My Unique Pathway Into Product Management: A Tale of Two PM’s | The Pair Program Ep18
Join us as our hosts, Tim and Mike, talk to Product Managers Lauren Creedon and Shyvee Shi. Lauren is Head of Product at Goldcast, a B2B software platform for live video and digital events. Before that, she led the AI product org at Drift, and the smart camera product group at Hudl. Shyvee is a Product Manager at LinkedIn, an instructor at LinkedIn Learning, and host of the “Product Management Learning Series”. Shyvee overcame many challenges while transitioning into the role of PM and is passionate about helping others navigate the transition.
In this episode you’ll hear about the unique journeys that our guests took into product management.
- The different career paths that can lead to becoming a product manager
- What it takes to break into the product management career track (and how to prove that you have what it takes to succeed)
- How to overcome imposter syndrome when you’re new to product management
- And much more!
And much more!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Welcome to the Pair program from hatchpad, the podcast that gives you a front row seat to candid conversations with tech leaders from the startup world. I'm your host, Tim Winkler, the creator of Hatchpad, and I'm your other host, Mike Ruin. Join us each episode as we bring together two guests to dissect topics at the intersection of technology, startups, and career growth. Uh, what's up everyone? We are back at it for another episode of the Pair Program. I'm your host, Tim Winkler Company by my co-host Mike Grin. Mike, how you doing today, sir? I'm doing all right. How are you doing? Good, good. Join, uh, you know, we're getting into that fall. The fall feels right, so all the, I I feel like it's first of fall, the, the fake fall. Next it'll be second summer and then we'll get into real fall, but yeah, had like a premature pumpkin spiced latte already. Um, Cool. Let's, let's, uh, let's dive into this. I'm, I'm pretty pumped for today's episode. So, um, we are calling this one, you know, my unique pathway into product management. And this will be a discussion that we're going to be hearing from two product managers. Uh, both have had very different journeys to get into the role of, of product management. Uh, so we'll hear both of their stories firsthand. We'll start to draw on some of those differences, some of the similarities as we go. Um, I'm sure it's gonna be an episode that's, you know, chalk full of really helpful career growth content for anybody out there that's either pursuing a job in product management or maybe you're currently in a product role and you're navigating those, the, the different career ladders that are available. Um, I, I do wanna thank our two guests for joining us today. Uh, she and Lauren thank you both for spending time with us on the Para Program. Thank you for having us. For sure. Um, alright. So. As, as we kick off a traditional fashion here, we're going to, uh, start with the fun segment called Pair Me Up. Pair. Pair Me. Um, here's a, a segment where we're gonna go around the room, kind of shout out complimentary pairings. Mike, you always kind of kick things off. Why don't you, why don't you tee it off for us? Yeah. Uh, this time I'm going with, um, stress and meditation. Mm-hmm. Um, so one of the things I've learned, uh, so a number of years ago I started doing meditation and things like that, um, to sort of help with, with stress. Um, and what I've learned is that, uh, when I start feeling stressed again, it's probably cuz I'm just gotten out of the habit of, of meditating and, um, uh, you know, I was very skeptical at first, but then, uh, a number of different people from very different, uh, points of view in my life, uh, sort of recommended it and I gave it a shot and was, uh, pleasantly surprised. It's, uh, quite effective for sure. Do you use an app, like a guided meditation or do you, Um, I did for a little bit, but not anymore. Um, but the, I, I don't mind throwing it out there. The book that really actually got me started was, uh, a book by Dan Harris called, uh, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics um, which I felt like kind nailed it for me. Um, a fidgety skeptic. So, um, it was, it was the perfect book for me. That's cool. Yeah, I i, it's, it's one of the hardest things I've, I've had to kind of stay in that routine. It's easy to fall out of it. And I've kind of picked up too that, you know, I used to have a, a routine where, you know, pre covid, right? We were going into an office three days a week and I would use that morning time early in the office to kinda like, isolate myself, you know, put on 20 minutes of guided meditation and, and that was part of my routine would be like three days of, of meditating. Cuz that was my routine going in the office when we stopped going in once the pandemic. My entire like, uh, routine got thrown. Uh, and so meditation kind of got phased out and now I'm trying to figure out where does that fit in, into my, my new routine now that it's, you know, working from home every day, uh, of the week. So it is, it's, I completely agree though. It's, it's so, so necessary, um, just to kind of slow, slow the world down and just have a little time for yourself. Mm-hmm. I like it. Um, I'll go with, um, so I'm gonna play off of today's topic and I would say, um, product management and diversity. Um, so, you know, I've, I've heard this phrase before from leaders and product that, you know, there's no two product managers are the same. Um, there's obviously, you know, a lot of data out there that show that, you know, businesses at large, they're gonna have a, an edge and be more successful if they have a diverse breakdown of employees. Um, but I'm not only referring to like race or gender, but also, you know, diversity and like education, uh, diversity in the size of the company that you've worked for. Uh, so I, I think like this role of product management, which will obviously touch on here, is kind of synonymous with diverse people from all walks of life and different backgrounds, um, be sales, marketing, finance, engineering backgrounds. Um, so it's actually something that we are mindful of when sourcing for both of our speakers today, ensuring that their, you know, their background backgrounds are also quite diverse. And we'll, we'll pick up on that, but that's, that's gonna be, uh, my pairing for today is product management and diversity. And let's go ahead and kick it along to our guest. Uh, sh maybe a quick intro from yourself and then what your pairing is. Yeah, sure. Uh, thanks for having me here today. Uh, my name is sh I am a product manager at LinkedIn. I oversee our, um, expert strategy on LinkedIn learning to help inspire more members on LinkedIn to create more learning content, uh, and sharing their expertise. I actually embarked on this new role fairly recently and before that, I, uh, look after a search and discovery for our LinkedIn learning experience. Um, I also an active content creator on LinkedIn. Uh, so you can find me and see my daily sharing on various content. My pairing for today is gonna be Peloton and 5:00 PM I think I am a human of habits, uh, creature of habits. So for me, every time at around 5:00 PM every afternoon during the work weekday, I feel like my productivity just dropped. So I like to just shake things up a little bit and I realize just even a 20 minute Peloton, right? Um, can ingest, you know, different, different energy to kind of. Restart a day. Uh, so as people are getting tired at 5:00 PM for me the rejuvenating method is actually, uh, you know, writing a 20 minute, 20 minute. Right. That's awesome. Have you been doing that? Did it start at a certain period of time? Like, uh, like during the pandemic, I know that Peloton obviously had a huge spike and, and users around that time, but has that been something that you've had a part of your routine for years? Yeah. It's funny because I started right before the pandemic, not