First, to define a rock-star PM, the person needs to be:
super smart, great communicator, fantastic listener
But the problem is that most really smart people that can communicate are not great listeners. These people, from a young age, could talk and argue their opinions very effectively. So many of these people become great engineers or salespeople (or even CEOs) where listening is important, but not the most important thing.
Great PMs need to incorporate feedback. They need to understand the customer. And they need to listen.
Unfortunately, the Venn Diagram overlap of super smart, great communicator, fantastic listener is a very small set … so finding a great PM is hard.
Another reason finding a great PM is hard is that a great PM will quickly get promoted in companies (probably faster than a great engineer or a great salesperson). The role of a PM is to interact with more people in the company than any other role (except maybe HR). so a great PM will meet more people and impress more people … and their talents will likely get noticed faster. This seems particularly true in big companies. So a great PM is more likely to become a VP faster than a great engineer or a great salesperson.
And great PMs often end up starting companies or get promoted to C-level positions at companies. The greatest PM in the world is probably Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, is a great PM. Unfortunately, you can’t hire Jobs or Zuckerberg … they’re not on the market. I often invest in people that are obviously strong PMs: like Brightroll CEO Tod Sacerdoti, Meebo CEO Seth Sternberg, and Thread cofounders Katherine Woo and Brian Phillips.
And we are looking for a great person. And I know they are out there. If you come across someone, even if they are still in college, please let me know.