Ever thought of leveling up your product management game? In this conversation, Salva hosts Büşra, an experienced product manager, and product leadership coach, as they explore the multifaceted world of product management and leadership. Together, they unravel the challenges faced by aspiring and mid-to-senior level product managers and discuss strategies to thrive in this dynamic field.
The conversation begins by acknowledging the prevalence of job transitions among individuals seeking coaching. They address the crucial question of whether people seek coaching primarily to advance their careers or to excel in their current roles, ultimately highlighting the diversity of needs in the product management community.
As we debunk the myth that product managers are the sole decision-makers, Bushra emphasizes the importance of having the right mindset, properly testing ideas, and prioritizing communication skills, curiosity, and continuous learning.
Büşra shares her insights into coaching different segments of product managers, from aspiring beginners to seasoned professionals. She reveals the distinct challenges each group faces, whether it’s acquiring specific skills, tackling strategic thinking, or navigating their career paths.
She shares indispensable insights from her workshops and courses, aiming to arm product managers with the essential tools and knowledge to thrive in their roles. We also delve into career progression and the potential of transitioning into higher roles, given the right hooks. Rule of thumb? Showcase prior experiences that demonstrate a sound understanding of product management.
The conversation also delves into the critical issue of information overload in the age of social media. Büşra and Salva emphasize the importance of distinguishing valuable, hands-on knowledge from generic advice and cookie-cutter wisdom. They urge listeners to be discerning when it comes to the sources of information and encourage seeking real-world experiences shared by practitioners.
This episode offers a thought-provoking discussion for product managers and leaders at all career stages. It serves as a reminder that success in product management involves not only mastering frameworks but also critically assessing the quality of information in an ever-evolving field.
This is Part 1 of the talk with Büşra – Part 2 deals with the Tools needed to Taking your Product Management carrer to the Next Level
You can also read the full transcript here:
When we were hiring for junior roles, we didn’t expect anyone to know the frameworks, so we didn’t expect anyone to know how to prioritize well or what the K-Know model is, how to innovate, how to write hypotheses and test them.
Hello and welcome to Ritimal Products. Today I’ve got with me Bushra Koskiner. I’m sure I said your name wrong, but you will correct me.
No the first name was perfect, but I just don’t let people try the last name. That’s fine. Yeah, so that’s what I thought about it. Why?
did you call it Bushra all along and forget your last name anyway? And Bushra is product coach and trainer and educator. Before that you have been working in the industry and holding different product leadership positions, but today what I’d really like to discuss with you is more about your latest stage of activities, more about continuous learning and how can we help people in the industry, product professionals, to continuously develop. But before I speak too much, Bushra, welcome.
Would you like to introduce yourself, probably a little bit better than I did.
Sure, thank you. Thank you for having me. And yeah, about the last name, if you wanted to pronounce it correctly, it would be Josh Kunar, but just don’t try, yeah, just don’t try, yeah. So yeah, I’m a product coach, trainer, educator, as you said. So the main thing that I’m doing at the moment and focusing more and more, is I’m coaching and product individuals mid-level, senior level, product manager to basically level up their game, master their craft and become more senior in their role and also get the next role. I am offering workshops for product teams to kick things off, to get them started and then accompany them to apply those things in practice. And then the third thing that I’m doing more and more of is I’m creating courses. So I’m running a product strategy and road mapping course at a university here in Switzerland, I’m running a product analytics bootcamp online and some more are in planning. So let’s just keep this mystery so far.
Yeah, let’s keep some mystery until then, but I hope I will be able to get some more from you about your planning. But I mean, I still have got time for this. Yeah, as you’ve heard.
I’m in Switzerland, I’m originally from Berlin, so I am a bit of the people who talk no bullshit, like from the DNA, which is a bit difficult when you’re in Switzerland, because in Switzerland people try to be very polite in the way how they’re saying things and they’re not very direct and not very open and direct. Yeah, but as a Berliner, you tend to be open and direct and that’s also what I stand for. Right, talking no bullshit management. That’s.
that’s my thing I like the no bullshit thing, and about different cultures. Just before this one, I was hosting a podcast about different cultures. It’s true we didn’t really focus on difference between Switzerland and Germany, but I mean, what I see is that every country is different, so I’m going to take for this. I mean no bullshit, today at least. What I think is very interesting to have you today, vishwari, is because I think that I see in the industry more and more people coming to product management, because it’s sexy, because it was not so, like probably 10 years ago, but today everybody would like to be a product manager. Nobody probably would like to be a project manager. Even in some cases they are doing the same or they are just sugarcoating a different role into product management, but still people would like to be product manager. Why is it so and what is your reading of the of the industry right now?