knowing that it's pandemic, right? So it's at the end of 2019, I moved to a new location in San Francisco. There was actually not very easily accessible to a lot of gym and like fitness studios. I was like looking for ways to work out at home rather than having to walk, let's say 30 minutes to a fitness studio building already tired and workout. Um, so I looking for a, you know, sort of a home, uh, workout solution and Peloton can about and so. I just, I, I became really liking it. And I think the trick is actually, if you see my background, I'm trying to high my Peloton there using a wide cup so it creates more differentiation for my hair. But the point I wanna bring that out is because it's very visible, uh, in my living space. What that means is that every day at 5:00 PM or right around that time, as my productivity dropped, I'll be like, naturally just like, what do I do to make myself like, you know, still feeling like productive in a different way. Yeah. Uh, and it helps me develop that habit. So from maybe working out, like before I have Peloton, maybe like once or twice a week, you know, going to the gym and then like a lot of mental barrier, right? Walking there, change clothes and everything. Now, I would say during the pandemic, I did it more. For a period of time. I actually had a hundred day break, like a streak where I work out every day for 20 minutes. But nowadays, you know, things are opening up more. So I would say I do it maybe three or four times a week, uh, 20 minutes at a time. So not, not crazy. Cool. That consistency though, it sounds like that 5:00 PM kind is your trigger. Five. Yeah. Yes. Cool. Right. Well, um, uh, uh, 5:00 PM and Peloton was, uh, Lauren, what about yourself? Can a quick intro and, uh, your pairing. Hi, Lauren Creedon had a product at Gold Cast. Really happy to be here. I'm gonna take us back maybe to the fall theme, maybe a little bit to Mike's pairing. I was thinking today a crackling fire and a good book. I spent a lot of time over the pandemic at. A cabin up in New Hampshire on a pond and like real, like real wood in the fire. You go out and you refill every couple hours, keep it going all day. Just, you know, good weekend, day, finish a book. It's just like hope. If you're a listener and you were dreading the end of summer and now you're thinking toward fall and winter, that like, that image gets you ready for the season. I can't agree more about the real fire. I don't know what it is that just makes them feel so much warmer than the the gas fire, the big fan. What about just like the, the crackling you log during, like the Christmas time where it's just on, on the tv Does that, does that suffice or is that gonna cut? It something tells me you've never had a real working place like a solo stove. No, I'm just joking. No, I, I, I feel you on, on the crackling and. Big, big into camping. Um, I would say that I'm, I'm all about the, the real campfire. The only thing I will say though is that next morning you're gonna, you're gonna reek of, of smoke and it's just, uh, something you deal with. But I, I agree that maybe in the campfire, but if you have a good working chimney, you can, you can avoid it. That's true. Right, Right. If, Right If you wake up smell like smoke, you should probably have somebody come out and check, need to clean the flu, another. And I, I hadn't either until I'd been spending time at this cabin and it's a game changer. That's cool. All right. We'll be waiting for our invite to that cabin for, uh, for a little decompression here from, uh, from the long summer work. Um, well cool. Let's, let's, uh, dive in here to, um, you know, to the, the, the main topic. So as we mentioned, you know, we're gonna be talking to both of these guests about their journeys. Um, you know, I, you know, for the essence of saving some time here, uh, I'm gonna pass it right over to the guest now. Um, and she, why don't you give us, you know, your kind of quick five minute summary of your journey into product management and then I'll ask the same from you Lauren, and then we can kind of riff from there. Yeah, sure. Um, five minutes, a lot of time and not a lot of time to flag on a career journey. I would say if I were to summarize in one sentence, I like to start with, I think my journey reflected a lot of what a career pivot would've gone through. Um, like lots of z zagging to find out what you are passionate about, what you like to do. So I would say, uh, so my career started, um, in Hong Kong where I was, uh, study in finance and economics. And as a lot of people know that Hong Kong is a financial center, so a lot of people going into jobs and finance and. Not surprisingly, I explore that path as well. So I was interning, uh, at JP Morgan as an investment banker, uh, one summer, and very quickly realized that finance is really not my, my forte. I, I didn't really enjoy that experience. It was fun, but it feels like, you know, it needs a certain personality type. Um, so then in the last year of my, uh, undergrad, uh, as a senior, I was looking for ways to grow a more well-rounded skill set. So at the time, consulting came to me and I was like, Well, if you don't know what you wanna do, the best way to do it is through consulting arrangement, working for different companies and different capacity. So for the four, first three or four years of my career, I work as a consultant, like a, in a both strategy and IT implementation. So I travel around the world to uk, Singapore, Australia, working on a number of digital transformation projects, helping companies implement their crm, Salesforce, uh, to building retail solutions apps, building e-commerce store, website. Um, all that gray experience made me realize, well, I heard about this magical place go Silicon Valley and the US and I wanna come over and explore more path. So, um, you know, as many folks who do consulting, uh, a natural path is to pursue like a MBA or master of business administration program. So I found a special program that kind of blands, um, traditional MBA as well as, uh, a partner dual degree without engineering school. Uh, you know, doing a lot of design thinking, user research, um, and Northwestern. So I decided to pursue this path, uh, back in 2014. Spent two years in Chicago. Doing various projects around product design, um, and start to develop this passion for product management. Uh, that was the first time I heard about it. But, um, what went wrong was, you know, just like many Korea pivots, um, I am very, I have my strength in building PowerPoint slides. Uh, nowadays people probably laugh at it, like to see how useful that skillset really is, but back then, you know, if you are a consultant, that's something you, you take pride in it, right? So I didn't have any engineering background, um, as you see, and for my, for my story. So I, I kind of talk myself down. I had an poster, like my poster syndrome that I thought maybe product management wouldn't be a good fit, right? Like, I wouldn't, I wouldn't be good at it. I didn't have CS degree. I don't know if I would work well with engineers or not. I just thought, well, I'm very comfortable and very good at making slides. Maybe I should continue to stick to that path. Um, so I did a little bit of coffee chat. Talking to like two product managers from my school. They told me about how they design like one button on like an Adobe Photoshop application. And I was like, ah, not interested in that. Too small a scope, feels like I'm gonna stick to my slides and painting the vision. And so, um, I went back to consulting, uh, after business school. Um, almost immediately regretted it, uh, because I felt like sly are just, you know, if no one pays attention to what you put down on your sly, it doesn't feel like the sense of achievement and ownership of what you, you know, when you, you wanna take charge of, right? So, um, I try to look for projects where I can exercise more sort of ownership and defining the vision work, start working a little bit with