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Using Product Management to Get a Product Management Gig

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Slides Andrew Hsu recently used in his discussion w/ mentees of The Product Mentor.

Synopsis: How to treat yourself as a product to find a job and, in parallel, refine your product management skills. It's meta.

The Product Mentor is a program designed to pair Product Mentors and Mentees from around the World, across all industries, from start-up to enterprise, guided by the fundamental goals…Better Decisions. Better Products. Better Product People.

Throughout the program, each mentor leads a conversation in an area of their expertise that is live streamed and available to both mentee and the broader product community.

http://TheProductMentor.com

Published in: Education
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Using Product Management to Get a Product Management Gig

  1. 1. Andrew Hsu || 2019-02-10 USING PRODUCT MANAGEMENT TO GET A PRODUCT MANAGEMENT GIG
  2. 2. ABOUT ME Past ﹢ Electrical engineer ﹢ 7+ years of product management Launched Android and iOS apps, coordinated a design refresh of Google sign-in, grew a start-up to value homes using machine learning, and consulted to raise company motivation and performance Present ﹢ Oscar Health
  3. 3. ABOUT ME Unfortunately, and fortunately, I have experience over these past 7+ years... ﹢ 6 companies ﹢ 2 “from scratch” job searches ﹢ 3 different cities
  4. 4. TODAY ﹢ Product management Processes and frameworks ﹢ Stories Inspiration and customization ideas ﹢ Lessons Favorite lessons learned ﹢ Ask Take the first step
  5. 5. PRODUCT MANAGEMENT Processes and frameworks
  6. 6. PRODUCT MANAGEMENT 1. Problem Solving A process to problem solve and keep moving 2. Roadmap A framework to articulate your goals 3. Adjust A framework to refine your goals and process along the way
  7. 7. PM PROBLEM SOLVING ﹢ Start ﹢ Retro ﹢ Adjust ﹢ Share
  8. 8. PM ROADMAP Where we’d like to go and how we’re going to get there ﹢ Vision ﹢ Mission ﹢ Monthly roadmap • Goals • Accomplishments
  9. 9. PM ADJUST What’s changed, what we’ve learned, and new goals ﹢ Retro ﹢ Accomplishments ﹢ New goals
  10. 10. “That’s cute…”
  11. 11. STORIES Inspiration and customization ideas
  12. 12. Laid off and job searching...
  13. 13. MONTH 1 Transition and try to relax
  14. 14. REALITY NOT RELAXING ﹢ 6 trips to T-mobile ﹢ 2 extra weeks of work ﹢ Starting to organize the entire home ﹢ Unsolicited introductory emails ﹢ Meetings
  15. 15. REALITY INTRODUCTIONS AND MEETINGS Unsolicited introductory emails ﹢ Forced to write a mission Meetings ﹢ Forced to prepare
  16. 16. ﹢ Deep research on person’s background • LinkedIn - (connections, stability) • Greenhouse (culture) • CrunchBase (rounds of funding) • Blog (recent focus) • Publications (marketing focus) ﹢ What they’re working on ﹢ Hypothesize on their problems MEETING PREP
  17. 17. ﹢ I tell my story ﹢ They tell their story ﹢ Offer each other topical help ﹢ Talk generally about positions at their company and about what’s interesting ﹢ Drink a lotttt of coffee ﹢ Ask for help and introductions ﹢ Offer help ﹢ Never explicitly asked for a job MEETING
  18. 18. ﹢ I'm very caffeinated ⤑ Drink tea ﹢ Past stories not specific enough ⤑ Review resume, practice my story telling ﹢ Unclear mission ⤑ Unsure what to do about it MEETING RETRO
  19. 19. Monthly Roadmap AUG - Relax PM ROADMAP Vision Mission
  20. 20. PM MISSION Here’s a quick run down on what I’m looking for: 1. A team that recognizes the world is always changing and constantly seeks to learn and improve how it operates and how to make a better product 2. A company that is dedicated to the product they’re building 3. Products which give time back to people or create social good: Education 4. A senior product manager or director of product role 5. A medium sized company (50 to 2,000)
  21. 21. PM ADJUST 2.1 Retro ﹢ I'm very caffeinated; Drink tea ﹢ Past stories not specific enough; Practice talking about my past accomplishments ﹢ Unclear mission; Keep searching and practicing 2.2 Accomplishments ﹢ Met many interesting people and landed an interview 2.3 Goals ﹢ Apply in earnest and interview ﹢ Get more comfortable with my story
  22. 22. PM ROADMAP Monthly Roadmap AUG - Relax ﹢ Goal: Enjoy ﹢ Accomplishments: 1 interview SEPT - Applying and interviewing ﹢ Goal: Get 3 interviews Vision ... Mission *New*
