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Lessons In Product Management

Lessons In Product Management

By Path2Product
Path2Product's Mission is to bridge the gap in product management experience for aspiring product managers, so the Lessons In Product Management podcast is here to support that effort, as well as provide valuable insights to existing PMs and PM leaders.
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Crucial Career Conversations for Product Managers featuring Ryan Seamons - Founder at Groove and former Director of Product @Degreed
Grab your copy of the Career Clarity Cards from Groove to step up your career conversations game On today's episode, we decided to switch it up a bit. With the rise in popularity of platforms like Clubhouse and the popularity of AMA (ask me anything) sessions, I decided to start periodically running live podcast episodes with audience involvement. This was the first one, and I call these AMAA sessions (ask me almost) sessions, because we're going to focus on a particular topic. If you want to get involved in the live sessions, head over to and sign up for free to join the community. But unlike Clubhouse, these are recorded and will be shared on this podcast and the Path2Product youtube channel. Let's jump into the conversation I had with Ryan Seamons, Founder at Groove who formerly worked at Degreed as Director of Product and was one of the first PMs at LinkedIn to work on what we now know as LinkedIn Learning. Here's what we discussed: Ryan's path to Founding Groove and how his stops at LinkedIn, Degreed, and consulting led him there The three categories of conversations you should be having with your team How to lead up if your manager isn't having these conversations with you A fresh new take on the informal 360 review and leveraging that feedback to reflect and improve Why these conversations help facilitate cross-functional collaboration and alignment Advice on how to get PM experience that resonates with hiring managers, even before you formally get the job Ryan's book recommendation, "never split the difference" and the key question of "how can I make this work?" The three types of Product culture and what the work/life balance looks like at each How important a cover letter is, what it is, and the modern version of it
March 22, 2021
Validating Solutions At Scale featuring Felix Watson Jr. - Product Manager @ Microsoft
If you're trying to break into Product Management, sign up for the April Cohort of Jae Taylor's PM Career Accelerator today!  On today's episode, I got to chat with Felix Watson Jr., Product Manager at Microsoft. With Microsoft's products being used by so many companies, I was curious to hear how Felix approached validating solutions at Scale, and he was kind enough to join the pod to discuss. And as an added bonus, Felix shared some killer advice for engineers looking to transition into Product as well as how Product Managers can work more effectively with their engineering counterparts. Here's what we discussed: Felix started his career in computer engineering 5 years into his engineering career, Felix discovered Product Management The use case that sparked Felix's fire for Product and his desire to transition The path Felix took to make that leap from Engineer to Product Felix's first role as a PM for Microsoft with the Dynamics 365 product Now Felix works on the Azure team, supporting the support engineers with internal and customer-facing tools Felix's advice for transitioning into Product and how you don't necessarily need side projects to prove your abilities The ultimate example of leading by influence How important it is for engineers to understand the customer and the use cases (the "why") behind what you're working on The best insights come from qualitative research, which doesn't scale, but you can use quant data to validate the scale of the qual insight How Felix systematically leverages customers to ensure they're solving the right problem in the right way Why Felix didn't focus on industry-specific solutions rather on a horizontal solution to meet the scale and variety of customers Microsoft serves The risks of trying to validate solutions at scale What Felix would have done differently in validating qual insights with quant data How important it is to define success metrics upfront to know whether your effort was a success or failure
March 15, 2021
Effective Collaboration Between Customer Success and Product Management featuring Bhavika Kochhar - CSM at Algonomy and Founder of In Customer Success
As we celebrate International Women's Day today, I'm super excited to have a woman on the podcast who is making waves in the world of Customer Success. On this episode of Lessons in Product Management, I have Bhavika Kochhar, a Customer Success Manager at Algonomy and she has been in similar roles for the last 5 years. She also a founder at IncustomerSuccess, CSLadies, the Bhavika&Lotte CS Chat Show and has many other initiatives in the works in her continued dedication to the field of Customer Success. And today, we're going to discuss how impactful it can be when CS Managers and Product Managers collaborate well together Here's what we discussed: The role of Customer Success How that role intersects with Product Management  And how the Customer Success org can be a gold-mine of insights for the Product Team The benefit of a technical background in Customer Success and how PMs can help CS team develop those technical competencies Why Customer Success is an organizational job, not just the CSMs job Connect with Bhavika on LinkedIn
March 8, 2021
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome with Phyllis Njoroge - Product Manager at Redfin
Don't forget to join the MentorMesh community for free and if you're looking to get into Product Management, sign up for the MentorMesh PM Career Accelerator! On today's episode, I sat down with Phyllis Njoroge, Product Manager at Redfin and imposter syndrome connoisseur. Phyllis drops some great wisdom on what imposter syndrome is, where it comes from, the #1 way to combat it and how important it is to create a culture where imposter system can't exist much less thrive. Here's what we discussed: The definition of imposter syndrome and self-doubt How imposter syndrome pops up when you find yourself in a new setting Where imposter syndrome comes from and how a growth mindset is the #1 way to fight it Why growth mindset needs to be applied universally and what that means How sometimes PM skills runs counter to how you personally live and who you inherently are The most qualified people aren't always the one who has to make the decision Your manager should be your ally and coach. Find a good one and get out of toxic environments if you're in one There is no failure in learning Why it's better to ask stupid questions than make stupid mistakes How to create the kind of culture where imposter syndrome doesn't exist Phyllis's top professional growth methods: The power of reflection upon your own experiences for learning Consuming great content from places like Audible or podcasts Produce your own content from your reflections Network with others who have gone before you Connect with Phyllis on LinkedIn and if you're on Clubhouse, you'll probably see/hear her there too!
March 1, 2021
Stakeholder Empathy - Never ASSUME Stakeholder Priorities
Be sure to join the free community at and check out the PM Career Accelerator from MentorMesh.  On this episode, I dive into the topic of stakeholder empathy. Assuming stakeholder priorities is the antithesis to empathy. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to start building trust with stakeholders and creating alignment for your organization as a PM.  In this conversation I cover: Internal Stakeholders - the Product Team Internal Stakeholders - your Cross-Functional Partners External Stakeholders - your customers or users And I give a few questions to be asking to each group to start generating empathy and aligning your efforts as a PM. Enjoy! If you want to become a member of, it's free to sign up. Just click the link and come on in!
February 25, 2021
How To Level Up Your PM Career - Featuring Jae Taylor - Staff PM @ Twitter and former Director of Product @ Salesforce
Don't forget to check out and check out the PM Career Accelerator if you're looking to break into Product! Here's what we discussed: How Jae started in Tech without a degree or connections and transitioned from engineering manager to Sr. PM at Microsoft to launch his PM career Why Jae started the platform and the goal of the community What an entrepreneurial mindset is and why it’s so important to PMs The need to start building something now and how impactful that is to landing your first PM role To get started as a PM before you become one, go find a problem and fix it How building an MVP doesn’t always require code The importance to always pursue growth. Always! Why the MentorMesh accelerator program is so powerful The importance of community And the power of curiosity and asking really good questions Connect with Jae: LinkedIn
February 22, 2021
Good PMs Never Assume Development Effort
Accelerate your path to product by joining us at Path2Product to get the hands-on experience you need to land your first Product job.  On this episode, I break down why you should never assume development effort. Save yourself some headache and heartache. Save your developers some stress. And save your cross-functional partners the disappointment. 
February 18, 2021
How Product Management Can Collaborate More Effectively With UX, featuring Zach Daley - UX Design Lead
On today's episode, Zach Daley joins us again to share insights on the opportunities he sees for Product and UX to collaborate more effectively.  Here's what we discussed: Zach's role as a design lead and how it's structured like a "player-coach" type of role The overlap and collaborative nature of the UX and PM relationship And the differences between UX and PM and who "owns" which pieces Why UX and PM might share user research but why UX MUST lead it How UX should own and have the biggest stake in the overall User Experience The tricky balance between deadlines and the time it takes to validate good UX Why the agent/principle problem between product teams and executives/boards can create tensions How PMs can help their UX counterparts The need for PMs to have understanding of the UX practice and goals And why UX should care about business goals
February 15, 2021
Never Assume Executives Are Correct
MentorMesh PM Career Accelerator - Join Today! Okay, I know this might sound controversial, but hey... our jobs as PMs are not to be order-takers. Our jobs are to prioritize customer problems that align to driving business outcomes. If our executives press us to prioritize things that would limit our ability to do those two things, then we should push back. Enjoy the episode as I relate this topic to the first three and how to help prevent top-down dictates in your PM role.  