developers, um, to build apps and, and, you know, to round out and convict my building that confidence in product management. So I would say about four and a half years to go, Oh. I got an opportunity to work at LinkedIn, uh, in an internal product, um, tooling program management space. So it is a, a role that's in between product and program, uh, in a sense of, I do work with, I did work with engineers and designers. We build, uh, products to serve our internal sales reps. There were 6,000 of them globally, so we built tools to lock their cells, provide insights on how they're selling, uh, and also to management on, um, you know, other sales prospect. And over the two years, I think I develop a lot of conviction of like, Hey, this is really what I wanna do. Um, and I, I, I, I, I know how to work with engineers even without having a formal botanical degree. Um, so about two and a half years ago, I started looking both internally transitioning into our, um, product team, um, you know, be able to fill external user facing tools. That would impact millions of of users as well as also briefly explore outside opportunities outside of LinkedIn. Uh, and then at the end of 2019 or early 2020, uh, I was presented the opportunity to join LinkedIn Learning. Um, and at the time I had a, a real, I think, chemistry with my, my manager. I, at the time, I feel like he was super supportive. I prioritized, you know, manager, uh, and people that I work with. And I was also very passionate about education and learning. Uh, I'm first generation in my family to attend a, you know, college. So I wanted to kind of pay it forward. And with all that goodness coming in, uh, decided to take on that role, uh, with LinkedIn Learning. So I've been, uh, you know, doing various product jobs in that capacity. Um, and that's, that's been my journey. Uh, Happy to share more and some of the struggles that I went through. I think, yeah, it's been a lot of back and forth. I think, uh, for me to try to build that confidence of like, Hey, I can do this job. This is the right fit. Um, even though, oh, one piece of information I would share was when I did decide to take on the product role I did, it's more of a lateral move or slightly downward move if you think about it. Cuz in my old team, I would've already started to manage a small team of two to four people. We were building my charter. Uh, but when you pivot it into product, a lot of that goes back into the individual contributor, the IC work, uh, to kind of build your crafts, uh, proof yourself, uh, all over again. So made that career transition and happy to talk more, uh, later in the. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, there's a lot that we can kind of dissect from that. Um, I want to pivot real quick over to Lauren, uh, to get your background. Cause I think it's, yeah, it's a very different journey and then we can start to pick apart some of those specifics around, um, the tips and things to avoid and what you wish you would've known. So Lauren, why don't you, um, uh, give us your quick summary as well. Thanks Tim, and thanks for sharing more about your journey. Sh I, um, let's see. I, I'd sum up my journey as spending about five years in early stage startups, and then the last seven years in growth stage series c d, um, that growth path from 50 to 200 million after we've already proved product market fit and raised a couple rounds and, and why those two phases are important. When I look back on my own journey is those first five years I really learned from failures. I learned what happens when you raise a bunch of money and don't test. A hypothesis well enough before spending all that money. And I learned what that feels like to, to let teams down and let, um, you know, learning, learning from those failures defines that those first five years. It was also a phase of my life where, uh, a lot of people around me were passionate about ideas. They were passionate about being the one with an idea they were passionate about just startups and building things. And, um, I learned over time, you know, that, that last seven years I learned from successes, failures too. But learned how to work within a really, like a growing user base with proven product market fit, how to test and learn how to fail faster, how to learn early, how to align product development with a true operating plan, um, to, to make money back on that. Money invested. And so where I'm at now, I'm going back to series A, gonna be head of product and try to learn or apply both of those experience back at that early stage and develop a good muscle and. And, uh, see what works. Um, but you know, I, if I think about my unique path into product management, I didn't start there. Uh, none of those first five years was really working in product management roles. I was a co-founder. I was the head of partnerships. I was eventually starting in that, um, my first, the, the, the first company I, the growth stage company I joined was a company called Huddle. Give them a ton of credit for my on-the-job product training. Uh, but I entered in market development, a, a true go to market role where I owned their highest growth stage market and owned really what product roadmap and go to market strategies would help us grow that market segment and turn around some underperforming products in the process. And I learned from, from wearing many hats in my initial roles. I learned, you know, how all of those different roles function. And then when I was working in that go to market role, I really wanted to learn more from these high growth product teams too. And so I sat with the product teams and one of my early PM partners while I was the market development lead taught me a lot about what I knew. And we eventually created, uh, an evolved discipline at that company huddle for product management that took the best of both of those skill sets. It was about 7, 6, 6 years ago or so, seven years ago, um, when you saw two types of product managers and the product manager archetype that was more common was closer to a project manager. Um, and we realized what we really wanted the product manager to own was the business outcome and a lot more of those, uh, really honing that go to market skill set to make prioritization decisions. And, um, so we evolved the product. Role within this company huddle. And, um, I realized that I really wanted to get into product management too, because they say if you're doing, if you're, if you have a hard skill, if you're one of things to add to you're building or, and to, of things. Um, and, and while there's plenty of skills within those and, and subdisciplines within those, I realized I, I really did my, my, my origin story is as a creative, I really wanted to, to learn how to create those things, but I didn't wanna do it sitting on one side of the fence or the other. I really wanted to help connect both of those, those teams and both of those side of the business. Because where the stress comes out and where the failures come is when that operating plan or those assumptions that go into the growth goals for a market segment are not aligned with the product roadmap or you learn too late, you, um, You know, you create a lot of stress for teams that way. So through communication, through really understanding and, and getting some great product training, um, I developed a new hard skillset within product management and really give a lot of credit to huddle for giving me the chance to learn on the job. And so at this point, I'll toss in some advice for, for PMs to really look for if, if you're not, if you're interested in getting into it and you have the opportunity to work for a company that has a, a great discipline, and you enter through some other, uh, skill set or path to really spend a lot of time learning, um, feed that curiosity, understand the outcomes that matter and, and, um, learn at a place where you can get really, really good training. Um, I got to work with Bob MOA on Jobs to Be Done Training Jess Sutherland on