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Ask Me Anything with LinkedIn's Senior Product Manager

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Ask Me Anything with LinkedIn's Senior Product Manager

  1. 1. /Productschool @ProductSchool /ProductmanagementSV November 30th, 2016
  2. 2. Agenda ● Welcome! ● AMA w/ LinkedIn Senior PM - Naman Goel
  3. 3. Who’s here? Company size (no. of employees) 1-10 10-100 101-499 500-1000 1000+
  4. 4. Who’s here? Role Product Managers Software Engineers Project Managers Designers Consultants Hardware Engineer Misc.
  5. 5. Upcoming Classes Santa Clara Weeknight cohort: November 29 - February 2 Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30pm to 9:00pm (sold out) Weekend cohort: December 3 - February 11 Saturdays from 9:30am to 3:30pm (1 spot left!) Apply At
  6. 6. Meet Your Instructors
  7. 7. Mohammad Musa •Lead Product Manager @ Google •VR Startup Founder •3X Product School Instructor
  8. 8. Yotam Soen •Sr. Product Manager @ eBay •Director of Product @ Honeybook •Returning Product School Instructor
  9. 9. Meet A LinkedIn Senior PM
  10. 10. Naman Goel - 5+ Product experience - Led the build out of deep people- centric sharing experiences in Google Photos and the launch of Google Contributor - Product management experience with LinkedIn, Google, Goldman Sacs.
  14. 14. ADDITIONAL Q & A By The Audience
  15. 15. What are your biggest challenges? Question #4 - Being able to take a step back from the day-to-day - Constantly asking, “what is going wrong? What can I do better?” - Thinking about next steps, approach in product cycle - How involved to get in various aspects of product cycle? - E.g. working with UX designer closely on wireframes. - How much you go with flow and how much you take a step back?
  16. 16. How balance technical v/s nontechnical teams? Question #5 - Product Manager needs to understand how much support each team needs - E.g. Engineering team is weak and needs technical direction. PM invests his or her team in this area to ensure the product is going in the right direction.
  17. 17. How did you get into Google? Question #6 - Luck :D - Interviewed for engineering position while in grad school - Recruiter followed up every six months to check in - After getting product experience at Goldman, he decided to apply for a PM role at Google on the 2nd time around. - Understanding what companies what from each product manager
  18. 18. How to transition from finance to PM? Question #7 - Financial service industry & culture - dealing with huge sums of money so need to be exact and no experimentation - On other hand, Google is mostly an experimentation lab - Failure is accepted at Google, as long as you learn from it - How much experimentation does this job allow? - Seeking out mentors, experienced folks in that role who understand company and function deeply
  19. 19. What was your first 6 months at Google like? - Similar to challenges - How not to get fired in first 90 days! - Financial > Google, immediately understanding Company’s mission - Meeting as many people as he could to understand Company as best as possible - ‘I’m facing this issue in my role, how would you do it if you were in my shoes?’ - What does mission mean for the company? Product’s vision? - What do I need to do? - Google - Engineering-driven culture - How much involvement do engineers have in the process? - Design is important to pick up as a PM - usually you have less designers than developers on the team - user empathy, helps with product decisions, how design works & design decisions should be Question #8
  20. 20. If you were to design a crash course, what resources would you include? Question #9 - What skills do you already have? What’s the skill gap? - Top skill - user empathy - understanding who is going to be your user group - understanding which user groups exist - E.g. designing a Macbook for global users vs US users - What are the other things you want to do with users? - Technical skills - going deeper into how technology works, domain space, trends in that space - Design - philosophy, wireframing, mockups & design principles - PM influencers - Andrew Chen (Uber/Growth), Ken Norton (Google Ventures), Josh Elman (Greylock Ventures), Open PM (online aggregate of PM resources)
  21. 21. What is the career trajectory of PM? Question #10 - Responsibilities of PM from beginning vs later in career - Product strategy for a lagging product line - Associate PM given a product feature, not the whole product - E.g. Youtube suite of products vs. sole feature or product line - Sr. PM’s handle entire product of company or major product lines, e.g. Sr. PM at PayPal managing entire PayPal international payments product vs Associate PM reporting on feature of int’l product - Group PM’s manage product managers - setting quarterly/yearly objectives (ROI, user growth%, etc)
  22. 22. What do you look for in job applicants? Question #11 - Linkedin’s philosophy of ideal candidates - varies on the role - Professional experience - has launched stuff before - Entrepreneurial - pursued ideas to concept - learn from failings - Did you work on anything outside of your current role? - ‘What have you built?’
  23. 23. How would I prioritize experienced candidate vs recent grad? Question #12 - Resume reflects personality - entirety of what this person has done - What has this person done outside of their normal duties? - Above and beyond the line of duty, how did you impact a milestone?
