Ep.29: Breaking Into Product - Entrepreneurship + 'Failures' + Pivot to PM

We’ve all heard lots of product stories from entrepreneurs who made it big, but what about product people who *almost* made it big? 

Taylor tells us about his breaking-into-product journey. After finishing college, and a short stint selling pre-paid cremation products in the Bay area (which is the best story ever), Taylor comes up with the idea for his first product, and becomes an almost-famous entrepreneur (my words, not his). After a series of successes ,'failures'  and a stint as an EIR, Taylor finds his niche as a product manager in a tech start-up.

This story highlights how the entrepreneurial spirit plays into being a successful product manager, and how a love for solving problems is key to success as a PM. Also, in general is just a delightful career journey into product management.

Links

Product Popcorn Newsletter
Product Popcorn Facebook Group
Product Popcorn on Twitter

Timeline

3:10: Rant Rumor Report + Taylor Intro
6:50: Acronomicon
7:30: Taylor’s Path to PM
17:10: “Failures” + startup #2
25:50: EIR
27:30: Product Management Pivot
35:30: Lessons from entrepreneurship that are relevant for product managers

Ep.28: Weapons of Math Destruction - A Machine Learning Engineer's Take

Our guest today is Mia Fuhrman, a machine learning engineer. Mia turned me onto a book called Weapons of Math Destruction, which all product managers should read. The book talks about how we’ve outsourced human decision making to machines, with the justification that humans are biased - but algorithms aren’t.

HOWEVER, this assumption is *wrong.* And algorithms - as we’ll demonstrate through use cases from the book - can actually be worse than people. 

Guest Link

Mia Fuhrman, Machine Learning Engineer


Links Mentioned in the Episode

Weapons of Math Destruction - 3 Takeaways for Product Managers

NIPS Conference

NYT Article - Even Imperfect Algorithms can Improve the Justice System

Nazi Chatbot 

Ep.27: Product Marketing + Ad Tech Customer Journeys + A Spanish Song (Not By Shakira)

This week on the podcast we have Leah Brite, product marketing director at SpotX, to tell us about Ad Tech basics, and also product marketing.

Ad Tech is an important industry to know about right now, and Leah walks us through an Ad Tech customer journey, and gives us some general background on how Ad Tech works (and SpotX's platform in particular.

Leah also talks about core functions of product marketing, how PMMs (product marketing managers) and PMs (product managers) can work well together. There's also a recipe for homemade bitters in there somewhere. 

Timeline:

2:50: Rant, Rumor, Report - New ‘no snack’ rule; Grow with Google Update, shout-outs
5:50 - Leah Intro
8:10: How to Make Homemade bitters
10:10: Adtech Basis
    10:30: Use Case #1: Jacob
    21:05: Supply & Demand
    23:55: SpotX & Video Adtech
    26:25 SpotX - a typical customer journey
29:10: Product Marketing: 
    29:30: Functions of Product Marketing (vs. Product management)
    38:10: How product managers can work well with product marketing

Guest Links:

Leah Brite (LinkedIn)

From the blog:

Top 10 pieces of Product Management Career Advice
7 Product Management Events Under $1000 You Should Attend in 2018

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Ep.26: Blockchain Basics for Product Managers + Kimberly's Embarrassing Mock Technical Interview

All product managers should know the basics of blockchain - what it is, what it can do, and popular use cases.

In this episode, Adam and I talk blockchain with two other developers. We also speculate if John McCain has any BitCoin, and discuss spinach supply chains, Estonia's awesome use of blockchain, and why ketchup is an amateur condiment (not in that order, though.)

Timeline

:58: Kim’s fake technical interview
5:20: Rant Rumor Report
13:20: Blockchain
        14:40: Warm Up Game
        16:35: Acronomicon
        21:05: Blockchain basics “Explain it like I’m 12 years old”
        22:15: John’s McCain’s BitCoin
        25:35: Use Cases - Smart Contracts
        31:05: Spinach and Ebola + other supply chain examples
        33:50: EHR + Estonia
        35:38: Security + Dealing with Private Keys
        41:00: Is Blockchain dead?

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Blockchain Basics for Product Managers
Why I Started and Quit my MBA in 24 Hours
Follow my Grow with Google Coding Journey
 

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FRIDAY BONUS EPISODE: Black Mirror S4 E2 Review with Jamie Love

I'm obsessed with Black Mirror, and I think it's the perfect show for product managers, since it explores how technology can be used in different ways.

It's also a great exploration of what products NOT to build, unless you're a PM interested in creating a tech-driven dystopian future, that is.

During this mini-fun-Friday-episode, which starts with a pretty spectacular rap from Jamie Love, we discuss Season 4's Arkangel episode.