Scrumming training. Marty Kagan, Silicon Valley product Group, Empowered Product Manager training Melissa Perry escaping the Build Trap. Annie Duke thinking in bets, like there were a number of different, um, you know, Foundational elements that I got to learn with a product culture that really cared about it. But then when I eventually went to go be, uh, lead the AI product team at Drift, um, I, I was able to lead a team through a really tough time of change, um, that needed a lot of go to market team alignment and a lot of discipline about predictability through a time of a lot of organizational change and road change. So I can get into some more of those specifics and I have plenty of little tidbits of what that journey was like, but now going into a head of product role that journey's really, you know, it's something I've learned to embrace, um, is to really empower the people around me to, to do what they're really good at and to own what I'm really good at. And that go to market skill set has proven to be a really valuable underpinning of the product management skill set. Especially in a leadership role where that alignment across the business really matters to empower the people who are the specialists on your team to really own their areas and execute. So I'll, I'll pause for now. Thanks for giving me the chance to intro. Hey, Startup Techies has this podcast inspired you to explore a new startup career opportunity to make sure to check out my hatchpad.com/jobs to browse startups by stage, tech stack and salary. Yeah, that was great. I, um, I think what's interesting is that neither one of you have that traditional CS dev engineering background. And as someone who I, I engineer, uh, went into VP of engineering, was briefly in product, um, and then left because it wasn't for me. One of the things I've learned over the course of my career is that actually most of the best product managers I've worked with actually don't have that engineering background. Um, I think they do come from places like marketing and go to market and, and the various other parts because. To me, and I'm curious if you guys would agree with this, Um, product is focused on why and what, and if you have too much of an engineering background, you get sort of focused on the how, which is like, that's what the rest of the engineering team should be working on. And so I think it's actually a huge benefit when you don't have that background. I'm curious, um, if that's been both of your, um, experiences as well working with other product managers, your own personal experience. Great question. You can go first. Lauren, I'll let you get, Yeah, I'll let you go first. Lauren Oh, ok. Um, yeah, I, I think it's an interesting one, especially cuz I found myself working on highly technical parts of the product and not been impeded by not having an engineering background. Um, IL over at Drift, um, Smart Cameras, which is a combination of hardware and software at Huddle. Um, live, live broadcasting software at Huddle as well and now at Gold Cast. And um, I think what's made me a really great partner to the engineering directors I've worked with, Is the ability to, to really let them and empower them to do what they're best at. And my own curiosity and, and able to be, um, you know, conversational in the concepts works for me. But something that's that's really allowed my teams to thrive, I believe is me owning, Okay, my, I'm gonna own the go to market alignment. I'm going to really help drill down to what's most important for the business so that when it comes to complexity, you can coach me on where that complexity lies and help us drill down to what's the trade off that's gonna matter. And, and then like a really good partner in learning what matters to them. Leaning in, being like that team psychologist to understand, okay, how, how can we help, um, drive engineering culture forward? But like you said, Mike, not focusing on the how, but focusing on the what and the why and prioritization and team culture and values and, um, empowering owners across the team as. Has helped me thrive Without that background, I, I detail what Lauren and Mike said. Um, I think for me, I also was working on pretty, pretty tonical product on the platform side as well as AI and nl, um, until my recent role. I think something in addition to what both of you said, that would be value add for a no, 10:00 PM coming in is that ability. Two things. One, I think is our ability to simplify things because majority of the business, even sometimes VP of engineering or director of engineering, when they operate at that level and you, you're running some model or some training of the data, it's really hard for them to expl, like, to really quickly grasp what is the gist, what is the value that the, that piece of experiment or technology brings to table. So being able to communicate from a value centric, um, you know, approach versus just highlighting, Oh, we're doing this experiment, running this model. And, you know, it helps to bring visibility into the work, um, uh, and that engineering sometimes, you know, are not very comfortable being their own self-advocate. So I think as a pm communicating a value centric turn and bring that visibility, I think really, really help being that glue between a development team and rest of the business, the go to market teams. I think the second value that PM kind of bring in, in addition to the vision, um, I think it's, it's sort of the, the storytelling aspect and also how to be able to ask smart question from, from data looking at experiment. I think a lot of times, like coming into an AI discussion, I remember I would just ask very basic user inside question that, you know, the data is available, but the engineer have not thought about interpreted data that in that particular way. Um, and I think those have been really, really helpful. Like, you know, if we are looking at our search data, sometimes most basic thing I would ask is just like what are some, what are some of the common terms that people search? Are they successful? Are they the why? And just understand that I think gives you a lot of insight. And it's almost like I'm working with my engineering team firsthand, training them to gain user insight and sometimes they really, really appreciate that. Go ahead Lauren. I think you're about to say something. Yeah, I was gonna build off of that. I was gonna, I was thinking to myself how I found some of the best product innovation ideas even come from engineering. And sometimes the engineers, oftentimes the engineers on my team are really, really close to that user data. And it made me think about what things engineers traditionally don't like to. And they often overlap with the things I do like to do. And that's, that's been like, that's really worked. I've gotten to start off a lot of those relationships with like, Hey, you don't like stakeholder management. You don't like having to go through the justification and get everyone on board and do the pitch and like find that, you know, I like doing that. And so like that end ends up often starting off a really great partnership of aligning on what are your strengths? What don't you like to do? What do you wanna rely on me for? And, um, that, that ability to bring all the data together, influence all the stakeholders, help reduce the thrash of, of road requirements, um, you know, it can be helpful to lean in with your engineering partners and, you know, every engineering product partner is gonna have a different skill set combo and engineering and design n pm kinda, uh, triangle too. And so to, to lead off those relationships with really understanding what your strengths are and how you're gonna lean on each other has always me well. I appreciate that you nailed all the reasons why I left Product all of that, trying to get alignment and the rest of it was a, was definitely a challenge for me. Uh, well that would've been a good care. There you go. I like maybe the next opportunity, I like some of these