  23. 23. Month 2 Applying and interviewing
  24. 24. ﹢ Turned on LinkedIn ﹢ Email: Friends asking for job leads ﹢ In person: Mention I lost my job and explain what I’m looking for ﹢ Take every meeting: friends, recruiters, and interviews JUST START...
  25. 25. Public company, 20 years, 2,000 people ﹢ 2 general managers in NY (business context, key problems - situational asks) ﹢ Project manager (how we’d work together) ﹢ New manager and head of business in Seattle (company structure and new responsibilities) ﹢ Co-founder (what he’s looking for) ﹢ 5 leaders across 3 offices JOB 1
  26. 26. 👻
  27. 27. ﹢ …..…... ﹢ No one owes you anything ﹢ Volatility is a constant ﹢ “At least half the time, when a company rejects you, it’s not you. Budgets change, needs change, the company could be re-organizing, or it could even be shutting down.” Adjustment: ﹢ Get used to no feedback ﹢ Evaluate company stability JOB 1 RETRO
  28. 28. 100 person start up, Series B ﹢ COO - Get to know each other (casual) ﹢ CTO & Managing director (role of product management, different conceptual question) ﹢ CEO - Problem solving approach (business, culture shifts, problem solving) ﹢ Managing director again (role shifts, problems) ﹢ COO - Consulting problem (How many ways can you organize these paintings?) JOB 2
  29. 29. 👻 👻
  30. 30. Work through my feelings ﹢ What kind of BS is this ﹢ “5 rounds of interviews and then a question completely unrelated to my job” ﹢ Not even a word JOB 2 RETRO
  31. 31. 2 weeks pass…
  32. 32. Discussed interview in depth with multiple people, realized: ﹢ False expectations - “I should solve problems here like I solve them in the real world” ﹢ Not solving the real question being asked - Question being asked AND... • Culture fit, expansive thinking, creativity, ability to dig, focus on customer, etc… ﹢ Not managing time - Compressed time frame, person is often late ﹢ Not being positive - Time and time again, If I’m negative or incredulous, I perform worse JOB 2 RETRO
  33. 33. Adjustment: Practicing against my failings ﹢ Ask friends who interview at their companies to ask me conceptual questions ﹢ Answer them in 30 minutes ﹢ Practice positivity, time management, solving different types of problems - creativity, etc. Adjustment: Found new mental models ﹢ Anytime stuck, work backwards ﹢ After answering a conceptual question, think 3D to expand your ideation JOB 2 RETRO
  34. 34. PM ADJUST Retros ﹢ Don’t expect feedback ﹢ Lose my expectations, be positive, manage time, “answer the true questions” Accomplishments ﹢ 2 “last round” interviews ﹢ Talking about my past accomplishments more effectively Goals ﹢ "This is an opportunity to make a world class network" ﹢ Meet more people ﹢ Get to know the NY scene ﹢ Find communities I want to be a part of long term
  35. 35. PM ROADMAP Vision Still unknown, many quizzes taken Mission Company with more than 100 people, in healthcare, emergency services, or energy. AUG - Tie up loose ends; 1 interview SEPT - Applying and interviewing ﹢ Goal: Get 3 interviews ﹢ Accomplishments: 2 interviews OCT - Invest in networks ﹢ Goal: Expand top of funnel ﹢ Accomplishments: NOV DEC
  36. 36. Month 3 Invest in networks
  37. 37. ﹢ University alumni groups ﹢ Ex-company groups ﹢ Meet-up groups NETWORKING SET UP
  38. 38. NETWORKING ﹢ Attended 4 events ﹢ Found two amazing companies ﹢ Met many inspiring people ﹢ Many introductions ﹢ No interviews
  39. 39. ﹢ Go with someone positive ﹢ Choose long term communities (Lessened mental angst about “networking”) ﹢ Be consistent to the events ﹢ My mission is landing better ﹢ Continue even after getting a job NETWORKING RETRO
  40. 40. 200 people, Series D ﹢ Call - 1 recruiter interview (company background) ﹢ Call - GM (product role) ﹢ In person - General manager and Head of operations (situational) ﹢ All day (case interview + presentation) • Group - Head of operations (defining the problem) • Group - CTO and 2 engineers (engineering research) • Lunch - 4 people • 2 hours - Build presentation • Present to 8 people - 3 month road map JOB 3
  41. 41. Reasons I failed and mitigation strategies ﹢ Don’t actively manage time ⤑ Maintain a sense of urgency, know I’m fighting the clock ﹢ Not positive ⤑ Regardless of what happens, stay positive and calm ﹢ Get off topic, don’t actually answer the question they need ⤑ Notice when the conversation is not flowing ⤑ “Re-base” - pull up and ask if the solution is going in the direction they need ⤑ Ask exactly what they’re looking for and expecting JOB 3 PRE-MORTEM