Oh, that’s a very good observation. So, to put it in context, I started with product management 12 years ago, maybe a bit longer. I stopped counting, to be honest. I started before, before I finished university. So I don’t know. But I definitely agree this movement is happening, but then we didn’t even know that. And it’s just 10 years yeah, like it’s not a big time. So we know those people who have started 20 years ago and now, still 10 years ago, we didn’t even have, we didn’t even know that the name of what we would be doing would be product management. So when I was looking for my first job, I didn’t even know I had to look for the role of a product manager in order to do what I like doing Right. So and now everybody wants to be a product manager. From my conversations so I meant I had lots of mentoring calls with people who tried to get into product management from from what they tell me. It is a mix of an understanding or perception let’s put it this way perception very carefully, that product managers are the people who make the decisions right. So, and they want to become product manager because they want to be the person who makes all the calls and all the decisions on what to be built and what not on a product and how it should be, and in every call. I have to really fix this perception, because this is simply not true. We’re not really making the final call, even if it looks like that. That’s funny. We have to make it look like that, but actually it’s not true, right? So we can maybe talk about it in a second, because the second point that they are coming with is that they want to be creative and they want to contribute to how the product should work, and it’s not only making decisions, but it’s also contributing with their ideas. And then I also have to correct this, because that’s the worst thing that we can do. Right, just have an idea and throw it in and let it build, but this is not how it works. You can make it work this way, but it’s not going to be successful, right? So when people come to you.
They’re like hey Bush, there are two reasons why I would like to be a product manager because I make all the calls and I can be creative and get with my own ideas and you tell them upfront no, you’re not going to make the calls and it’s not going to be your ideas, right.
Actually, I do like it, I do like it.
I think it’s a mix of somehow they knew it, but they don’t want to know it. They don’t want to hear it. Or maybe they’re like some people are like yeah, yeah, I know, I know, but this is how it looks like, and even having a little bit more of a say than what I’m doing now is better than nothing, right? So many people are software engineers and they’re like, in the team that I’m working, like there’s nothing that I can do and I can just say my concerns and that’s it. In most of the times, nobody’s listening to me. Well, yeah, fail, that’s a bad culture. Right, that’s a bad product culture. This is not how we work in a product-led company or in a product-led team, right? So, yeah, this should not be the case, but it is very often the case. But the solution to that is not becoming a product manager. The solution to that is working in a more product-led way, right? So that’s one aspect. Other aspects are like designers who actually move, who want to move into product management because they have this natural connection to it, right? In this case, I’m more like yeah, yeah, why not? Because they are already doing the stuff? Okay, wait, no, I have to rewind. No, that’s not entirely true. What they think, like designers who want to transition to product management, is what they think is that they say what I create should be built, and as a product manager, the teams again paraphrasing generalizing right. So it is not true for all product, for all product design. This is like from the conversations that I have, right, and also not all conversations, but the majority of them and they say what I create should be built. And I know why. Because I’m the person who’s talking to the customers and I know that this is what they want and this is what they need. And when I become a product manager, then I’m the one who can make this happen. And then I again have to correct them and be like look, this is not how the product management world works. Because once you’re a product manager, design is one aspect that you have to take into account when you make a decision, but there’s a whole business aspect, there’s a stakeholder management, there’s a technical feasibility, there’s like lots of many things, lots of many reasons why you will not be able to build your stuff, your design, once you’re a product manager, and that’s gonna become your new hard truth. There’s a reason why product managers behave like this there’s a reason why they don’t build everything, right? Well, wait, we are not building, but like why we say we should not build this, not now or not ever, right, so there’s a reason. We don’t do this because we want to be mean. We don’t do this because we are stupid and don’t see what’s happening. There are reasons, right, and once you’re a product manager, you will understand these reasons, right? So, whether it’s a software engineer, product designer or other roles like there’s a marketing person who wants to move, right, a sales person wants to move, it’s also fine. But the first thing that I tell them is look, if you really consider to move into a product manager role, first of all try it out. And I don’t mean, like, build side projects, like. That’s the number one advice that everybody tends to give people who want to transition to product management. Right, build a side project In order to learn and apply frameworks and so on, and get the thinking of how to combine building a product and selling it, et cetera. Maybe, yes, but not for the type of things like stakeholder management or relationship management or prioritizing when you’re not the only person who is working on this thing. Right, like for these kind of things. Go to the product manager in your company and ask them if you can shadow them, if you can spend some time with them and see what they’re doing, how they’re doing. Have something like a peer work thing or help them really actively, help them. Hey, do you need help? I can help you with XYZ and then try to understand how it’s working and then think about it again. If you really want this, so it’s a very tough job in the end. So it’s a very, very tough job and I think people are underestimating how difficult the job is.
