By: John Caddell

When people in business say they want to be your partner, they usually mean this:

I want you to sell my stuff.

In fact, one of the most dispiriting situations in a product manager's career is getting your first great "partner" lead and discovering the inevitable: while you thought they wanted to sell your stuff, in fact they want you to sell their stuff.

There are other partnerships--technology partnerships, where one company uses another's technology as part of its product (in open innovation vernacular, this is often called in-licensing or out-licensing, depending on whether you're using or supplying the technology); joint ventures, where two or more companies share ownership of a third company which develops, manufacturers and/or markets a product; joint marketing relationships, where companies co-invest in marketing but sell side-by-side to customers; and referral relationships, where companies whose products don't overlap refer prospects to each other, sometimes for a fee or other consideration.

But most of the time, we're talking about somebody selling somebody else's stuff. In the next several posts, I'll talk about how to develop and structure that kind of partnership.

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