I'm very interested in start ups. I like the idea of the geek inheriting the earth, an intelligent idea and some hard graft being enough to pave the future with gold. I like the business side, the deals that are done by being normal, nice, not smarmy or aggressive (salesmen please note). I like the technologies, the ones I've followed for years, Vontu being the most recent example, seeing them turn from unusable ideas into well marketed, coherent messages.
I hate being pressured into things. I hate my time being wasted. I hate worthless crap being peddled as the next big thing. Poor marketing, poor sales and boring technology is easy, I could do that on my own (and most probably would).
There is still one area in which I feel I have had experience that few others have. Not just in data security, although I'd like to meet one other person who has qualifications in nCipher, Ingrian, Vormetric and RSA. I also have qualifications from F5, Network Intelligence, Bluecoat, Infoblox and probably some others I've forgotten about along the way. In short, I find it all pretty simple to understand. Before I was a product manager however, I couldn't have told you whether one was more valuable than another, whether one would take off and another fall flat.
Having worked as hard as I ever have done as a PM, I now know what it takes to produce a winning product, and it isn't just hard work. Communication is a key factor of course, as in any business, but knowing your market is vital. Many US companies don't understand the UK and EMEA markets. I'm back now helping yet another US company break the UK, and the patterns are always the same. It seems to me that there is a market for this amongst other US technologies. If only I could bottle it once and repeat it over and over.