So what I’m hearing, mishra, if you’re correct, is that first of all? So lesson number one, when they come to you say, hey, can you help me become a product manager, the first check or the first lesson is becoming a product manager for the good reasons and not because what you idealize the product manager should be. And second is to sign and say, yeah, I understand it’s going to be very hard. I’m not going to do this because it’s a shortcut to taking decision. I understand what it entails. Is this so?
Absolutely 100%. Yes.
In your, let’s say, let’s make this metric up, but in your experience, how many of those who start coaching with you would survive this test? Or, if you extrapolate to the overall, say how many of those are turned down by understanding what it really means.
So these conversations are not in my coaching conversations, because I don’t coach aspiring or junior product managers. I coach mid-level and senior-level product managers. So I cannot tell you I don’t have a measure for you, but you can still send them back to square number one right.
So I say again you can still send them back to square one. Yeah, I could. Are you really sure you want to do that?
Do you really like your job?
We really like it.
I’m great from 0 to 10. Yeah, so this is from mentoring conversations. So I’ve been quite a long time a mentor at the mentoring club. On the mentoring club. On ad in.
I hate prepositions.
I’m sorry as a non-native. So mentoring club, and then I also offer free conversations as well. So I’ve had some free conversations as well. Yeah, so it’s from that. So therefore I cannot say anything about the metric. So, long-time conversations.
Yeah, but it’s safe to assume that there are people who are turned off by understanding what it really means. So either they’re going to understand by somebody telling them or they’re just going to face it in the industry, facing in their job, and say, oh, I didn’t really realize at the beginning. This is what is going to be like to be a product manager.
It’s an assumption. I cannot say I’m a data informed decision making person and therefore I can only say it’s an assumption.
I’m testing you. Yeah, yeah sure.
So I don’t know, I receive from time to time, I receive messages online and I’m like, hey, I wanted to let you know that I finally made it into product management, which is super cool. So sometimes I don’t even notice that I I had, or I still have, an effect on people to get into the job. So that, therefore, like it makes my day when I read this, right, but that’s, I really don’t know what’s happening with, with all of those people. It was like really a lot of conversations, right, I think I feel already good enough. Let’s say, when I tell them the hard truth about the road, if they want to embrace this or if they want to, yeah, I don’t want to say neglect, but leave it. Leave it, you know, in the back of their heads and just be like, ok, I want to find it out. Fair enough, right, so that’s their decision, that’s their choice. I wish back then somebody told me you know how difficult this job is, but again, we didn’t even know that it was right.
We don’t want to tell people not to do that, so let’s assume for a second you did it, you jumped and you’re happy you did it Right. So let’s assume. I’m still happy I did it and not only you, like everybody who did it. It’s tough, all right, and what is from? From your observation now, what is the one thing that you know, beside the fact of understanding why you’re doing this and what is your driver to be a product manager? So, if we were more, let’s say, on the hard scale or on the on the job function itself, what is the one thing that you observe that people really are lacking or that really benefit the most when somebody you know helps them from the outside, say, you should probably be focusing more on A, b and C.
Soft skills wise or hard skills wise?