February 11, 2021
Creating Products for Product People, Featuring Heather James - Founder of Product-Led Alliance
Identifying gaps in the market and building solutions to fill those gaps to solve customer problems is a key part of product management. On today's episode, Heather James, Founder of the Product-Led Alliance, dropped by the pod to share how and why she Founded the Product-Led Alliance, the gap she saw in the market, and how she and the PLA team are filling those gaps. Here's what we discussed: The launch of PLA's new podcast, "For the Love of Product" What you'll get by joining the Product-Led Alliance community The gap in the market that PLA is setting out to fill How Heather views PLG, and how it's broader than traditional SaaS businesses Why it's important to PM your career with a roadmap for growth The stages/themes of the Product-Led Festival Diversity and why it's so critical for creating great products How Heather came to decide on a conference for Product Ops and how curiosity was the driver behind it Connect with PLA: Heather on LinkedIn Product-Led Alliance PLA Slack Product-Led Festival
February 8, 2021
Good Product Managers Never Assume Competitors Are Correct
On part 1 of "Never Assume Competitors Are Correct", I'll discuss the pitfalls of copying competitors and why it's never a good idea.  If you're looking to get into Product Management, be sure to check us out at where you'll have the opportunity to gain the hands-on experience you need to break into your first role as a Product Manager
February 4, 2021
Get Started w/ Jobs-To-Be-Done, Featuring Mike Belsito - Co-Founder of Product Collective and Co-Organizer of INDUSTRY: The Product Conference
Sign up today for the INDUSTRY conference and get 20% off using promo code: path2product20 The Industry Conference - Sign Up Here On today's episode, I got to sit down with Mike Belsito, Co-Founder of Product Collective and Co-Organizer of INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, and co-host of the podcast! Here's what we discussed: Mike has been involved with early-stage startups since 2005 Right now, Mike is the Co-Founder of Product Collective and the INDUSTRY conference Mike is the co-host of podcast. Check it out! And he also teaches as an Adjunct Professor What Jobs Theory is and Jobs-to-be-Done Why customers don't buy our products, they're hiring our products to solve a problem The influence of one of the inventors of Jobs-to-be-Done, Bob Moesta Baby steps you can take in your jobs-to-be-done journey The pushes and pulls of the "struggling moment" How anxiety and inertia plays a big role in hiring your product for their job Why Empathy drives the Jobs-to-be-done framework Check our the resource Mike mentioned below: The Wired Group for JTBD Training and Resources Shape Up Book by Basecamp (free digitally or paperback option)
February 1, 2021
Good Product Managers Never Assume Customers Are Correct
As we continue the "Never Assume" bonus series, we're going to focus this week's episode on feature requests and why we should never assume the solutions customers propose are the right ones. 
January 28, 2021
Are You Data Drunk or Data Driven? Featuring Emily Reid - Product Manager at AgeRate
You've heard it said that Product Managers and Companies as a whole should be data-driven, but did you know that too much data isn't a good thing? It's like a good wine. The right amount leads to a good time, but having too much can leave you drunk and hungover. On today's episode, Emily Reid, Product Manager at AgeRate comes on the pod to share the difference between being data-driven and data-drunk and how the difference will impact your business. Here's what we discussed: Emily's role as a PM at AgeRate The evolution of where AgeRate is at and where they're looking to go Why the things that tick us off as PMs can be the best sources of innovation How the biggest problem with data is lack of data literacy inside of orgs The problems with over-tracking data Why data cleanup is necessary over time as old data becomes irrelevant Data only matters if it's relevant Why starting with why is critical when deciding what data to track How to leverage data to level up your career How to lead up in your company and democratize data literacy Get scrappy in your learning and dabble with tools that offer free trials The power of staying curious and continually learning Emily's Medium Brain Station Courses Naked Statistics Book
January 25, 2021
Good Product Managers Never Assume They're Correct
On the first episode of the Never Assume series, I break down why you should never assume you're correct. It's not our job to come up with ideas. It's our job to prioritize what we work on based on how it's going to reach our business objectives, and we'll never know we're on the right track unless we validate our assumptions and hypotheses! 
January 21, 2021
Leading Through Influence as a Product Manager, featuring Tunde Oke - Product Manager @ Dell
You always hear that Product Management requires leadership through influence, but have you ever considered being asked to influence the processes of other departments or the tools each department might use to get their jobs done? Well, on today's episode we get to hear from Tunde Oke, Product Manager of Developer Enablement & DevOps Experience @ Dell. Before working on Developer Enablement, Tunde was brought into Dell to lead and product manage a company-wide digital transformation And he came on the pod to share that experience with us. Here's what we discussed: Tunde's role with Dell and what brought him from IBM to Dell How and why he founded Product Academy Africa to help mature the product discipline on the continent of Africa Tunde defined what Product Management means to him The mission behind Product Academy Africa and what drives Tunde as a person and a professional How Tunde transitioned from IBM to Dell to take on the task of digitally transforming the Product org Why digital transformation isn't just a technical challenge but an organizational one Strategy isn't one-size-fits-all and requires a clear understanding of your situation and challenge The middle status conformity effect and how change threatens existing competencies There needs to be a one-team mindset with a single company objective to align around How you prioritize objectives when going through major change or transformation The role of the evangelist in transformation Why you should think outside of money when thinking about incentivizing change Connect with Tunde: LinkedIn Connect with Product Academy Africa: Product Academy Africa
January 18, 2021
The Partnership Between Product Marketing and Product Management, featuring Abby Hehemann - Sr. Product Marketing Manager @ GetResponse
Huge shout out to this episode's sponsor, Jacobs Creative Services. Check them out at: Jacobs Creative Services On today's episode, I sat down with Abby Hehemann, Sr. Product Marketing Manager @ GetResponse where we explored what the ideal partnership looks like between Product Marketing and Product Management.  Here's what we discussed: How Abby got into Product Marketing, pivoting from Customer Success within her company The great culture of professional development and growth at GetResponse Abby sees the PMM (Product Marketing) role as being a "dot connector" within the org Pirate metrics and why you should care... AARRR! Where gaps can arise between product development to marketing and selling it The ideal working relationship between PMM and PM - this was GREAT! Huge take-away for me! Why building relationships is the cornerstone of quality collaboration How early the Product Marketing team SHOULD be involved in Product Development What GetReponse does to decide Go and No-Go decision for product prioritization If you can't market it, should you build it? How GetResponse optimizes their team structure by specializing on channels versus parts of the product If you're new to working with PMMs, how to get started in the most productive way Connect with Abby: LinkedIn
January 11, 2021
The Best Products Come From Focusing on Customer Outcomes, featuring Randal Whitmore Head of Growth @ Difrent
Here's what we discussed: What Difrent does as an organization Randal's role as Head of Growth Where Randal started his career and how he transitioned into Product Management How Difrent helped to quell the COVID storm in the UK The massive challenge that Randal was given to solve and the 7-day window he had to do it How the team approached the challenge and the massive team it took to tackle this hairy problem The process of developing and validating the MVP Why you'll likely always have to make some assumptions and why it's important to call those out and document them How the Design Sprint process was utilized brilliantly to tackle this challenge The initial launch of the product and how it scaled so quickly to all of the UK Support mechanisms Randal and his team put into place and the MVP process around the support infrastructure The culture and buy-in around the entire effort How crisis can help break down barriers that would typically be in place The personal driver behind Randal's passion in leading this product development effort How true user empathy leads to amazing outcomes The risks that Difrent identified early on and how they combined qual and quant data to validate the scale of the risk Why communication is such a vital skill for Product Managers
January 4, 2021
Why precise definition leads to concrete solutions with Aazar Ali Shad - Head of Growth @ UserPilot
Whether you're thinking about your target market or your target persona and their problem(s), coming to a precise definition of what problem you're trying to solve and who has that problem is absolutely key for developing concrete, valuable solutions.  That's what Aazar and I talk about on this episode, but here's some of the other things we discussed: How Aazar got started in his career and how he got started in startups in Germany His current role in UserPilot as Head of Growth The environmental shifts that opened a big opportunity for Aazar and the founding team of eComply Why it costs valuable time when starting with technology or opportunity versus a clearly defined problem How potential customers can overvalue what they currently have  The best solutions are the ones where you remove tasks people don't want to do Why basing a business on a political/legal opportunity can kill you if the laws aren't enforced How to pivot when you face hurdles Finding Product-Market-Fit How sometimes it matters more about which market is ready for your solution versus which market you think you can serve better Connect with Aazar: LinkedIn