terms that are getting thrown out too, like team psychologists, like that's a, that's a good one. Um, but, you know, I think sh you brought up something interesting that I feel like, uh, you know, maybe we can expand on because you, you referenced like imposter syndrome, um, and not really feeling like, I don't know, like, and I don't wanna take the, I wanna take this a little bit from the angle of breaking into product management because I think this is a unique. Just topic in itself, because it's not truly something that you're gonna just, you know, study a core like product management throughout your undergrad and know exactly like, Oh, I'm gonna get into product management straight outta school. Oftentimes that's rare. Um, you know, there's sometimes associate PM positions and, uh, things of that nature, but oftentimes, you know, you'll go on Reddit and there's hundreds of subreddits talking about, you know, what are my, you know, I, I come from an MBA background where I'm, I'm a consultant or, you know, what are my best chances of getting into a product position? Um, and I think that leads down this imposter syndrome that you were referencing of, I don't know if I was, you know, meant to be in this seat or not. Um, because I still have so much I need to learn. And, you know, Lauren, you, you, you hit it on the head with, you know, your experience at Huddle, like finding a company that gives you that opportunity to kind of spread your. But, but what would you say gives folks like their best advantage to getting into a product seat? You know, if they're looking at their background and you know, what they might want to consider when trying to present that to, you know, a hiring manager when they're, you know, trying to obtain that role. Um, that's a little bit vague, but yeah, I'd love to just kinda like get into that weeds of some of that. I wanna take the first stab at this one. Cause I have a funny anecdote for my past. I used to, I spent 10 years working in sports tech and it was the same thing. Everyone wanted a job in sports, not everyone, but it was like, I'd go to a career panel and people would be like, How do you get a job in sports? I love sports. I'm so passionate about sports. In interviews for my companies, I'd be interviewing people. Well, I'm really qualified cause I love sports. And it used to occur to me, and I like to use this analogy for product management because it was like, That's, that's not a qualification. Like really wanting to, like, I think the, the parallel for product management is like, I have really good ideas or like I'm, I love, like I, I feel like really close to the customer and I think I have the ideas that it would take to build a product roadmap to solve those problems. And the reason I like the sports analogy is cuz I used to bring it back to, okay, sports, it's a field. Like what? You have to know the value and the outcomes you're gonna contribute to. Like what, what is the outcome that you're gonna drive, that you're gonna add value to within that sports organization? And I used to give that as advice to people who wanna give into sports. It's like, okay, what is the bus business outcome you're gonna drive? How are you uniquely positioned to solve it? That's more of like an interview advice, but within product, if you're trying to break. Think about what outcomes you've already driven can do. You have a track record of understanding the, the system beyond your role of how it all comes together about driving outcomes within that system of driving alignment, about identifying a problem, testing and learning, whether it's wrong, evaluating alternatives, seeing where your assumptions are, getting it to all the way through to user value. And you know you can do that within a CU customer success role. You can do that within a business development role. You can do that in a marketing role. You can go and volunteer for things outside the scope of your role and be really outcome focused. And in a product management interview or even within your company, you're gonna get that track record of being like, I produce outcomes. Cause that's what matters as a product manager. And so if you understand what outcomes you're gonna drive for both the customer and the business and can speak to them and always having that mentality, that's gonna be more valuable for getting into product management than any idea you could cite as why your ideas are than else's. So I'm curious to hear what you think should be. Yeah. Lauren, I, I love what you said. Um, I like to address this question in two part, cuz I really think there are two questions, Tim. One is, how do you overcome imposter syndrome? And then that in imposter syndrome manifested even more so when you try to get into a popular role. Lip product management, which is the second part of the question. Um, I think the first part about imposter syndrome, it's, it's so funny because, um, I read a book that I recommend folks to check out. It's called Positive Intelligent. There's 10 different sabotages for yourself, uh, that manifested in different ways to try to like judge you or stop you from, you know, doing more, playing bigger and living a more purposeful or productive or fruitful life. Right? And those are the 10 different type of voice that could tell you like, you're not qualified for this role or you're not good enough, or this and that. It's judging you for what you did. And actually there's a lot of science about it. I'm not gonna go into the detail, but the gist is that since hunger or gather a days like our mindset, our brain is wired to protect us. So anytime we try anything that's remotely hard or unfamiliar, you gotta hear that voice. It just different tones and narrative, right? And we don't know that it's imposter syndrome in the beginning. Like, I didn't know. But you're just gonna hear a voice and say, Oh, maybe I wouldn't be good for it. Maybe I, you know, maybe someone else is better. Uh, just because you're trying something new. Um, and, and you need to get familiar, insanely familiar with that voice because anytime you're gonna do something hard, anything that's eventually meaningful that you're growing, you're gonna hear that voice. And so I think the, the trick to overcome imposter syndrome is not to be afraid of it. Not to think of it like something you could overcome once, and then that would be it. I think it's something you had to like, constantly deal with. Um, unless you're, you stop trying, you live in a very comfortable, easy life that you might regret like couple years down a row and then start over again, and then filling that. So I think you need to learn how to embrace it and get familiar with like what song, what negative chatter is singing to you so that you knew, okay, you can catch it and then you can then reframe it and, and and, you know, and then be able to cope with it better. And now to your second question about breaking into pm, I think Laura mentioned such an important point. I feel like a lot of folks wanted to break into product, but they are approaching it from their own angle. Like, Oh, I'm a customer support manager. How do I, how do I break in? Or I was a consultant, how do I break in? I think you need to embrace a new identity again, and Posta syndrome will show up. But how can you explain your current job from the lens of a product manager, right? Like, How, how are you able to drive value? What impact did you deliver? What problem did you solve? How did you decide what problem to solve? Um, did you talk to a user? How do you get their insight? How do you prioritize what they say and translated it into a product roadmap? I think a lot of it is embracing this new identity of like, I'm already acting as a product manager in my current role in my color and capacity, and how do I tell a better story to reflect that? I think that's one. I also think that the other one is a lot of times people think of they're gonna get their dream product job and one go. Um, I think in current, you know, market