Blog: Black Mirror S4 E2 - Arkangel

Ep.25: Scaling PM from Startup to Enterprise + Developer Experience - UX's Non-Celebrity Sibling

Our guest today is Scott Williamson, VP of Product at SendGrid. Scott has worked at SendGrid since 2013, when the PM team was small, and has grown the product team to support SendGrid's (much larger) size. 

Scott has a great blog series on the 7 keys to scaling product management, and we hit some of those key points, while diving deep on #7, which is building a developer experience team. If you work on a product used by developers in any capacity (i.e. maybe you work on a SaaS product which also offers a suite of APIs for devs), listen up to the Developer Experience portion of this episode. SendGrid is doing this right, and all PMs can learn from Scott's experience.

Before the interview, Adam and I talk feedback from our doctor episode, and my updates on the Grow with Google scholarship.

Please leave the podcast a review on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher! You'll be our FAVORITE listener! :-)

Timeline

0:25: Intro, listener feedback from last two episodes, Grow with Google update
9:10: What Mark Zuckerberg sounds like + upcoming episodes
11:50: Interview with Scott    
       11:55: Intro + Acronomicon
       13:05: Scott's thoughts on PM + MBA
       16:40: Overview of SendGrid's product & Scott's role
       19:30: Growing a team - what's important as you scale?
       28:30: Maturing the Product Planning Process
       33:05: Investing in Customer Validation
       37:25: Developer Experience + Building a DX Team

Guest Links

Scott Williamson, VP at SendGrid

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Scaling Product Management at SendGrid
Building a Developer Experience Team
A Product Manager Learns to Code, Week 2
Grow with Google Scholarship/ Udacity

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Ep.24: Breaking into (Gaming) Product Management + A Rant About Wine + Our Thoughts on Crocs

Today we interview gaming product manager Peter Knudson, who works at Unity, an online gaming platform. Peter gives us some perspective on how he got into product management and specifically gaming, and monetization models in gaming that can be applied to other products outside of gaming.

Before the interview Adam and I report on Udacity’s Grow with Google scholarship (for PMs who want to learn to code), Kimberly starting her MBA, and we rant about how to improve the user experience of the wine store. 

Please leave the podcast a review on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher!

Timeline

0:20: Intro, shenanigans
3:25: Udacity Grow with Google scholarship and how PMs can learn to code
10:30: MBA and our thoughts on Crocs
13:38: Wine Store user experience (very important)
20:05: Interview with a gaming PM    
       23:50: Acronomicon
       28:26: Cool Sh*t or bulls*t
       33:20: Breaking into Gaming Product Management
       38:30: Applying gaming product principles to other products
       40:40: Ad monetization in games
       42:35: Advice for breaking into the gaming industry

Guest Links

Peter Knudson: http://PeterKnudson.com
Subscribe to his PM Lunch Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2G2XkvU

Links Mentioned in the Episode

A Product Manager Buys Wine
A Product Manager Learns to Code Week 1
Codecademy
Grow with Google Scholarship/ Udacity

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Ep.23: There's Product Management in My Medicine: Interview with a (Real) Doctor

I’ve been looking for a doctor for some time to come on the podcast and talk about product problems in medicine. Stuff like - Why is innovation adoption so slow in medicine? How will AI change my experience at the hospital? Why can’t I schedule an appointment with my doctor online? What are the problems that product people can solve?

We’re joined by Mike, a Denver-area radiologist, who answers these questions, and brings to light other unexpected product problems that are just waiting to be solved.

Finally - how can tech work with medicine to solve problems that we’ve already solved in other industries?

Timeline

  • 1:00: Intro and shenanigans
  • 10:40: Product Use Cases in Medicine
    • 17:20 - Will AI steal doctors’ jobs?
    • 20:10 - Tech adoption, barriers to adoption in medicine
    • 24:25 - Scheduling ‘Wheel of Fortune'
    • 28:40 - Incentives and some product opportunity use cases
    • 41:05 - Medical Tourism
    • 42:45 - Tech + Medicine solving product problems. 
    • 51:30 - An example of a manual process
    • 55:00 - The product opportunity in medicine

Links Mentioned in the Episode

AI in Radiology - Wired
IBM's Watson in Radiology

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Ep.22: Jobs to be Done - An Important Product Management Theory

Brian Rhea did a presentation Jobs-to-be-Done theory, and I wanted to share it with my podcast listeners.

I had never heard of Jobs-to-be-Done before seeing Brian’s presentation, and now I'm obsessed. It's changed the way I think about my product its features. Use this theory when you’re scoping out requirements, thinking about your product's competitors, and especially working with your UX team.