December 28, 2020
Product Managing the Employee Experience w/Anthony Vaughan - Founder of E1B2 Collective
Here's what we discussed: The big problems in the employee experience that Anthony found first-hand How Anthony validated the scale of the problem across businesses The behavioral driver creating this problem and how that was the key challenge to overcome Why cultural issues are driven by old-school mindsets of HR and how those sands are shifting The data driving the value behind the E1B2 Collective How moving upstream to the root of the problem is how to maximize impact to change And key takeaways for how to manage organizational change Connect with Anthony: LinkedIn
December 21, 2020
What most organizations don't understand about agile with Randy Smith, Agile Coach - Owner of Signature Agile
Here's what we discussed: Randy shared what he does as an Agile coach, and how he's different from others The problem with falling in love with solutions rather than the problem Some of the forces that work against organizational agility How to shift from a silo'd organization to a collaborative product-led company Why the whole organization needs to be involved in product development to stay agile How to prioritize feature requests or potential problems to solve Why it's important to anchor what you do to your vision, mission, and goals Check out the book recommendations from Randy! Product Roadmaps Relaunched Story mapping by Jeff Patton Connect with Randy: LinkedIn
December 14, 2020
Removing barriers to adoption with Dr. Kayla Lee - Growth Product Manager at IBM
On today's episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Kayla Lee. Kayla is currently a Growth PM at IBM working in IBM's Quantum group and we had a great discussion on how IBM approaches go to market with cutting edge technologies like quantum computing and how reducing the barriers to entry is one of the most critical aspects of scaling adoption.  Here's what we discussed: Kayla's role with IBM and how she's helping to grow IBM's Quantum business through community building and partnerships Kayla dispells the myths of Quantum computing and why early entrants in the market are poised to dominate First movers won't always have the advantage when it comes to new tech. It's all about outcomes and the outcomes you can deliver With new products, but especially new technologies, barriers to adoption have to be super low to be successful Use cases should be developed and understood going into bringing new products to market, based on new tech. It's about outcomes! Part of democratizing Quantum is democratizing learning around it and making it easily understandable as an entry point A freemium model might be another great way to lower that barrier to entry and get people using new technologies Words can be scary, especially if they seem too new or out of reach, so being careful of the words you use is important as well to adoption Finding the right abstraction level and being able to meet people where they are To meet people where they are, you need to deeply understand user journeys How to get started in Quantum, whether you're interested in the deep tech of it or the product side of it The power of mentorship in your early days as a PM and as you grow in your Product career Check out the book Kayla recommended: Lean Startup - Eric Reis If you want to learn more about IBM and Quantum: Quantum Educators Program Quantum Computing Course IBM Quantum Experience system access Qiskit Software Development Kit
November 23, 2020
Taking ownership and never settling as a Product Manager with Thane Ringler - speaker, author, podcast host, and development coach
On today's episode, I spoke with Thane Ringler, speaker, author, podcast host, and development coach. Thane is a good friend, but this conversation isn't going to be your typical product management discussion. Thane doesn't have a PM background, but what he's about to share absolutely applies to you as a product manager. If product launches fail, it's on us and we MUST take ownership of the success or failure of our products. And we exist to make the lives of our customers and users better, so we should never settle for "okay" or "good enough".  Here's what we discussed: Thane's mission to help people live better and work more effectively through developing the mindset of a professional athlete Thane's life journey into marriage, moving, and building a family My thoughts on how sports helped shape my view of growth, leadership, and taking ownership Thane's definition of taking ownership Why failing isn't failing if you have a growth mindset How reflecting on our mistakes for how to not make them again is a muscle that must be exercised to see growth Finding someone to blame is easy. Owning outcomes is what leaders do.  We HAVE to be able to lead ourselves well before we could ever lead others well How fragile culture can be and why you must fight to maintain a healthy culture The principle of "leading up" when you don't have a position of authority Even when things aren't our fault, there's always something we can do to improve the situation or could have done The difference between ownership and control and there are only two things we can truly control Why we can't define our identity by what we do How we don't have to be recognized to sleep well at night We don't have to take ownership for other people's actions Why leading out of love might sound soft but it's incredibly powerful What never settling looks like in a product sphere Why never settling and never stopping are two different things Why discipline equals freedom Check out Thane's books and courses: Book Website
November 16, 2020
The importance of soft launches to your brand - Peter Knudson, Manager of Product Management at Unity
On today's episode, I got to speak with Peter Knudson, Manager of Product Management at Unity. Before Unity, Peter was a PM at both Zynga and Activision, pretty much spending his entire career as a Product Manager. Peter shares his product career journey and some great lessons he's learned along the way.  Here's what we discussed: Peter's background and how he pretty much started his career in Product with Zynga Peter describes himself as a Gaming PM How Peter got involved in the Gamining industry as he interned for a wildly popular card game creator Why "growing up" as a PM at Zynga was such a catalyst to Peter's career How Unity is the company that helps other game companies create games The growth partnership between Facebook and Zynga How product goals and user experience can come into conflict Why the gaming industry is a lot like investing where you have to build a portfolio to get a couple of big winners How understanding your market is key to success and the importance of talking to customers, even in B2C settings The importance of soft launches to your brand How product management differs greatly from company to company The importance of data analysis in product Why the fundamentals are key regardless of the company, but exploring focuses as a PM is super important for your career How PMs can make the same mistakes as entreprenuers in not validating solution fit when trying to solve customer problems A common interview question Jr. PMs get  Adam Nash's Blog: 3 buckets of feature categorization Ken Norton Blog Andrew Chen Growth Blog Hooked by Nir Eyal Inspired by Marty Cagan
November 9, 2020
Managing Stakeholder Feedback with Preethi Sekar - Product Manager @ L&T Technology Services
On today's episode, I sat down with Preethi Sekar, Product Manager at L&T Technology Servies. On this episode Preethi shares the dangers of taking product requirements from internal stakeholders and not including users in the research and feedback to determine what those product requirements should be. Preethi's story highlights how industry experience does not guarantee you understand your customer. Here's what we talked about: Preethi has a diverse 7 years of B2B and B2C product management, and today she's working in aerospace Before aerospace, Preethi was working in the automotive industry, where she learned great lessons about managing stakeholder feedback How Preethi was handcuffed by her executive stakeholders by not being allowed to work directly with the customer When the product launched to market, it was a failure, and it turned out that the stakeholders didn't fully understand the problem they were trying to solve Due to the failure, more than half the team was let go, but fortunately, Preethi survived and was tasked with fixing the problem The team scrapped the initial product and started from scratch One of the biggest stakeholder problems was how misaligned they all were Preethi put her foot down saying that every meeting with her stakeholders had to include all four stakeholders to ensure alignment Secondly, Preethi demanded to speak with users so they could understand, truly, where they failed the first time Preethi mobilized a feedback engine through emails, phone calls, and surveys to get a better understanding of the problem and the context of the customer The stakeholders didn't want to give up the power of determining requirements, but they eventually relented, knowing they didn't truly understand how to solve the problem After talking to the users, Preethi really understood the problem and where they missed the first time The re-release of the product was a success, and Preethi saw user engagement skyrocket after the new product launched Preethi ended the conversation by saying how talking to users is a must and user feedback should trump stakeholder feedback, even though stakeholder feedback is still valuable Join us on one of the most active Facebook groups out there: PM Facebook Group
November 2, 2020
Iterating your way to success with Liyana Sulaiman - Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder @ Pollen