dynamic, sometimes it's hard. So I, I encourage people to embrace a multiple step phase approach and also be open minded to different types of company. Um, I know that for bigger companies like the FANG Company, LinkedIn include. Sometimes they're very strict about a certain, you know, you have to be a product manager before you can apply for a product role that catch 22. I encourage people to open up to startups, so other, other companies that are more welcoming, um, to career pivots who can bring a different skill to the table. Uh, so don't pigeon holding yourself just into maybe one type of company or one stage of company. And you can always, you know, try something else first. Get that product title and then apply for maybe more mature company, company that have like higher threshold, perform years of product experience. And then you, you're gonna shape your path, you know, once you, you're in the field and learning on the job. Um, so stay open minded. I think it's my other, other tip. Awesome. I have a quick, quick counterpoint to your first point, Shie, that kinda gets at what you were making, the point you were making at your second point. You were talking about imposter syndrome and then you were talking about like getting the experience and charting your own path. And when you were talking about imposter syndrome, I was thinking to myself, so many people who wanna be PMs I think are like the most confident people I've run into in my career. Like sometimes overly confident. And when I brought up that idea about your ideas, uh, being great ideas being why you wanna get into pm, um, I think sometimes like to all of those people who are trying to get into pm I also encourage you to be realistic about the humility you will build in your first couple years of product management. You will fail, you will learn your ideas and your three year vision for the product is not gonna come to life. I like, this was my journey, my first couple years into it really like, I, I genuinely mean like you will, you will need to account for two to three years minimum of building a humility muscle of like. Really trying to learn what you don't know, um, in your day to day, in your, over your year of your career and like, and, and try to structure those years to learn as much as possible to know going in, it's gonna take time, it's gonna take, and, um, that is the most valuable use of your time if you really wanna have a longer career in product management. I think it's interesting the imposter syndrome and then the overconfidence because my, my experience is to see both in the same person. Like first of all, I can speak to myself, I have imposter syndrome. I remember early in my career my mentor telling me, just lean into it. Like, just ask yourself like what is it like and how are you gonna overcome it? And listen to that voice, and use that voice as a way of like your guide to how to overcome this stuff. But I can also say that I've worked with money, especially in product who come in. Um, I think they're scared that they're gonna be found out that they don't know what they're doing. And so they, the way that comes across is this overconfidence, this, They don't want to ask questions. They don't want to appear to not know what they're talking about. And I think. That one of the hallmarks of a, of a product person is asking good questions and saying, I don't know. And, and maybe there's some other way and, and other things along those lines. I think that's, I I think both of you're basically getting it the same thing, which is like, but just from different angles and I think there's lots of, lots of great content there. Probably So true. I like to call it working in public as the solution to like, not feeling like you have to show up with all the answers and just being open to being wrong and learning and asking those questions and saying, This is where we're at. And, and meeting with as many people as you can to, to learn it, whether that's an initiative in the, of your career. Yeah, and I think like, um, you know, there's the, so there's the, the breaking into product, um, piece that we're talking about. And then I think, you know, when we talk about product management and, and it being such a vast space, um, I was looking on, uh, your LinkedIn feed and of course you're putting out great content from being part of LinkedIn. Uh, and there was a specific post that I was just kind of like reading through that I thought was really helpful. Uh, and it was something that I think off of like a reforged template as well, but it was about, you know, how to create a PM career roadmap. Um, and I think this is just a general exercise that I find is probably, you know, transferable not just on, you know, the PM path, but also when you're going through a job search and you're trying to understand like, you know, who, who do I wanna work with? Like from a company size perspective, you know, what is it that I'm passionate about from vertical? Um, and some of the things that you're, that you referenced, I wanna point out, and we can also share it in the, in the notes is, um, you know, what type of product work that you enjoy doing? Like, do you think that, like that zero to one path is great or do you think like this finding product market fit could be great? You know what stage of the company right? Early stage. Well funded stage. Is it, you know, mature pre ipo or is it public? Uh, what domain will you excel in? You know, do you like you b2b, you know, apps you like, b2c, B2B to C you know, that's also where you can bake in like industry and vertical, like FinTech or health tech. Um, you, you reference some, uh, pm archetypes. So like user facing versus more of a technical pm uh, the level that you wanna grow into. IC manager, maybe founders on your, on your vision board. Um, and then you break down like core competencies. So like, like requirement definition, product delivery, user design, research, product roadmaps, storytelling. What are the things that you think that you were really good at? Um, and I, I thought it was a really helpful kind of f. We'll, obviously repost it, but I just wanted to kind of commend you that that was, and I think that was something that, you know, Reforge, um, which is a, a products management school, I believe, um, had kind of pushed out as something that folks can tap into when they're trying to understand like what path is really that path. And that would probably be like after you've kind of broken in a little bit to product. But, um, yeah, absolutely. I I, it's one of the most popular posts I, I created. So definitely, uh, share in the show notes and folks should check out. I think a couple things. First, um, just to wrap up the Imposer syndrome, breaking into pm I think my summary from the two spectrum of overconfidence and lack of confidence is that you overcome post the syndrome by showing that you don't know everything and you're okay with it, and asking question, learning in the open, uh, and bringing people along the journey, the learning journey with you. I think that's how you would overcome it so that the, the two actually tie in perfectly together. Second, Tim, to your point, yes, it's a really helpful framework and I also recommend re Forge having a lot of different resource, their blocks, even if you don't pay, you know, the annual membership fee. Their blocks have some articles that were written by a lot of operators, uh, that had years of product experience of various domain that go in pretty in depth. So I think if you, under just even doing research about understanding what you do as product marketers versus product management, I think it will give you a lot of case studies and frameworks to embrace specifically on this career death framework. I encourage everyone to check out and do that reflection, but just like what I was saying and what law room was saying, be realistic, meaning that you might have a current version of your roadmap. You might have an idealistic version, like I wanna do consumer