Timeline


0:20: Intro Brian Rhea, Alexa vs. Google Mini
10:45: Cool Stuff or Bull Stuff
13:52: Acronomicon + Puns
15:45: Listener Question: Prioritizing features, what MVP actually means
20:05: JTBD
20:40: JTBD Framework Origins + The Milkshake Story
24:20: JTBD Use Cases
30:20: Forces of Progress + Changing Customer Behavior
36:00: Innovation vs. ‘repackaging'Guest Link:

Brian Rhea, hirebrianrhea.com 
Get a free 4-email newsletter on JTBD by signing up on his website

Links Mentioned in the Episode

3 Important Things to Know about JTBD
Jobs to be Done - 8 Things to Use
Getting Started with Jobs to be Done
Reconciling Jobs to be Done and Personas

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Ep.21: Interview with a Recruiter + Your New Year's Career Goals

I had some recruiting questions and luckily was able to meet Emma B. who can tell us about her experience in recruiting, sought after skills in the industry, and do’s and don’t’s if you're looking for a new gig.

We’re going to talk culture. We’re going to talk in-demand skills. We’re going to talk sticky situations and how to handle them. And we’re going to get Emma’s opinion on beer in the office.

Guest Link

Emma Bindbeutel, HR Manager

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Red panda playing with a ball (for bad days)

New Year's Resolutions for Product Managers post

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Ep.20: Architects + Product Peeps, Together Forever

Jeff Weiland, architect at Spectrum, weighs in on how product managers and architects can work well together. We talk about the difference between application architects and architects, what the ideal architect - product relationship is, and define the difference between a developer and an architect. 

Wrapping up 2017, I’d like to thank everyone for listening during our first 20 episodes. We have LOTS of great stuff coming up in 2018!

Timeline

  • 1:00 - Intro, Acronomicon (3:20), Shenanigans, Reminiscing about Product Popcorn Episodes 1 & 2
  • 8:25 - This or That (game)
  • 12:15 - Application architect vs. architect
  • 18:10 - The ideal architect <-> product relationship 

Guest Link

Jeff Weiland - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeff-weiland-8b852194/

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Ep.19: A Very Strange & Wonderful Year for Women in Tech

Join me and three other female product managers as we discuss gender in the tech industry. WAIT! MEN! Please keep listening! I promise the isn’t just an hour of man bashing. This year was a little crazy - from Susan Fowler’s weird year at Uber to the Google Manifesto - and I thought we should dedicate an episode to answering some tough questions from women working in the tech industry. This episode is relevant to everyone, because if you’re not a woman, you at least work with women.

Guests: 

Karleen Mercuri, Product Manager at Closet Box
Amy Maher, Freelance Product Leader, Mentor at Galvanize. Follow her on Twitter  @_amymaher
Caroline Wood, Product Manager at Craftsy

Links Mentioned in the Episode: 

Susan Fowler’s Very Strange Year at Uber
Google’s Idealogical Echo Chamber (a.k.a. The Google Manifesto), Full Text
Sexual Harrassment Training Doesn't Work. But Some Things Do
Ted Talk on Power Poses

Correction:
In the podcast, I mention a Harvard Study with Harry vs Hariet. I got that wrong. It's actually John vs. Jennifer and the study was conducted at Yale.

Ep.18: Beakers and Jackets - Experiments in Scaling Agile

Following up with last week's discussion on different styles of Agile + swarm, today I have two guests to talk about experiments in scaling Agile. William Kammersell and Lieschen Quilling both work on Agile Central at CA Technologies (formerly Rally Software). I originally saw William speak about this topic at Rocky Mountain Product Camp - rmpcamp.org.

William and Lieschen have done a lot of experimenting with scaling Agile in order to get their ‘big idea’ features out more quickly, and they tell us how they performed these experiments. 

SPOILER: You need beakers and lab coats (aka 'jackets') to get started on this Agile experimenting. 

We also dive into how teams are organized at Rally, how to get your team on board with experimenting, how to elicit feedback, what defines success, and how to get started.

Timeline: 

00:58 - 15:58 - Guest intros, Acronomicon, upcoming episodes overview & other shenanigans
15:58 - 19:06 - Cool Sh*t or Bullsh*t
19:06 - 52:00 - Experiments in Scaling Agile

Medium article that explores this topic further: 
Kaizen: Experiments in Scaling Agile: https://medium.com/@lieschen/kaizen-experiments-in-scaling-agile-af7a19e47927

Guest Info:

William Kammersell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HowToTrainAPM
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-kammersell-b8ba008/
Blog: http://www.howtotrainaproductmanager.com/
I originally saw William present this topic at Rocky Mountain Product Camp - a *fantastic* event for PMs if you’re in the Denver/ Boulder area, which he helps organize - rmpcamp.org.