On today's episode, I sat down with Liyana Sulaiman, serial entrepreneur and Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder at Pollen. Pollen helps amplify brands by helping them convert social followers into a seller community. I love Liyana's story of how micro-failures can lead you through the necessary iterations to validate the market opportunity, your business model, and product market-fit. Liyana is super smart, thoughtful, and intentional in her work, and I'm excited for you to hear what she had to say.  Here's what we discussed: How Pollen is all about democratizing opportunity for citizens of Southeast Asia to earn extra income  The origin story of Pollen and why Liyana and her best-friend co-founder started it Pollen went through several rounds of iterations, trying to validate various hypotheses for the business model How Liyana and Pollen went about validating how Pollen could create and capture value from both sides of the market Why solving one problem is often not enough and how quickly the scope of the problems you need to solve can grow How Liyana and her co-founder navigated the complex situations they found themselves in to identify where and when they needed to pivot Questions you need to ask yourself as a PM or a startup founder Why defining the problem space well helps you identify the right opportunity The process Liyana recommends when you're building something from scratch How the cornerstone of product success is identifying your actual customer and the right problems to solve for them Why you should even challenge your mission and vision early on to make sure you're pursuing the right thing, in the right context Where Pollen is at today and how they're now well-positioned for rapid growth Here are the books Liyana Recommended: Lean Product Playbook - Dan Olsen My Product Management Toolkit - Marc Abraham
October 26, 2020
You're not your customer w/ Evan Groom - Product Manager at Audio Technica
On today's episode, I sat down with Evan Groom, Product Manager at Audio Technica. Throughout this series on why products fail, we've looked through the lens of startup founders and their experiences. Today, Evan shares lessons he's learned in a global company and industry leader. We talk about what pitfalls you might run into in well-established organizations that could inhibit the success of your product launches or kill them altogether. Excited for you to hear what Evan has to say, so let's get started.  Here's what we discussed: Audio Technica was a great fit for Evan's educational background as an Audio Engineer How Evan worked his way from packing and shipping to support and then into Product and has been a PM for 4 years now Why it's beneficial to have relationships with members of other departments as a PM and how his multiple roles with AT helped in his transition to Product What AT (Audio Technica) looks like from an organizational level, starting with how HQ is based in Japan How being a global company forces perspective changes due to the organic diversity There is software involved in AT products, but AT is primarily a hardware company Why we can never assume we perfectly know the market or the customer when making product decisions The combination of customer insight and data are key in making product decision How tools like Qualtrics can help gather quant data to aid in decision making Why data isn't the end all be all and data is only as the questions you ask and how well the data you're tracking aligns with the questions you're trying to have answered The importance of being scrappy as a PM to gather the right data How complex product documentation (PRDs) can inhibit the success of your products Any documentation needs to be a living and breathing thing versus something that never changes after the initial draft in "idea" phase Why you need to be willing to "burn the ships" How important mentorship is for new and aspiring PMs.  Check out AIPMM: AIPMM Connect with Evan: Evan's LinkedIn Connect with me: LinkedIn Email
October 19, 2020
Finding the right value metrics and business model w/Vytenis Pakenas - CEO of Lucid Agreements
On today's episode, I sat down with Vytenis Pakenas, CEO of Lucid Agreements. His 15-year journey from multi-time startup founder to CEO is pretty amazing. Today, Vytenis stopped by the podcast to share some key learnings from his JobRely startup experience. From business model fit to finding the right value metrics to track, there's so much to take away from this conversation, so let's get started.  Here's what we discussed: How Lucid Agreements is helping to arrange meeting notes verbally, capture action  items and assign tasks in tools like Jira and Asana Vytenis's journey from multi-time startup founder to CEO How JobRely got started and the inspiration of it The business model flaws when first launching JobRely How vanity metrics impaired the vision of JobRely early on and how they changed how they looked at data Why you shouldn't give too much away, because you have to capture value at some point to maintain a business Why marketing shouldn't be invested in until you have product-market-fit and a business model that leads to repeatable, predicatbale outcomes How overreliance on 3rd party tools can sink you business overnight Where the big pivot happened and why Why you should be thinking about profitability from day one and how that flies in the face of common startup advice The importance of tracking the right value metrics and why mentorship can help you figure that out How sci-fi novels can help you think bigger and broader toward disruptive innovation Why the ability to explain complex ideas concretely and concisely is a super-power in and of itself How listening to the market and your customers is the second super-power for product people Connect with Vytenis: Vytenis LinkedIn Connect with Lucid Agreements: Lucid Agreements LinkedIn Sign up for early access: Early Access
October 12, 2020
Timing is everything w/ Mads Petersen, Director of Founder Institute and VP of Product at OmniBnk
Here's what we discussed: How Mads was an entrepreneur since high school. At the young age of 16, Mads started his first business From Denmark and educated in London, Mads always knew he wanted to have his own company Living all over Europe, with a fascination in tech, Mads now lives in Bogota Columbia with his wife and is VP of Product at a FinTech company, OmniBnk After seeing the future in Crypto, Mads had friends who convinced him to jump in early and do something interesting with cryptocurrency None of his friends, and Mads included, were technical, so the team outsourced the initial site to a team in Nepal The concept was to be able to accept crypto to actually purchase products, and BitBrochure would aggregate products that could be purchased with crypto for crypto owners For the first two iterations of the product, there was zero user research After not seeing traction, Mads and his team started soliciting user feedback Outside of user testing, Mads and his team started benchmarking against competitors and really diving into the details of why they weren't getting traction The understanding of how crypto owners viewed their coins also influenced the number of users who actually wanted to cash in for physical goods Why the UX and visual interface of the site also impacted adoption How timing can impact the success or failure of your startup Great advice to wrap up the conversation! Connect with Mads: LinkedIn Check out the book: Martin Dawes - wake up and sell the coffee
October 5, 2020
The value of focused product management with Piyush Madhukar, Sr. Product Manager at ServiceNow and former Co-Founder or Shopnrelax
On today's episode, I had a great conversation with Piyush Madhukar, Senior Product Manager at ServiceNow. Piyush founded a startup back in 2012 called Shopnrelax. Through this failed startup experience, Piyush learned some very valuable lessons that he's carried into his product and senior product management roles. I'm so grateful Piyush came on to share what he learned, so let's get started.  Here's what we discussed: The inspiration for Shopnrelax and how his family's professional background impacted it How two seemingly very different target industries, grocery stores and libraries, had very similar problems The cultural nuance and mental models that prevented acceptance of online purchases Why solving a problems half-way can sometimes be just as bad as not solving it at all 2012 was still early days for India in the mass adoption of online payments and fraud was frequent in online shopping How he uncovered the "touch and feel" culture for grocery shopping and how that key insight showed why they couldn't scale their grocery offering What he would have done differently
September 28, 2020
When to pivot, persevere, or give up w/ Aditya Kakrania - Co-Founder of Scoar
Welcome back to Prodcast as we continue our "Why Products Fail" series. On today's episode, I spoke with Aditya Kakrania, multi-time startup founder. We talked through Aditya's first startup, Foomore, how it grew through clever growth hacks and community building but how timing and environmental issues brought Foomore to its knees. This is a great lesson in why startups need to consider the fragility of its business, especially when the business is overly reliant on a very specific market. We also talked about the important topic of knowing when to give up pivot or persevere and the importance of having a strong founding team to navigate what could be a very emotional and challenging decision. Let's get started.  Here's what we discussed: How Aditya got started in entrepreneurship and his family legacy Aditya's fascination with numbers and why he majored in finance and got his CA license (similar to CPA in the US) Why he started his current startup, Scoar and the problem he's trying to solve in helping shape career paths for aspiring professionals in India primarily The first startup that Aditya launched, starting with a food truck How Aditya and an old friend decided to disrupt the in-dining experience in India Why the best marketing to land the initial restaurants was free, focused on social proofing The undisputed importance of talking to your customers or prospective customers Why you need to understand who your "customer" actually is and how it might span wider than the initial customer you have in mind The impact that major competitors and brands can have on your success or failure How Aditya tried to fend off major competitors and extreme environmental challenges The importance of team and how personal relationships can be a hinderance, even when you think they would be an advantage The difficulty of trying to run a startup part-time How Aditya pivoted from the FoodTech space to EdTech Connect with Aditya: Aditya's LinkedIn Scoar LinkedIn Page Scoar Website
