I would highly recommend listening to an excellent ‘Deliver It Cast’ where Cory Bryan and Bob Galen delightfully unpack the question as to whether or not a product person is in fact a product CEO.