facing products like Instagram, real whatnot, like sexy customer, consumer product. But if you, all of your experience so far is b2b, for example. Then you, it might be a really hard pivot for you to go straight from B2B all the way to, to consumer, you know, front end, you know, development. So you might need to pivot it into potentially a user facing B2B product, like, you know, Slack and a lot of other, other B2B application, right? Nowadays emphasize a lot on beautiful UX and ui. So you might go for that version first, or you might go to a B2C company that values aspects of b2b, such as monetization, like, you know, other like ads. So make sure you use that as a way to plan your roadmap. Like it might take multiple steps before you get to where you eventually wanna go. I do think it's a great framework for sort of periodic reflection, right? Maybe at the end of every year or every six months you try to like, check in with yourself, see where you are at. Maybe things change, maybe your preferences change. Uh, I think it's a good framework to kind of embrace and, and like help you. Reflect on your progress. Good stuff. Yeah, I, I was gonna say, like, we can keep going on this unless you guys wanna jump. We can do the wheel. I didn't know. Um, uh, if there was a, you know, we could probably do a follow up episode to be, to be honest, we've got a lot left to meet on the bone. But, um, anything I guess, Lauren, that you wanted to kinda, uh, cap off with and then we can just jump to the wheel, um, and give it a spin. Yeah, sure. Um, on the subject of designing your career path, I, I love Chevy's example of designing it like a product roadmap. Mm-hmm. I haven't read the post, but it resonated with me to, to think very realistically about what skills you will need and finding ways to go get. And if you're at a company where you can translate the skills you would get as a product manager to be helpful to whatever area of the product or business you work on now, um, try it something like I mentioned, the jobs to be done training, um, can, can be very valuable to different areas of the business if you truly understand the user job to be done. So if you're in a customer success role and wanna be more product adjacent, you could try to proactively get that training, uh, either sponsored by your, your work or outside of it, and you could then volunteer for those types of initiatives. I, I can't stress enough the amount of volunteering or kind of side of desk thinking that would go into this if you really do wanna make the transition. But getting really close to those teams, understanding how they work, starting to understand the basic principles of Scrum and Agile because predictability and delivering things on time for a roadmap really starts to be like the inner mechanics of. How to prioritize, how to commit, how to scope things to the minimum viable product, those types of principles. Doing as much learning as you can to really architect that beginning phase of your journey. Um, you can, you can, it's like, you know, the advice you might give someone who wants to write a book, like you said, or like, make a totally separate career pivot. You're gonna have, like, if you wanna be making, making money at the same time, you might have to start while you currently have a day job and then eventually test and learn. And you might be able to interview within your company or you might not have any interviews within your company and you might wanna try interviewing and get failed interviews and see why you got rejected. And look, look for feedback. I have, um, a really great experience interviewing for a position at Netflix, in which I made it to the final. But learned that, ah, I just didn't have enough of one thing that they were looking for. But I had a follow up call with the hiring manager and she got to explain to me exactly like what she would've liked to see instead. And then I worked for the, worked on that for the next six months at my job and it, it was no longer a problem. And we've stayed in touch and she's a great mentor. And so if you can look for any opportunities to get feedback, then you're gonna be pouring your, your effort into know the right growth area for, for that. So like a true product roadmap, you in those opportunities for feedback to learn where you're wrong, and then pour that additional six of the right place and you'll get there. Awesome. Well said. Well, I, I'm, I'm gonna stick to the, to the wheel just because, uh, Mike, if you gotta jump a little early No worries. We can, um, we can still kind of, uh, work things out. Um, but, uh, yeah, we'll, we'll transition, um, to, to this segment. It's called Round Out My Career. So it's a, a se a session where we have this community wheel behind me. It has topics and questions that are kind of crowdsourced from, uh, the Hatchpad community. And, uh, they can range from anything from, you know, navigating compensation discussions to diversity and so forth. So let's give it a spin and see what today's topic is. Let's round it out. All right, leadership. So, All right, so let's, um, have a quick peek here. So, you know, this is a little bit generic, but, um, you know, I think it's appropriate. We, we've got obviously a great, uh, couple of, couple of folks here that have, uh, one who, which works for LinkedIn Learning. So this might be a tee up, uh, for you. But, um, I'm generally curious on, you know, from, uh, leadership courses, trainings. Development that you've taken. Um, doesn't have, it doesn't have to be coursework per se. It could be specific books, uh, around leadership. Uh, but, uh, anything that comes to mind that you feel has been kind of instrumental in your specific development, uh, as it applies to being a leader? Um, should won we start with you. All right. So many Try hard, try hard. I condense into a few. So I think the first one, um, what Get what got you here won't get you. There is a, a pretty good book that summarize, especially for anyone who's looking to transition. I think from like an individual contributor to someone who's leading, influencing with our authority or star managing people, I think that's a really good book. Um, I, I also really like what we already discussed today of like asking question, showing your empathy. I think being able to ask thoughtful question is one way to show empathy and compassion. And that's kind of been my, my leadership, uh, principle. Um, I did created a course on, uh, managing personal productivity as a way to, part of it is also being a more compassionate leader. Uh, so my LinkedIn profile, there's a link that goes directly that you can consume in the course for free. Um, you know, from, from that link. Um, last but least, I would just say that the best leader that I usually admire are someone who are a servant leader, right? That always think about how to elevate the team versus being really near shore sided and like, not very inspirational. Yes, they get results done, but they also care about their people. Um, so I always look for, um, role models like that in my, in my life. That's great. Um, yeah, we'll have a ton of, uh, references here to draft in the show notes. Um, Lauren, how about yourself? So for the purposes of this leadership question, let's assume you're already trained in the basics of product management. I, I mentioned five books earlier in the podcast, or, or training mechanisms. So let's assume you already know the basics of product management. There's one thing, there's one thing that's made the biggest difference for me over the last year and a half when it comes to leadership, and that is, uh, The Negotiation Masterclass by Chris Vos. It's available on masterclass, and I wanted to skip ahead. When I opened it up, I was like, Oh, well I already know that part about building trust and I kind of wanna just get to that part. That's maybe about like the very specific type of negotiation I wanna do. And I came in with this assumption about why I needed negotiation and what it was. But the