September 21, 2020
How to be successful when entering crowded markets with Max and Patrick, Co-Owners of America One Luxury Real Estate
This is episode two of the Why Products Fail series and on this episode, I sat down with Max de Melo and Patrick Niederdrenk, Co-Owners of America One Luxury Real Estate, to talk about how to successfully break into crowded markets and why so many fail trying. Whether you're launching a startup or in a product team trying to introduce a new product into an existing and crowded market, you'll be glad you took the time to listen.  Here's what we talked about: Both originally from Germany, Max and Patrick knew they wanted to work together and knew that real estate is where they wanted to focus How they landed on Arizona as the geographic market to pursue and how a vacation to Scottsdale solidified Arizona as that key location they would focus on The level of due diligence before diving into the market How you need to immerse yourself in the world you're breaking into so you can know the ins and outs of it before ever stepping into it Why Max and Patrick started with homes in the lower price points early on and why their "luxury" name doesn't prevent them from still working in the lower price point homes The way they re-framed their thinking of the term "luxury" and how it has shaped their customer service strategy What went into their decision to completely integrate their business vertically How personalization is factored into every aspect of their offering Why it's so important to truly understand your customer to serve them well How important it is to check the expectations you have going into a crowded market and how that impacts success and failure rates Any new business or product needs to have a long-term view rather than setting expectations strictly on short-term successes or results The importance of spending money (wisely) to make money. Reinvesting in yourself and the business is a MUST And the importance of building and maintaining a quality reputation for sustained success Connect with Max and Patrick: LinkedIn
September 14, 2020
New Series! Why Products Fail - Episode One with Kevin Garrett - Co-Founder of Food4All Global
On today's episode, I sat down with Kevin Garret, Founder and CEO of Food4All. What started out as volunteer work in urban farming turned into a passion-based business to help lower-income families develop a livelihood around the world. Kevin learned many lessons on his startup journey, and what he learned from key, early failures helped to shape his startup's success today.  Here's what we talked about: The origin story of how urban farming in the Bay Area turned into an ag-tech startup for the developing world After realizing this could be a business, Kevin and his team jouned an incubator that helped develop the idea and transition into an accelerator How his time in the accelerator helped prepare him for the rigor of running a startup Why his first big sale turned into his first big failure How Kevin's attempt to reinvent himself reinvigorated the business What the pivot looked like and what the aha moment was How Kevin leveraged his network from previous work engagements to open new opportunities and revenue models for his startup Why removing barriers for your customers are critical The challenges of bootstrapping and why approaching your boostrapped startup WILL look different than a startup with VC funds The power of reframing, contextualizing customer problems and how they're solving those problems today Follow Kevin and Food4All:  LinkedIn Food4AllGlobal Download the app
September 7, 2020
New Series Kickoff - Why Products Fail
This is the announcement of our new series kicking off on September 6th called "Why Products Fail"  Also announcing a new platform to democratize product management experience for aspiring product managers that will be launching at the end of September! Stay tuned for more details and updates and the platform progresses toward release! 
August 31, 2020
Earning company-wide buy-in through corporate storytelling with Kristy Olinger - SVP Product Management
On today's episode, I sat down with Kristy Olinger, Portfolio Optimization Manager at Citizens Bank, and former SVP of Product at Bank of America. In Kristy's experience, with or without direct authority, it's vital for Product Managers and Product Leaders to gain buyin through influence, and Kristy has found storytelling to be the #1 tool for earning company-wide buyin. That's what we're going to dig into today, so let's get started.   Here's what we talked about: The underappreciated skill of corporate story-telling Kristy's podcast "the opposite of small talk" How different companies function in terms of how much authority PMs have Why even when you have authority, sociliting feedback is crucial for buy in and better decision making Even without direct authority, PMs have direct responsibility for outcomes Knowing when to stand your ground since the buck ultimately does stop with you Why the best strategy fails if you fail to consider and nurture implementation How the jobs we have are complex, and it's our job to make what we're doing simple, understandable, and compelling There's always more than one path we CAN take, so getting buy-in is critical for the path you've chosen How storytelling is the #1 way to gain that buy-in Why understanding your audience is key to telling the right story the right way Get started with corporate storytelling at:
August 24, 2020
The Partnership Between User Research and Product Management with Nikki Anderson - User Research Lead @ Zalando and Founder of User Research Academy
On today's episode, I sat down with Nikki Anderson, User Research Lead at Zalando and Founder of User Research Academy. Nikki started her user research career about 7 years ago, with a foundation in quantitative research but has since shifted focus to specialize in qualitative user research where Nikki has worked in B2B, B2C, B2B2C and has both worked as a freelancer and worked in corporate settings. After having started her career in New York, Nikki has since moved to Germany where Zalando is based. With such a robust and diverse background in user research Nikki had a ton of great advice and insight to share.  Here's what we discussed: Some of the biggest misconceptions of user research Why quant or qual data alone is not enough to make decisions The trust cost of doing user research and the cost of not doing it Low cost ways to source user feedback What Nikki has learned throughout her career that she wants other user researchers to know The difference between user research and UX design  Why planning and purpose are essential to the value of research How to influence executives to care about user research What a great partnership looks like between user research and product management in setting priority for what you build How to know if you're doing user research right in a well-resourced company Ways to get scrappy if you're a user research team of one How Product Managers can do user research on their own Here's the resources: Google's Heart Framework Podcasts: Awkward Silences, Dollars to Donuts & Mixed Methods Books: Just Enough Research by Erika Hall; Practical Empathy by Indi Young; Quantifying the User Experience by Jeff Sauros Recommended resources for user researchers Important concepts, processes, and terminology User Research Academy
August 17, 2020
The biggest mistakes that inhibit product growth w/ Dan Griffith - President and Griffith Growth Consulting
On today's episode, I sat down with Dan Griffith, President of Griffith Growth Consulting, where Dan helps early stage B2B software and services companies by helping them find and engage their target market, and sell their product. In Dan's experience, there are key mistakes that early stage startups make that inhibit their ability to grow, and he was kind enough to jump on the podcast to share. And I'll note, this advice is absolutely applicable to established organizations who are launches new products.   Here's what we discussed: Why not knowing your customer or who your target market is has to be the single biggest mistake a company can make when developing and launching a product How to optimize your product development and launches The question of, "How do you prioritize features in your product if you have no clue who you're building it for?" Why the customer should always trump the "coolness" of the technology How identifying your target market before developing your product creates a shorter path to revenue Why hiring sales people should be a low priority early in the lifecycle of brand new products How implementation and execution is even more important than the technology, the product, or the strategy The difference in approach between blue ocean versus red ocean markets The catch 22 of industry research Why it's so important to work closely with customer success How PMs should develop a competency for sales and understand their organization's sales process
August 10, 2020
The Good and Bad of Emotional Decision Making w/ Nick Sonnenberg - CEO of Leverage
On today's episode, I sat down with Nick Sonnenberg, CEO of Leverage. Before Leverage, Nick was a high frequency trader on Wall Street, building algorithms to programmatically trade stock at micro-second speed. Back in May, Nick published an article on Inc. called "How to remove emotion from your decision making". I loved the article and thought of how relevant it was to product management so, I had to have Nick on to dive a bit deeper into the topic.  Here's what we discussed: Why emotional decisions can be more informed than you think How your gut decisions are never random Why you should reduce the number of critical decisions you make How subconscious logic can drive quick decisions What factor risk plays in the decision making process Understanding probability can help you decide how much thought to give to a particular decision When to check your emotions to avoid disregarding key information or making angry or frustrated decisions A great framework for decision making and when to delegate or put off decisions How to leverage design thinking and tools like Miro to make group decisions Why having core values or organizational principles are key anchors in critical decision making How to leverage OKRs to create organizational alignment on individual decision making Check out the book on decision making that Nick recommended:  Follow up with Nick at
