Welcome to Product Stories with Kumara Raghavendra. This is a podcast where I cover topics relating to Product Management, Design, Technology and business with experts in the industry, from across the globe.
Product managers today, in fact all professionals today, need to be constantly learning new skills and engaging with new ideas to be able to perform well in their jobs. One of the best ways to learn is to read books. So, I thought of having a chat with today’s guest, Carlos Paz, who started the Product Book Club, that meets every month to discuss a book in the domain of product management. The once a month gathering is growing in popularity and I talk to Carlos today about how it all started and what his experience has been. He currently works as a Product Lead at Adyen, and we worked together at Booking.com a few years ago.
LinkedIn: Carlos Paz
Product Book Club
Carlos's book recommendations:
The Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olson
Inspired by Marty Cagan
The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug
Today’s guest is Gretchen Rodriguez, who is the Head of Product for Payments at Banco Santander. She has spent her professional career creating experiences at a global scale in the domains of e-commerce, digital transformation, and now in FinTech. She has been featured as one of the top 15 most influential Latinx Product Leaders by Product School. In today’s conversation, we talk about navigating the world of FinTech as a product manager, in a wide-ranging conversation spanning banking products, neobanks, blockchains, DeFi, and the most effective product practices for these domains.
LinkedIn: Gretchen Rodriguez
Today’s guest is Siddharth Varshney, who is the Head of New Global Consumer Initiatives at Cactus Communications. I’ve known Sid for over 8 years now, from the time we worked together at Reliance Jio. Back then, he was the go to person for validating new ideas and business cases. This was because he had a keen sense of how things came together and anything that passed his scrutiny stood a good chance of doing well. He has since worked at InfoEdge, where he was the Product Head for the New Homes Business. Now, he leads the suite of products under the Researcher Life umbrella at Cactus Communications, which we will talk more about today. Given his valuable experience in taking multiple products from zero to one, a phrase that Peter Thiel has popularised, the focus of the episode today is on taking products from zero to one, how to go about it, and dealing with the challenges that come with it.
LinkedIn: Siddharth Varshney
Today’s guest is Anuj Rathi, who is the VP for Growth and Revenue at Swiggy. He is among the top product leaders in India today and actively shares his views on product and startups both on Twitter and via talks on various public forums. Prior to Swiggy, he has led Product Management for the Buyer experience at Flipkart and Snapdeal.
In this episode, we talk about the core skills for a product leader, drawing anecdotes from his time at Swiggy. Anuj describes Swiggy’s transition from a small startup to one of the top tech companies in India, about aligning everyone in the company towards a strategic vision and direction, how he spends time between big new ideas and growing the core business, as well as thoughts on how to develop top product managers and retain them.
LinkedIn: Anuj Rathi
Today’s guest is Dharanidharan, or DD as he’s more fondly known, who is a Lead Product Manager at Careem, which is where I got to know him as a fellow Product Manager and as a friend. Prior to Careem, he has built products at Flipkart, Snapdeal and Melorra.
In this episode, we talk about one of the key responsibilities of a Product Manager - which is to create and manage product roadmaps. We talk about where one starts this process, and the role of the overarching product and business strategy. We explore how to create outcome oriented roadmaps, how to manage the expectations from senior leadership as well as from other stakeholders, how to manage dependencies and to collaborate with other teams, and how to incorporate a feedback mechanism for the roadmaps we build to ensure we are always moving in the right direction.
Today’s guest is Mrinal Manuj, who is a Senior Product Manager at Booking.com. He’s been my colleague at Practo and at Booking, and continues to be a good friend. Over the past few years, he has been working on products targeting users on the supply side of a marketplace, including building for healthcare providers internationally while at Practo and now for accommodation providers at Booking. In this episode, we talk about what it means to build products for the supply side of a marketplace and how to balance their needs with the needs of the customers on the demand side. We also talk about the challenges in building for a variety of types of supply providers, how to engage them as well as instill a sense of loyalty in them to a platform.
LinkedIn: Mrinal Manuj
Today’s guest is Aditya HK, who is an Analytics Manager at Swiggy, where he is working on topics spanning Delivery Experience Analytics, Demand Supply Planning, Core Logistics, Location Intelligence and Geo-spatial Analytics. Prior to this, he worked at Citibank on Retail Store Analytics, Customer Life Cycle Management and Credit Card Campaign Management. In this episode, Aditya and I talk about what makes a good customer experience, how companies measure it, and a framework he is working on to make prioritization decisions on ideas that focus on improving customer experience. We also talk about how Product Managers can work best with Analytics teams.
LinkedIn: Aditya HK
Today’s guest is Abhinav Chugh, who is the CEO of Peoplebox. Peoplebox is the third most essential tool for remote teams, as he describes it. But first, about Abhinav. He’s among the most energetic people I’ve ever met and is a living, breathing definition of an extrovert. He can strike up an insightful and engaging conversation on practically any topic under the Sun, ranging from the origins of the Gaelic language to the nuances of building and scaling a startup. And today, he’s agreed to be my guest on the podcast to talk about engaged and high performing teams.
LinkedIn: Abhinav Chugh
Today’s guest is Shesh Vasudevamurthy, who is a product EXECUTIVE coach. He has over two decades of experience in Product Management, Strategy Consulting, Product Marketing and Engineering roles. In recent years, Shesh has played product leadership roles at Amazon and Walmart, and has been an active coach, mentoring product managers and senior executives in the industry. And today, he’s agreed to be my guest on the podcast to talk about coaching, mentoring and professional development for product managers.
Today’s guest, Ziad Barbara, is a dear friend of mine. We worked together at Careem, which is the super app of the MENA region, providing ride-hailing, food & grocery delivery, as well as digital payments services. Careem was acquired by Uber in early-2019 and continues to operate independently as a fully-owned subsidiary of Uber. Ziad is a product leader in the company, working on the suite of products targeted at the supply side of Careem, or as they call them fondly and respectfully, Captains. I’ve learnt a lot from him while working with him, and I hope what we talk about today can help you learn from his experience as well.
LinkedIn: Ziad Barbara