course was designed to not let you skip ahead. I had to go through those initial. Parts, and it helped me realize how much I didn't know already someone already in a leadership role about leadership and communication. And I would so encourage anyone to, to spend the time looking at it and re reviewing as someone who's already built their muscle about building trust and, uh, you know, leadership through communication. Revisit it with this guy, Chris Boss. Uh, he's a trained, uh, hostage negotiator and he is well known for training sales people on how to negotiate. We come in with this idea of what negotiation is, and some people brand it as this, you know, ability to get what you want out of a situation. And he kind of, he totally rebrands it and he's like, true negotiation is about getting to an outcome that both people want and making the process really enjoyable and building trust along the way. And the tactics I learned, and even those first couple mods of that course changed the way I have day to day conversations. With my coworkers change the enjoyment I get out of them. Change the actual ability to learn from those people. Things that I was making, assumptions going into those conversations. And they're really small tactics. They do boil down to listening more, but there's very specific ways you can get people to reveal more in a way that they're trusting you while revealing more. Um, that I just, I mean to use, to use a simple one, uh, I, I go into to conversations and think that I was building trust by restating to people, like, you know, showing them that I kind of knew maybe where they were coming from. And he helps you realize how, even if you were to know exactly where they're coming from, that doesn't build trust, that doesn't build empathy. Having them, giving them the opportunity to state it in their own words and know you've heard them is like the master differentiator. So I think it, it really empowered me to do even more listening than I was already doing. Use a couple key tactics to really. Give other people the floor and I've seen really, really great results from it. So I'd highly recommend the Art of Negotiation Masterclass by Chris Vos in whatever format you choose to Listen it that's great. That's have to do iss. We, we, we to have to negotiate with stakeholders and with roadmap items, customers. And the more you can listen, the more you can learn the the better for your career. I'm big, big Masterclass fan. I really enjoy that. The book, um, from by Chris was too. So I think the class might be even more engaging and easier for to consume. So Dito that recommendation. That's great. Mike, did you have anything you wanted to throw in there? I mean, that's a tough, that's a tough act to follow thinking, so, so, um, the Manager's path is a good book. Recommended throughout my career by multiple people. I've recommended it. It's, it's, it's worth it. Um, and then mentors, I, I, I, I think that, um, especially now, it's probably even more of a challenge with the pandemic and a lot of working from home. But, um, so much of what I've learned was from identifying managers. Not even my manager was frequently a manager of a different team that like I really enjoyed or appreciated their, their, their method or something about them, um, and emulating them. And then, um, and having a couple of mentors, um, over the course of my career, um, who've really had a good impact, um, on being able to give me those lessons and like, Hey, you think you know this, but like they can really hold you accountable and call your, you know, call you out on your bullshit of like, No, you don't actually know what you're doing and you should probably focus more in this area and stuff like that. So that would be mine. Making of a manager is another good one. And, uh, a surprising one that I haven't heard other people read is the Dream Manager. It's all about this philosophy of like, you really understand someone's personal and career dreams beyond the current job. Um, you can really kind of align what they're doing day to day toward that. And so, yeah, for, for people who are looking to get into management too, as well as product management mm-hmm. um, it's, you know, super, super valuable skill to aligning teams toward outcomes. Yeah. I, I'll just kind of, you know, quickly throw in a couple more, more items. You know, I, I did a lot of like digging into, you know, online leadership courses. I, you know, I've been running a, uh, a small business for 10 years and, you know, never, you know, uh, never, never thought about like, you know, going back and getting an MBA or, um, you know, figuring out how that would help me, you know, be a better polished, you know, entrepreneur. Um, and I think there was a certain point where I was like, you know, I, I would actually benefit from having some sort of, you know, academic training. Uh, so I went and, uh, did a, a leadership course through MIT's, um, Management Sloan School, basically on how to be a, how to be a leader and, and like they said, it's, uh, an exponentially changing world. Um, and just kind of like bringing it into, for me anyways, it was right after we went fully remote, um, and trying to understand how to, to really kind of keep my team motivated, um, you know, keep culture morale high. Uh, those were things that, you know, it was helpful to, to kind of get a little bit of a validation from, you know, a, a certified school. But at the same token, I'd say probably the best has been kinda, you touched on it, Mike, which is find like really like mentors that are kind of in your lane, uh, that have maybe done really what you've done in specific growth spurts, uh, and getting their 2 cents. That's been, that's been probably the most helpful as far as, you know, relevant to, uh, growing a small business. Um, and then I just, I would say like there's forums of communities, um, that are really in your sweet spot. And one that we always like to promote is Rans leadership, Slack community. Um, they have a ton of great, you know, just engineering, product focused leadership, real specific, you know, um, uh, going from like, uh, you know, IC to manager or how to be a staff engineer, that's, that's graduating my career. There's a lot of different, very specific, uh, like sub channels in the Slack. So, um, I like to give that one a, a shout out. Um, and then obviously like, yeah, LinkedIn, I mean, you know, we do a ton of research and, uh, there's a ton of great courses on LinkedIn that we love to partake in and, and offer up to some of our, our management team that's, that's trying to broaden their skill set. So, Um, other than that, I think we are, um, gonna wrap here. So if there's anything specifically that you all wanted to shout out in terms of where folks can find you, uh, you can do so now. Um, and then we'll wrap it up. It could be social media, it could be, you know, I don't know if there's anything specific. Lauren, I know you need a job. Why don't you start? Sure. Yeah, you can find me on LinkedIn, Lauren Craton on LinkedIn. Um, would love to, uh, find a few more folks to mentor over the course of the next year. So, always looking to connect with familiar faces and, and new unfamiliar. Nice. All right. Likewise. You can also find me on LinkedIn. Follow me. Um, also, every, almost every Friday, I host another show called the PM Learning series, where I get to interview some PM thought leaders, uh, and industry builders on their journey, particularly in product management. So if you are wanna continue your learning, uh, after today's show, uh, you can join me on Fridays. Awesome. All right. Thank you all for joining us. This is a lot of fun. Are you a startup founder or tech leader looking to grow your engineering or product teams? If so, Hatch, it could be a partner worth exploring. We've helped hundreds of startups scale their tech teams with relational and marketing driven recruiting solutions. Check out Hatch it.io/hire to learn more about how we can help your teams grow.