August 3, 2020
How PMs Can More Effectively Manage Stress w/ Lolita Guarin - Author, Speaker, and Certified Stress Management Coach
On today's episode, I sat down with Lolita Guarin, Author, Speaker, and Stress Management Coach. Originally from Lithuania, Lolita moved to the States to pursue her American dream. She landed in Texas and quickly began climbing up the corporate ladder. Afraid to say no, Lolita quickly saw her health decline and work/life balance come undone. After learning some natural ways to reduce and overcome stress, Lolita started giving advice to friends and colleagues until eventually seeing stress management coaching as her calling and getting certified. Today, Lolita is going to share how we can more effectively manage stress in our day to day as product managers. Here's what we talked about: The first and most critical aspect of managing stress is by removing ambiguity. We have to know what our goals are, first and foremost Secondly, we have to know and feel that we are competent to do the task at hand Asking for help when you don't know how to do something isn't weakness, it's smart Why taking breaks are so important, even if you feel like it'll interrupt "flow" Breathing techniques that work and how you can couple them with your breaks The negative aspects of stress and the real impact to your health and productivity Even if you're strapped for time, you can practice a 60 second technique to reduce stress How something as simple as drinking enough water can keep your mind sharp and reduce your stress Why guarding your thoughts and letting go of the things you can't control are such powerful mental tools How prepartion is one of the best ways to mitigate stress Why you should celebrate little victories and keep a journal of your accomplishments The myth of performing better under stress Why you have to have stress in your life to grow, but you can have too much How stress lingers even after the cause of the stress goes away Check out Lolita's book. "Crush Stress While You Work: Tips and Tricks To Stay Energized, Organized and Happy in Your Work Environment": Check out her courses with the promo code: halfoff
July 27, 2020
Product Management in a startup vs a mature organization with Nicholas Hinrichsen & Chris Coleman, former Directors of Product at Carvana and Co-Founders of WithClutch
On today's episode, I sat down with Nicholas Hinrichsen & Chris Coleman, former Directors of Product at Carvana and Co-Founders of WithClutch. If you need to refinance your car or want to check out what thy're working on, head over to Here's what we discussed: Who the product manager is in a startup versus a mature company What differs in product priority at these different stages How communication goes from informal to more formal the more your company matures Why innovation seems to slow down as companies grow One of the reasons breaking into product management is so difficult When product managers are the mini-CEO and when they're not The mindset shift when going from a PM in a startup to a mature organization and vice versa A very interesting interview question to find where you best fit as an aspiring product manager Why you have to know what company and industry you're in before you try to "move fast and break things" How to take on risk without risking the brand of an established organization Why there's always risk, but defining it helps you make better decisions on what level of risk you're willing to take on How to balance shipping fast and risking embarrassment in an established product or org Why in Blue Ocean markets, value trumps design but why things change in competitive markets And what is true about product management, regardless whether you work in a startup or an established org
July 20, 2020
Why Product Managers Should Care About Empathic Design with John Garratt - Product Manager @ Perspectum
On today's episode, I sat down with John Garratt, Product Manager at Perspectum Diagnostics. Here's what we talked about: How John first discovered the need for combining empthic design into the product discovery and delivery process Why it's so important to take an empathetic approach to product and ux design How in many industries, the experience of the user is still an afterthought How empathy starts with connecting and engaging with your users The trends in experience personalization Why everyone who touches the customer in an organization should be collecting and sharing customer needs and insights How you should be getting on-site with your users to see how they are actually usingyour products Why what people say, think, and feel might be counter to what they do How product managers can and should be developing personas and shouldn't leave personas to the marketing department Why you should do research before talking to users so you sound more informed and can ask more relavant questions
July 13, 2020
How Salesforce develops personas and does customer validation w/ Dinesh Rajasekharan - Director of Product @ Salesforce
For today's episode, i sat down with Dinesh Rajasekharan, Director of Product at Salesforce. Dinesh shared how he develops personas, performs validation with customers, and prioritizes around his primary personas. Here's what we've discussed: The first law of product management How to expand your view of who your customer is and the range of personas you serve Why personas are even more critical in highly technical products How to prioritize the personas you build for  What core aspects of product management that don't change, regardless of your product or industry How to prioritize your core focus as a product team and as an organization as a whole Why UX matters, even in more technical products, but why it's approached differently How UX goes beyond the UI, especially in more technical products The two key checkpoints for customer validation Why you should start with user feedback before architectural decisions are made
July 6, 2020
How IBM Does Product Management w/ Zia Mohammad, Senior Product Manager at IBM
On today's episode, I sat down with Zia Mohammad, Senior Product Manager at IBM,  Zia has had amazing career growth while at IBM and after speaking with him, you can  tell why. Zia is incredibly passionate about product management and has a wealth of insight to share.  Here are some of the things we discussed: What Zia does at IBM and the products he focuses on. What a day in the life looks like at IBM as a PM and the scope of the role.  We recorded on a Friday, so Zia played back what his week looked like to give great insight into the specifics of his day to day. How you can't be the voice of the customer if you never talk to users. How and why your day to day should never look the same. If you feel like things are monotonous, you're not doing product right.  Why you should bring sales and marketing into the early stages of product development Why it doesn't matter what your background is when trying to break into Product What questions you HAVE to be asking to be a good PM and the pillars to success in Product How to prioritize, especially in times of uncertainty What type of user engagement is most impactful One of the best questions to ask at the end of user interviews and how early to involve users in new product/feature development efforts and why you should bring them through the entire process The role that Product Managers play in go-to-market planning at IBM Lastly, we talked about what excites Zia with AI and the future of the technology.
June 29, 2020
The Truth About Customer Feedback w/ Raoul Friedrich Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Building Radar
On today's episode, I sat down with Raoul Friedrich Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Building Radar Here's what we discussed: How Raoul pivoted from engineering to product and founded Building Radar Why feature requests should never be taken at face value How you can train other departments such as sales and customer support to deliver more valuable feedback Why you should throw out your feature backlog and substitute it for a problem backlog Focusing on outcomes versus outputs How features get outdated but problems never do and how to prioritize which problems you focus on solving How to differentiate from your competitors with better solutions that truly get at solving your customer problems, based on the  real "why" of the customer's problem Don't forget to subscribe, so you don't miss an episode! I'd also love to hear from you, so feel free to rate and review the podcast or reach out to me at with any feedback!
June 22, 2020
What You Wish You Knew About Working With UX Leads w/Zach Daley - UX Product Design Lead @
On today's episode, I sat down with Zach Daley, UX Product Design Lead at to chat about what a day in the life of a UX Design Lead looks like and how PMs can work more effective with their UX Leads.  Here's some of the things we discussed: What a day in the life of a UX Design Lead looks like, from leadership to individual contributions The biggest challenges UX Design Leads face and how much it intersects with the same core challenges Product Managers face Some of the biggest misconceptions about UX Design and how Product Managers and organizations should view UX Design How ubiquitous UX is throughout the organization The ways in which UX should be leveraged more but is grossly underutilized What a solid working relationship looks like between UX and Product from the UX perspective and the overlap that exists in  the role What can make things break down between PMs and UX and the product development process How to go from observation to hypothesis to outcome-focused experimentation Where PMs can help UX develop the business case for the iterative nature of UX to executives who might not understand the  value of the time you'll need to invest to get things right How in-depth discovery work and mitigate the risk of building the wrong things. 
