Pre-Seed or Seed startups ($0–$1M ARR) have unique characteristics that influence what product work looks like at this stage.
Company’s goal: to get traction, to show that you have a solution / product that users are willing to pay for. The trend line on key metrics, such as CAC, LTV, user growth & user engagement indicate traction (or lack of).
Very limited resources to get to the goal: the Seed round funding you’ve raised, typically ~$1-$3M (more capital intensive startups raise more), must sustain you for ~12–18 months to develop the product, and to prove traction.
Companies often go through…
From previous trust building exercises, I learned that I’m an ENTJ (MBTI) and a Venturer (Predictive Index). In my own words, below are defining points in life that shaped my values and behaviors at work today.
I was born into a loving middle-class family in China during the one-child policy era; my mom was a teacher, and my dad an electrical engineer.
My mom invested a stupid amount of energy and money to develop my musical talents.
At the age of 11, we immigrated to the U.S. to give me a chance at a ‘better life’; our lives changed because…
November 2015, I joined CB (ChubbyBrain) Insights, a~50 people company happily squeezed into a shared office floor.
Product management wasn’t a thing then, but I believed that data > opinion is the right way to help companies make better investment decisions; and I saw a big future for the product.
I was also impressed by how ambitious, yet down-to-earth and authentic the co-founders were.
So I decided to roll up my sleeves.
4 years and 7 months / 1,674 days later, I prepare to ship back my laptop (strange Covid-19 times). My heart warms to see that CB Insights is…
As we WFH to curb the spread of COVID-19, staying healthy, connected, and (dare I say) motivated to do good work is a topic topic amongst product managers and people leaders.
I want to share 4 quotes, from “The Great CEO Within”, that reminded me of the importance of showing appreciation and giving positive feedback.
While both are good practices whether we WFH, I think being explicit about gratitude and appreciate is in times of stress is especially important.
Four quotes to keep us grounded:
1) “We perform our best when we are having fun and feeling good about ourselves.”
“No one owes you a great career, it argues; you need to earn it — and the process won’t be easy.” — Carl Newport, So Good They Can’t Ignore You
Let’s start investing in YOU today.
Leadership = influence. For you to be a leader, someone must follow you. Leaders don’t have to be people managers.
Everyone influences someone, and is influenced by another — John Maxwell
In your product management journey, you’ll definitely face pushbacks when you say ‘we can’t prioritize this request’.
I hope this these techniques will help you in your journey too.
This post focuses on the tactics of a constructive ‘no’ conversation, from preparation to delivery.
Important note: Solid relationships serve as foundation for ‘good intent’ for difficult conversations.
If the only time customers or internal partners hear from us is during these difficult conversations, then we’ve aren’t building relationships. So it’s a good reminder for us Product Managers to stay helpful, and rebuild relationships after tough conversations.
Asking myself these 3 questions helped me clarify my thoughts before going into a conversation.
The stronger you know what you want, when to prioritize vs. when to say ‘no’, the easier is…
Creating a product involves people. And most people (e.g. customers / Stakeholders /salespeople / engineers) have views on what to build.
As a result, Product Managers face tough conversations, where they have to say ‘no’ to customers’ / stakeholders’ feature requests, while still preserving the relationship.
so I wrote a mini-series for my team on how to embrace these conversations, and now I’m sharing with you too.
ps: I want to address the…
Not saying ‘no’ means you saying ‘maybe’ to all product ideas. ‘Maybe’ creates ambiguity, which is worse than saying ‘no’.
“Saying ‘no’ to one thing is saying yes to something else” — Ken Norton
Ambiguity, ‘maybe we’ll build this’, leads to confusion and conflicts (e.g. repeat of the ‘why didn’t you prioritize my request’ conversations). Ambiguity also blocks true product progress, as teams don’t know where to focus.
How familiar does this situation sound? (From Ken Norton’s interview with MixedPanel)
A sales manager or support engineer requests a change or a new feature based on customer feedback. Instead of clearly…
How do I gain trust & autonomy? How do I get more important assignments? How do I get to the next level?’
These are questions I’ve heard (and have asked myself) many times. For those who want more trust, challenges and autonomy, I see this boiling down to 3 things:
ps: Brene Brown explained #3 well in her book Dare to Lead…