All very good points. Excellent read, thank you.
I don't believe a degree or technical skill in the Product area is an absolute requirement in every case, just as it isn't a requirement that the individual have financial planning or marketing creative experience. But it doesn't hurt and it certainly is a requirement that they understand those roles well enough to appreciate what information is required, when and expressed how.
But as said above the profile requirements can change depending on the expectation of the role (at Google, PdMs are expected to evaluate what is being built and how as well as why, since so many ccompany direction cdecisions are made at the Engineering level), and depending on the nature of Product and its customers themselves. If thr Customers are highly technical, the PdM better be too.
In some cases, however, the opposite is true. PdMs that are too technically focused can end up focusing on the wrong things, chasing product strategies purely because of the interestingness of the technology or not persisting a business opportunity because of an initial perceived technical risk.
So it depends! C