June 15, 2020
Why You Should Include Devs Early in Design w/Jeff Pease - Sr. Product Designer @SwipeClock
On today's episode, I sat down with Jeff Pease, Sr. Product Designer @ SwipeClock. Jeff has been in design his whole career, but he's had to evolve as industry trends led him into new territories. But even with the digital disruption of the 21st Century, one thing has remained constant for Jeff, the need to include developers early on in the design process.  Here's what we discussed: Jeff shares how he's in daily discussions with developers, regardless of what stage of the product development lifecycle his team may be in.  Daily discussions are essential in a true agile environment. The unique perspective developers bring to design discussions.  How these upfront discussions can save a ton of time and money! A simple design might not be as simple to implement.  Why technical constraints should be considered before initial wire frames and how they should inform them How these early conversations help uncover assumptions that could lead to design roadblocks On the flip side of roadblocks, these early discussions can show where we aren't as constrained as we might assume we are Why there should always be a clear line of communication between UX and Dev How developers can be incredibly creative and assist in the design process Jeff's pet peeve about working with product as a UX Designer Why you should always respect the crafts of your co-workers, regardless of what role they're in And the benefit of PMs doing early wire frames and mockups to help share the vision with the UX and Dev teams
June 8, 2020
How To Effectively Develop and Cascade Product Strategy In Your Org w/Chris Bee - Sr. Director of Product Development at Zillow
On today's episode, I sat down with Chris Bee, Senior Director of Product Development at Zillow. Before going to Zillow, Chris spent time as a PM and Product Leader at Microsoft, Amazon, and Uber. Now, Chris leads the core product team and product strategy for Zillow's core consumer experience on On today's episode, Chris and I had a great chat around product strategy, and cascading product strategy throughout the organization. Here's some of what we discussed: What strategy actually is and what product strategy is specifically How to develop product strategy and what considerations you might have going into strategic planning How top-level strategy influences product-strategy and strategy at the individual team level Why it's so important to align team product strategy to top-level strategy and how it impacts the morale of the organization Why disagreement should be encouraged, but the need to disagree and commit once a decision has been made Strategy is always a hypothesis, so there will always be a bit of subjectivity involved What your role is as a PM or a PM leader in the strategy development process and how you can influence top-level strategy What a product strategy doc is and what benefit it delivers to your team and the executives. Slide 16 captures the outline of what you would include in the product strategy doc:
June 1, 2020
How PMs Can Be Effective Working With Executives w/George Dita - CEO of WiseUp
Don't forget to sign up for the Product-Led Festival! Use promo code Prodcast20 for 20% off of individual and team passes! On today's episode, I sat down with George Dita, CEO of WiseUp, a product innovation company focused on helping established companies build and launch cutting edge products Here's what we discussed: George's background and what his company, WiseUp is all about His experience in working with a broad and diverse set of executives from numerous companies What you need to remember about executives when communicating with them What executives value most and how to speak that language How to increase your odds of getting executive sponsorship on your product initiatives Why executives care more about quantitative data than qualitative How executives vet projects and how to set yourself apart from your peers How to leverage small requests to executives to lead to buyoff on larger projects The biggest mistake you can make with executives Why you should push information to executives versus waiting for them to ask for it and what information they want to know from you The sure sign that your project went well in the eyes of executives Don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes or the Apple Podcast App. It would make my week!
May 27, 2020
How To Combine Product Development Frameworks To Maximize Outcomes
Don't forget to register for the Product-Led Festival! Click the link below and use the promo code: Prodcast20 Today's episode is inspired by the frequently asked question of "what frameworks should I use in product management; what's the best practice?" First off, I hate the term best practice.  Secondly, this episode explores two highly popular frameworks for product development and innovation with Jobs Theory and Design Thinking. Often times, we can look at these frameworks as competing processes, but there is so much to be gained by combining these two frameworks and leveraging the best parts of both.  On this episode, I'll share how I do it, and I hope there's at least one take away you can put into practice from it! 
May 25, 2020
Going from Product Manager to Product Leader w/ Carlos González de Villaumbrosia - Founder and CEO of Product School
Sign up for the Product-Led Festival here: Don't forget to use the promo code Prodcast20 for 20% off individual and team passes! On today's episode, I sat down with the CEO and Founder of Product School, Carlos Gonzales de Villaumbrosia Carlos founded Product School with the passion to help train the next generation of Product Managers. Product School provides certifications in Product Management to professionals across 20 campuses worldwide, and they offer the same courses live online. All Product School instructors are senior-level product managers working at top technology companies such as Google, Facebook, Airbnb, PayPal, LinkedIn, and Netflix. On this episode, Carlos shares with us how to land a PM job and how to grow in your PM career Here's what we discussed: How Carlos stumbled into Product Management, and how his early PM experiences created the empathy  Why aspiring PMs don't need to have an engineering degree or an MBA The best learning is by doing, so build something to get the experience you need! PM roles, by nature, are not "entry-level" Don't get stuck on titles or specific companies when trying to break into product Don't try to switch industries AND roles at the same time. Try one, but not both. The most important things to do first when landing that first PM role The difference between a PM and a Senior PM and how to make that jump! What you need to know before getting into Product Leadership and why the skills are completely different than what you need as a PM The impact that continuing education and lifelong learning has on your career and when you should be learning what skills Connect with Carlos and Product School at:
May 20, 2020
Leading Through Peace Time Versus War Time w/Bill Masur - Group Product Manager @ SwipeClock and Founder of ProductMastery
Register for the Product-Led Festival here: Use my promo code Prodcast20 for 20% off individual and team passes! On this episode, I sat down with Bill Masur, Group Product Manager at SwipeClock.  Bill has experience working for large brands and startups, working in multiple types of business models, and now finds himself leading a product team for a highly profitable and growing software company in Utah.  The topic of today's episode is Product Leadership Through Peace Time Versus War Time. Even without the global pandemic, Bill found himself in a position of product leadership and identified his organization's situation as being in war time. Bill breaks down how he identified that, the difference between leading through peace time versus war time, and what product managers can do to help their organization lead through challenging times.  Here's some of the things we discussed: Much of the thought leadership that PMs learn come from organizations and Product thought leaders who operate during peace times Peace time doesn't necessarily mean "easy" but it does allow for a different approach than you have to take during war times The luxuries you lose during war times that most PMs really enjoy during peace times The signs of peace time The signs of war time Some of the most underappreciated aspects of business Why our customers shouldn't be the only ones who receive our empathy The path to peace time has to come through the messiness of war time How to lead through war times to quickly get back to peace times Connect with Bill at: LinkedIn: Twitter: Or for mentorship:
May 13, 2020
What You Wish You Knew About Usability Testing with Frank Spillers - Chief Experience Officer @ Experience Dynamics
On today's episode, I sat down with Frank Spillers, Chief Experience Officer and Founder of Experience Dynamics, a consulting firm in Portland Oregon, focused on User Experience and User Research. Frank is a subject matter expert in the field of UX, and he joined the podcast to share with us what we wish we knew about usability testing. This is an absolute treat, and I guarantee that listening to this episode will give you a competitive advantage against most other organizations out there.  Frank got his start in UX back in the mid-90s working with VR. He worked through the dot-com era in e-commerce, the launch of mobile apps, and he's continued to innovate in the field of UX.  On this episode, Frank discusses: The relationship between Product and UX The two pillars of UX and how these two pillars play into the product development lifecycle The most critical aspect of what you should be measuring in usability tests Pro-tips on how to moderate your usability tests The value of "broken prototypes" How to handle users when they get frustrated during the test Why we need to leave emotion and visual or audible empathy at the door The "5 User Myth" and what nobody understands about Jakob Nielden's 5 User Model The benefit of larger sample sizes in usability tests and field studies What a usability test plan is and why it's critical to the success of usability tests How to know what tasks you should be testing for usability Connect with Frank on LinkedIn: Connect with Experience Dynamics: Check out Frank's "5 User Myth" Article: Check out Frank and Laurie Faulkner's work:
May 6, 2020
Mindset Upgrades To Spark New Opportunities with Rich Sanchez - PM at InStride
On today's episode, I sat down with Rich Sanchez, Product Manager at InStride.  Rich has a background in IT but soon found himself transitioning into Product Management for companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Disney, and now InStride.  This episode is all about how to find new opportunities as a PM by up-leveling how you think On this episode we discussed: How Rich fell in love with Product while at Johnson and Johnson It was after Johnson and Johnson that Rich found out how to stand out from others to get  where you want to go in your career How to up-level quickly as a PM when you're just starting out Why we need to take a step back and think differently to be an effective PM How to build deep, lasting relationships by leveraging sources of value you can offer The origins of the book, Think and Grow Rich. I thought this was a really cool history lesson The ancillary aspects of what makes a great product manager, outside of the traditional thinking How your thoughts either enable success or block it Why improving your personal live will improve your professional life as a PM Why PMs more than anyone else should have a roadmap for their lives and the benefits of doing it Rich shares his 8 "Fs" which are pure gold, and I totally stole them Connect with Rich on LinkedIn: Rich's Teachable site is now live!