  24. 24. How do you bring Google culture of experimentation & innovation into finance? Question #13 - experimentation and innovation in finance is hard, because of the fact they are dealing with money - innovation can happen in the processes - E.g. HFT lag time to process orders, level out playing field - Personal finance - opportunities for innovation - Banking, set & heavily regulated not as likely to innovate
  25. 25. How to make feature decisions @ LinkedIn? Question #14 - Incremental improvements for larger set vs big improvements for smaller set - Metrics defined at LinkedIn, Google - Define strategy - where company will be in 1,3,5 years? - Success metrics - KPI’s - E.g. incremental improvement for 5MM users or feature that increases ROI - looking back at strategy and defined success metrics - Metrics
  26. 26. What are examples of KPI’s? Question #15 - LInkedIn’s metric, e.g. - # of users on LinkedIn - DAU, MAU, etc - Revenue metric
  27. 27. How do you prioritize outside-of-the-box ideas for company? Question #16 - 70-20-10 ideas prioritization - 70% - things that align with LinkedIn’s vision - 20% - 10x, moonshot ideas for long-term vision - 10% - crazy/viral, e.g. LinkedIn Antarctica, limited or no internet access
  28. 28. How do you pitch your ideas at LinkedIn? Question #17 - Writing the story of your idea - Frameworks - e.g. Press release for your product BEFORE iteration/release - headlines, fill in the details - forces you to explore the idea further - e.g. VP Product @ LinkedIn - pitch in person, then follow up via email - Wide acceptability of idea, get people aligned with your vision/excited to start working on the product - Core of being a great PM - sell a very good story - Yahoo! hackathons
  29. 29. Where do you find solutions to big challenges facing LinkedIn? Question # 18 - If this product didn’t exist, and I build it from scratch, what would the MVP have today? - User empathy - meeting with teams to test hypothesis - testing with user groups
  30. 30. How important is business acumen for PM? Question #19 - understanding unique value you bring to the table - Product vision & strategy - user story - coordinating with cross-functional teams to see where they need help to ship the product - How does revenue, P&L impact your product? More important than knowing specific business terms
  31. 31. How important is technical background? Question # 20 - Naman hasn’t written any code in his PM career, even at Google! - Depends on the product - E.g. VMware vs. Cisco - Youtube, understanding how video streaming works - API PM’s need to be technical, but consumer- facing PM’s not so much
  32. 32. How did you prepare for your Google interview? Question #21 - Understanding product manager role is all about - user empathy - storyteller - your superpower - What questions would be expected of me? - e.g. What should Samsung do next after Note 7? - More structured responses so interviewer understands your story, thought process - Cracking the PM interview by Gayle Laakman McDowell & Jackie Bavarro
  33. 33. Does it make sense to incorporate the story for all aspects of PM? Question #22 - Business - impact, ROI, strategy - Technical - impact on product architecture
  34. 34. What is the toolbox for PM’s? Question #23 - You as being the user - testing product once it’s built - Design - Balsamiq, InVision,, Sketch or Post-it notes >> mockups/wireframes - Data - Optimizely, Mixpanel, Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, Tableau (visualization) - PM - usertesting, uservoice
  35. 35. How to deal with opposing points of view? Question #24 - Do you have strong opinions? - Conviction of your beliefs, and flexibility in compromise - Understand other person’s perspective - try to ask questions until they run out of answers or you become convinced by their answer - Ken Norton - Weekly Hell of PM - the other people on your team disagreeing with you! - arriving at common ground to keep the team moving - e.g. engineering team not buying into your idea
  36. 36. How do you find established user base to test? Question #25 - Users who would be early adopters - enthusiastic to use your product - E.g. going to middle schools and asking students to test out app - creating a test group
  37. 37. How has Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn affected the product vision? Question #26 - Wait and see - Currently running independently
  38. 38. Roadmap hijacking, what are first 3 or 4 questions to keep your roadmap intact? Question #26 - User empathy, true north metrics to come to conclusion - How is this helping our company’s strategy? - Which hypothesis will have greatest effect on metrics? - Strong opinions, weakly held
  39. 39. What methods allow you to stay intune with user needs? Question #27 - App reviews - How to find users at the right time
  40. 40. Upcoming Classes Santa Clara Weeknight cohort: November 29 - February 2 Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30pm to 9:00pm (sold out) Weekend cohort: December 3 - February 11 Saturdays from 9:30am to 3:30pm (1 spot left!) Apply At
  41. 41. Upcoming Workshops Santa Clara Dec 7: How to Solve a Communication Breakdown in Product Management Dec 14: "Ask Me Anything" with Product School CEO: How to Become a Product Manager
  42. 42. APPLY AT OR Let’s talk :) Email: