Product managers I have seen (and I have seen many) often don't know zilch about technology, but even worse they usually also don't know much about their market, target audience/users, User Interfaces, project management, etc.
Consequently they simply don't know what they want and aren't able to explain it in one coherent paragraph of sentences. Once they would be able to explain it, the actual coding would be half as bad.
So if this guy complains that their projects back in the days at salon went bad, I'm not suprised. He's not a coder after all, he was a typical clueless product manager - started out as a journalist and suddenly he was responsible for a type of product he knew nothing about: CMSs, in addition to having no other qualification in software development or a related area (UI design, project management).
So am I surprised this project didn't succeed? LOL, of course not.
You wouldn't let a journalist build a space shuttle or a car now would you? But software? Sure, software is easy, anyone can do it. In the end, it's probably not harder than building a car, but not easier either. it just takes proper skills for all roles in the team, is all.