April 29, 2020
Why PMs Should Be More Involved In Architecture w/ Greg Prickril - Founder of Career.PM and former Sr. PM at IBM, Microsoft, and SAP
On today's episode, I sat down with Greg Prickril, Founder of Career.PM and Prickril Consulting and former Senior PM at IBM, Microsoft and SAP.  In this discussion, Greg shares why PMs should be much more involved with architecture than we probably think we should. Here's some of the points we discussed: Architecture impacts the business in ways we won't know until it happens We can miss out on doing the things we should be doing in our products if we haven't given architecture the consideration upfront that we should have How to get involved in architecture whether it's a new product or an existing one Greg considers the architecture of our products as analgous to the frame of a house. If it's not right, the whole thing will eventually crumble How to get started in understanding architecture, even if you're not technical The most underutilized resource in your building How to have the most productive conversations with architects Go to to find great resources on architecture to get started. You'll find many other great resources there too! Don't forget to check out and the great resources there! Connect with Greg on LinkedIn:
April 22, 2020
Why The Best PMs Have Side Hustles w/ Clement Kao - Product Manager @Blend and Co-Founder of PMHQ
On today's episode, I sat down with Clement Kao to discuss how the best PMs have side hustles Here's what we discussed: Clement shared how he accidentally fell into product management with no experience, and his steep learning curve created the empathy for what he does now in his side projects Clement has published over 60 articles, read by over 200K PMs across the world, on PMHQ, the product manager community he helped co-found on Slack.  There's a lot of passion behind Clement's drive to share knowledge and see other PMs and aspiring PMs benefit from his shared learnings.  The power of communities and what the benefits are for joining and engaging in a PM community.  Why learning from other people's experiences and sharing your own experiences with other helps to crystalize your knowledge and accelerates your growth.  The tangible and subtle benefits of side hustles or extracirricular projects How to choose which communities to be part of and how to benefit most from communities Why having a side hustle, regardless of what it is, should be treated like we treat our products: iteratively To find Clement's articles and join the PMHQ Community: LinkedIn: Clement's Book: _encoding=UTF8&qid=1586443511&sr=8-1 
April 15, 2020
Stop Avoiding Sales and Start Engaging Deeper With Them! w/ Tommi Forsstrom - VP of Product @ Teachable
On today's episode, I sat down with Tommi Forsstrom, VP of Product @ Teachable. While working in Venture Capital with growth-stage companies, Tommi discovered the power of having a strong sales organization and the need for product management to collaborate closer with sales Some of the topics we cover include: Why PMs need to take ownership and proactive steps toward deeper engagements with sales In B2B, it's hard to be good at your product role, unless you have a deep understanding of your customer.  As PMs, we stress the need for empathy with our customers, but we also need to have empathy with other departments in our orgs To start working more closely with sales, we need to learn how to speak the sales language and empathize with their needs and their concerns.  We can help our sales teams by clarifying our product's value prop and where the value lies in the various segmentations of our market Our sales teams can help us get closer to our customers, but they won't take you on sales calls if they don't trust you or they don't know what is in it for them And we can help Sales avoid over-promising by clarifying what is in-bounds to talk about for our short-term roadmap and what they should not be talking about with customers to be realistic If you're struggling to engage with sales, working with your product marketing team to develop great sales enablement tools will go a long way in building relationships with sales To find Tommi's article and to follow him on Medium:
April 8, 2020
How To Be A Great Remote Product Manager with Alex Mitchell - Chief Product Officer at ICX Media
On today's episode, I sit down with Alex Mitchell, Chief Product Officer at ICX Media Alex is an avid blogger on Medium and over the last year, Alex's posts have gotten over one million views.  Before COVID-19, Alex had worked in several companies that had a heavy remote component, but this is the first time Alex would be working from home full-time.  To help others who might be going through the unknowns of working from home for the first  time, Alex wrote a great Medium article on how to be a great remote product manager: Here's what we discussed on this episode: Alex shares how communication needs to be taken to a whole new level when working remote. You lose a lot of the "watercooler" talk you get in the office, so you'll need to increase the number of meetings you have.  You can lose touch with your manager or your direct reports, so your need for more frequent one-on-one's becomes more critical Alex shared a remote work hack, that he didn't share in the article, to help keep culture alive. You should steal it! I will.  All the extra meetings could be frustrating, so Alex shares how to optimize the work from home meeting experience.  Even without the quarantine, for full-time remote product managers, it's still critical to get face-to-face with your team to build a more human bond.  Alex shared great advice of how to optimize that face-to-face meet-up when you are a full-time remote product manager, and it might not be what you expected.  We even talked about how working remote, even if it's temporary, is a great opportunity to build your remote network.  Lastly, Alex shares how he published the second edition of "Building Digital Products" aproduct management handbook for professionals looking to get into Product or PMs looking to level up.  Here's the link to the book: saved_title_4?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1  The second book Alex recently published is "Disrupting Yourself" which is all about how to  not just survive but to thrive in the new economy.  Here's the link to the book: title_6?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1 Here's how to follow Alex on Medium:
April 1, 2020
Why Your Product Expertise May Be Hurting You with Tanay Agrawal, former PM @ Atlan
On today's episode, I sat down with Tanay Agrawal, former PM @ Atlan and Graduate Student at Carnegie Mellon University  Tanay had spent the first two years of his career as a software developer but quickly made the transition to product management. After two years as a PM, Tanay decided to pursue his Master's in Product Management at Carnegie Mellon University.  While studying to become a better PM, Tanay started blogging. His blog is a mental download of all the things he learned in his two years as a PM and the things he wish he knew when he started. On today's episode, we dive into one of his Medium articles, "You need to unlearn your product every day as a product manager"  Tanay shares how PMs often fall into the trap of what I call the "omniscient" product manager. We know our products inside and out, and our in-depth product knowledge can often disconnect us from the experience of first-time users. To avoid this disconnect, we must unlearn our product with each new feature.  Each new feature launch should create a delightful experience. Customers should be excited to use your feature, not dread HAVING to use it. Slack ingeniously executed this with their Google Drive integration through "contextual onboarding" We also discussed the "pricing conundrum" that we can find ourselves in as our products grow and evolve. Tanay shared why more features don't necessarily mean more value and how pricing should be leveraged with customers through their lifetime with your product.  In the same way we need to unlearn our products with new features, we need to take a step  back from our product's pricing tiers from time to time as well. Pricing complexity can be  a big barrier for new customers, but it doesn't have to be.  Another issue with pricing pertains to growth levers. Many companies focus on user acquisition to drive growth, but not enough companies look to leverage existing customers as sources of revenue growth.  The third pricing issue happens when companies under-price their products to gain market share.  Pricing and feature strategy should coincide to help users are they progress through their journey with your product.  Tanay shares why it's so hard to maintain a consistent "voice" within your product as your company and your team grows. Even documented guidelines can be ineffective, so Tanay shares  how to prevent this disconnect in your product.  Follow Tanay on Medium, LinkedIn, and Twitter: Medium - LinkedIn - Twitter - @tanayagrawal19
March 25, 2020
Aligning With Product Marketing For Better Product Launches with Susan Stavitzski - Director of Product at Hatch
On this episode of Prodcast, I sat down with Susan Stavitzski, Director of Product @ Hatch!  Susan shared how and why she made the transition from Product Marketing to Product Management and how her background as a product marketer has not only helped in her roles in product, but it's also given her a unique perspective on the relationship between the two roles.  She also explained the three different types of product managers: - Technical PM - User-Focused PM - Business-Minded PM Susan believes that regardless of what your background is, being a product manager is ultimately about having vision and the ability to execute on that vision.  She shares the differences between product marketing and product management and what the  ideal working relationship looks like between the two roles And if you're not sure where to start in bridging the gap between your team and product marketing, invite your product  marketer to be part of your processes early on. It actually makes their job easier, not harder.  Lastly, we talked about how user-experience is everyone's job, and tighter cross-functional collaboration helps to  improve the overall user experience.  Don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review! We're available on any podcast app!  You can connect with Susan at: If you have feedback about the podcast, send me a note at
March 16, 2020
Career advice and when to say no with Shawn Kumar - Senior Product Manager
Shawn shares how to create opportunities in your career and take advantage of the ones in front of you. We also discuss what type of opportunities you should pursue and when to say no.
March 2, 2020