Profoto is more than a brand and a line of products. It is also the place where some of us work and spend our weekdays. Have you ever wondered who we are or what the thinking was behind the design of this or that piece of equipment? Then join us behind the scenes at Profoto!
With only about 50 employees at the headquarters in Stockholm, Profoto is not a large company. Still, there are plenty of opportunities to grow. Just ask Göran Marén, whose role has changed quite dramatically over the years.
“I’ve been here for ten years now,” says Göran. “I started out in the warehouse, picking carts. After a while, they asked me if I wanted to start working at R&D as an administrator. After a while I became Project Manager, and for about a year I’ve been one of the two Product Managers at Profoto.”
What does a Product Manager do?
“We have sort of a secret wish list of all the products that we want to invent. My responsible is, first of all, to advise which of these products we will start to develop. Secondly, I write a basic specification for the products and act as a key reference person during the actual development process. Thirdly, once the product has been completed, I’m responsible for introducing it to the market. Who would want it? What is it good for? That kind of stuff. Finally, I have to follow up on the release and try to understand how the product was actually received.”
That’s quite a lot…
“Luckily we are two Product Managers at Profoto, and we share projects between us.”
And what products have you managed so far?
What idea was it that you picked on the wish list that lead to the development of the Pro-B4?
“It was quite simple: to build the fastest battery generator possible. In other words, we wanted to improve what photographers can and cannot do on location. I think Profoto has a long history of designing amazing battery generators. The Pro-7b, for instance, set a whole new standard in the industry. That’s a very inspiring achievement and something that we wanted to do again, though even better.”
To follow the product all the way from idea to launch must be gratifying. Which part do you enjoy the most?
“I really enjoy it when you’ve decided on a certain idea and you start thinking about how to actually make it come true. It’s a very creative phase and great fun. All ideas are good ideas and it feels as if anything is possible. I really enjoy the creative side of marketing too. To finally introduce a product that you’ve been working on for years and years is incredibly rewarding.”
What about when you get to test the product for the very first time? Isn’t that a lot of fun?
“Well, you’d think so, and sometimes it. But testing a product is usually a very long process, and once you get to that stage it’s more of a relief than excitement, at least for me. Long before that, you usually assemble smaller functional units and test each of them separately. You don’t even think about putting them together until you are absolutely sure that they work flawlessly on their own. So, when we actually do put everything together, we expect it to work. What we then try to do is have the product tested by real-life photographers, and the feedback we get is crucial to make the product as good as it can be before actual launch.”
Again, what about the Pro-B4? When was that tried and tested for the first time?
“That was a pretty extreme case,” says Göran. “It was actually tested for the very first time when we lent it to Marcel Lämmerhirt who shot the promotional material for its launch.”
You mean when he shot the wakeboarders in Germany?
“Yes,” laughs Göran. “The very first thing that was shot with the Pro-B4 was the ad for the Pro-B4!”
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