Lieschen Gargano Quilling
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LieschenGQ
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lieschen-gargano-quilling-80781622/
Medium: https://medium.com/@lieschen

Ep.17: Different Styles of Agile + JIRA Rants

This week on the podcast my guest is Tyler McCann. Tyler is a product manager at Shutterstock, and I asked him to come in and talk about Agile, different styles of Agile, and how he tried out swarm pattern at Shutterstock.

Spoiler: We do complain about JIRA for a solid 10 minutes. But then we actually do talk about different styles of Agile in product management, I promise. Tyler also talks about how he convinced his dev team to try out Swarm Pattern. If you don’t know what swarm pattern is or how it works, you’ll have to listen to find out. 

Find Tyler: 

Twitter @trmccann - https://twitter.com/TrMcCann
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/tyler-mccann-467ba867/

Ep.16 - Machine Learning for Product Managers

Release Date: November 28, 2017

Today our guest is Kate Silverstein, a wicked smart machine learning engineer. (I say wicked because she's from Boston.)

Kate talks about the basics of Machine Learning (supervised vs. unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning), and then we review some product use cases (recommendation engines, SPAM filters, etc.) and describe how these features are powered by machine learning. 

Kate even explains what the hell neural networks are. 

Links mentioned in the episode

Machine Learning for Product Managers

Racist AI (RE: loan application training data)

Clustering

Google Sentiment API associating negative sentiment with certain minority groups

Courersa has a whole class on the Netflix Prize

Ep.15: Two Product Managers Discuss - All Experiences are Products

This week on the podcast seasoned product manager Karleen Mercuri is back - and this time we're talking about how we would apply the principles of product management (identify the problem, figure out the MVP, write requirements) to improve (and update!) everyday experiences. 

Based on two Product Popcorn blog posts:

A Product Manager Goes to the Post Office
A Product Manager Goes to the Grocery Store

Ep.14: Mining Customer Insights & Big Data Backlash

This week on the podcast we explore the product marketing  and business intelligence side of product management. Our guest today is Sara Smith, Social Strategy Director.  Riding the bridge between quant and qual, Sara uses Big Data to mine customer insights and build marketing strategies for “food fashion & fun” brands like Qdoba, Forever 21, and Hello Kitty. 

In addition to talking about mining customer insights with big data, we discuss what Sara calls a “big data backlash.” How do we quantify ‘qualitative’ elements of the marketing strategy like cultural relevance?

Also in this episode: 
- social listening and how this should be incorporated into your product marketing strategy
- Using the right language to build queries that will give you the right customer insights. 
- In a Big Data world, how do you determine which data is important to mine insights for your product? 
- The importance of being culturally relevant.
- How do you determine which metrics are important?

Links: 

Follow Sara on Twitter: @thesarae
Connect with Sara on LinkedIn

Ep.13: Two Engineers & A Product Manager Give (Potentially Expert) Advice

Full Stack Developer Kyle Wilding joins us as we talk Imposter Syndrome, which neck tattoos are OK for interviews (among other interviewing advice), how to deal with changing requirements, and which bundt cake flavors are best for your product team. 

Kyle Wilding is an experienced lead engineer who has worked on multiple product teams, and has managed front-end and back-end development teams at tech companies large and small.

SIDE NOTE: Shout out to our listeners in India! Thank you for your emails and for listening. 😃

Need advice? Please send me your listener questions. I’m working on other advice episodes, and one female-specific episode where a panel of 4 female product managers will dole out advice for women in product. Email kimberly (at) productpopcorn.com. 

Resources: 

Free, Quick How-tos on the Product Popcorn website here.

Ep.12: Work Horror Stories - A Special Halloween Epsiode

In this special Halloween episode, Jamie Love from Shutterstock joins Adam and Kimberly as we recount 'work horror stories' past and present.
Featuring disaster stories from Ireland, New Zealand, Japan, and the US, and an unnecessary number of witch cackles.
Also, for our entertainment, Adam attempts to imitate various accents, and fails miserably.

Ep.11: A Product Manager & A Product Designer Talk TV Products & The Future of Television

Join Product Designer Ryan McCarthy and I as we talk TV apps and other products, and discuss where this disrupted industry is going. 
Ryan previously worked on Spectrum Guide (with me!), and now designs TV experiences at Starz.
As all media industries have been disrupted in the last decade, television is a great case study for product managers for how old industries (cable companies) must pivot in order to compete with the cool new kids in town (Netflix.)
*This episode contains one Game of Thrones spoiler from Season 7, Episode 6, at around minute 20*

Resources:

Follow Ryan on Twitter - @MRyanMcCarthy
Further reading about tv products on Product Popcorn:  A Product Manager Watches TV