  42. 42. ﹢ Group - Head of operations (defining the problem) ﹢ Group - CTO and 2 engineers (engineering research) • Re-based with CTO: “What do you think I should focus on?” • Answer: “Just the problem, not the customer or tech stack” ﹢ Lunch - 4 people ﹢ Problem solve ﹢ 2 hours - Build presentation ﹢ Present to 8 people - 3 month road map JOB 3 INTERVIEW
  43. 43. ﹢ Group - Head of operations (defining the problem) ﹢ Group - CTO and 2 engineers (engineering research) • Re-based with CTO: “What do you think I should focus on?” • Answer: “Just the problem, not the customer or tech stack” ﹢ Lunch - 4 people ﹢ Problem solve • Re-based with GM: “Here’s the problem I see and my solution. Does this feel right? What’s the ideal presentation format?” • Answer: “30, 60, 90 day plan” ﹢ 2 hours - Build presentation (30 min. build, 30 min. of feedback) ﹢ Present to 8 people - 3 month road map JOB 3 INTERVIEW
  44. 44. ﹢ Presented a 30, 60, 90 day plan to 8 people ﹢ Conducted immediate presentation retro ﹢ Very positive feedback ﹢ Had an hour more to ask questions JOB 3 RESULT
  45. 45. Hired someone more experienced
  46. 46. ﹢ Past retro 100% helped ﹢ Reinforced: My performance is at most half of the equation in interviews Adjustment: ﹢ Try to get to solution even faster and add more perspectives to it ﹢ Practice presenting design solutions ﹢ Practice presenting technical solutions JOB 3 RETRO
  47. 47. PM ADJUST Retros ﹢ Practice presenting design solutions ﹢ Practice presenting technical solutions Accomplishments ﹢ 3 interviews ﹢ I’ve made a lot of progress in getting comfortable with interviews Goals ﹢ Meet even more people and keep expanding top of funnel ﹢ Understand how VC’s evaluate markets and choose investments ﹢ Practice getting to design and technical solutions quickly
  48. 48. PM ROADMAP F2.1 Vision ... F2.2 Mission (more conviction) I'm looking for a company that's 100 people plus, working in medical, wellness, emergency response, or energy. I’d like to close a job by next April.
  49. 49. PM ROADMAP AUG - Relax SEPT - Applying and interviewing ﹢ Goal: Get 3 interviews ﹢ Accomplishments: 2 interviews OCT - Invest in networks ﹢ Goal: Expand top of funnel ﹢ Accomplishments: 3 interviews, strong presentation, more comfort, new friends and connections NOV - Study the NY market ﹢ Goal: Learn how VC’s evaluate industries, find more industries I’m interested in ﹢ Accomplishments: DEC - Pause
  50. 50. Month 4 Study the NY market
  51. 51. 1,200 people, Series D ﹢ Call - Recruiter call ﹢ Call - Recruiter ﹢ Call - Product (situational) ﹢ On site • 4 product managers (6 case studies, culture, role fit, interests) • 2 engineers (problem they were working on) JOB 4
  52. 52. 🙌
  53. 53. ﹢ I did not know all roles open ⤑ Next time: study all open roles at a company ﹢ I could have reached out earlier to people to learn about Oscar ⤑ Next time: reach out earlier JOB 4: OSCAR RETRO
  54. 54. REcap
  55. 55. PM PROBLEM SOLVING ﹢ Start ﹢ Retro ﹢ Adjust ﹢ Share
  56. 56. PM ROADMAP Where we’d like to go and how we’re going to get there ﹢ Vision ﹢ Mission ﹢ Monthly roadmap • Goals • Accomplishments
  57. 57. PM ADJUST What’s changed, what we’ve learned, and new goals ﹢ Retro ﹢ Accomplishments ﹢ New goals
  58. 58. LESSONS Bonus lessons
  59. 59. LESSONS INDUSTRY MAPS
  60. 60. LESSONS IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE ﹢ Don't stare at the computer screen, it's not going to give you feedback and it rarely gets you interviews. ﹢ Keep a steady stream of conversations, meetings and interviews going. ﹢ There are a lot of what if’s when you interview, here’s how I reduce churn: • Go long term - Any company / person I might want to have a "long term relationship" with is an easy yes • Follow the energy - Keep exploring people and companies that energize you
  61. 61. ASK Take the first step
  62. 62. ASK Write an email, call a friend, walk over to your roommate Hello ____<friend>_____, Long time. <pleasantries> In my past, <what did you own, what did you do, what did you accomplish> I'm interested in finding a product management job in <industry, role, topics> Do you have time to grab a coffee or talk next week?
  63. 63. THANKS! ﹢ ahsu@hioscar.com

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