I think Aspiring product managers who want to get into the job Think too much about the frameworks. Frameworks are important, methods are important, techniques are important. We should know them. Not all of them and not in every detail, not very deep, but we should know what to Google for when we need something right or what to ask. Chat GPT when we need something. But when you want to get into the job, it’s less about the framework. So when, when, when I was hiring, when we were hiring for junior roles, we didn’t expect anyone to know the frameworks you know. So we didn’t expect anyone to know how to prioritize well, or what the KNO model is, how to innovate, how to write hypotheses and test them, how to pick even the right test for the right hypothesis. We didn’t expect that. The only thing that we expected was you should be open for the, for learning. So unlearn what you think you know and be open for learn how it really is. Be curious, have good communication skills. That’s very important, right? So communication is is very, very important and also the thing that nobody has nailed. So, whatever, and basically show us that you, that you’ve had touch points with product management, why? So now we get back to what I said initially. Right? So we want to make sure that you kind of know what you’re going into, right? So if you, if you’ve done like a lot of, an example from one of the people we had interviewed back then At Doodle was a marketing manager, so the CV was full of lots of marketing steps and it would not really say anything about a touch point in product management. So the first idea was no, we don’t talk about, we don’t talk to her because there’s no touch point. I don’t remember why, but we still decided to talk with her and it really turned out she’s got lots of experience in marketing, but no touch point with product management. And then it was like clear after the first call that it’s not a fit. So if you’ve done a lot of SEO optimization or if you know how to run Google ads and ad campaigns and whatever, this is nice, but that’s a marketing role. It’s maybe a product marketing role, I can’t really say, but it’s not a product manager role. But then there was there were a lot of other candidates who had some things in their CV, right, so the one I don’t know let a project. Yes, I will say project. Even in product management we still work with projects and that’s fine, but I think that’s the first thing. So there was maybe a project initiative, however you want to call it, in order not to call a project, right, that’s the no bullshit part. Still a project. Anyways, they maybe let an initiative and this was the first time that this person had to have a project and had to have, or had to have, this middle person role, right To talk with the engineers and with the business to get the needs right and to understand what needs to be built and the prioritize and so on and so forth, Although this person was actually located in sales True CV story account manager but had this initiative and we’re like, okay, so this guy already felt the pain of, you know, balancing they call the needs with what’s actually doable and what actually makes sense from the user side as well. So there is already some nerves burned you know, so that’s good, these kind of things, right? So that’s what we want to see. Did you already burn one or two fingers, right? So if yes, then you know probably what is what it’s really going to be about. So I’m summarizing like communication skills and curiosity openness.
So let me summarize the first three classes. The first relations I heard. One is understand the reason why you’re doing this, and be sure is the right reason. The second is forget the frameworks. Is not about the framework, is about the mindset. And the third one is if you’ve done something in the past that looks like product management, bring this up and this is going to be what you’re going to be hooked to, right. Yeah, what are yeah?
Yeah, and just to give you another example, you don’t even have to apply for a junior job if you have done enough things that give you enough touch points. A friend of mine, she, went from a role I helped her to PimperCV of course but not to Pimper, but because I know she did a lot of things that a product manager would do, like in every role she would have before. She would do something, not only just something like a lot of things that a product manager would do. So if you had asked me, I would have said like she had two roles in one job, right? So I made sure that these points are very visible in every single career step, and when she transitioned to her first official product manager role, then she immediately started as a senior product manager because she had, like, lots of things already, right. So that’s just to make sure it’s not only for the very junior ones, right, you can jump.
If you’ve got the right hooks what you’re saying you can jump. You don’t need to apply for an associated junior product manager if you’ve got enough meat to show that you know what it means.
One of the things that strikes me in this conversation is that it looks like it might be right or wrong, but it looks like many of people who ask to be coach they do that because they want to change jobs. So the large part of this conversation of good impression is in the direction of how do I go to my next role somewhere else? How do I pimp my CV? How do I make myself attractive? Do people come just because they want to do better in the current job or they just want to evolve, but not necessarily from a ladder perspective, rather from a how do I do this job right perspective.
I think this is selection bias now, potentially, we started the conversation with the aspiring product managers right, and that’s why I keep talking about those. So, as I mentioned, I don’t coach them, but those are the ones that I coach actually. Sorry, second.
Those are the ones you don’t coach actually. So there is a wide word out of this, okay. So let’s get out of the bias. It’s good, because you have to recognize the bias. So that’s the test If you recognize the bias, then they can go out of this and re-enlarge your, your point of view on looking not only at the ones that you were mentioning. You don’t usually coach with our people trying to jump from you at the beginning of their career, but probably go into the vast majority, which are the other ones, the ones which are already product managers and want to improve Right.
Yeah, which is very interesting to see that they seem to be pretty alone on their journey. So there is this group of aspiring and junior product managers. I’ll just put them in one box, but, as I mentioned, they’re also the aspiring ones who are senior right, it’s about just talking about the ones who are not yet product managers and the ones who are very new into product management and they have like lots of mentoring opportunities. There are lots of communities where you can actually exchange on the very basic stuff. There are lots of courses how to do XYZ right and then there’s the whole leadership part. So there are lots of product leadership coaches, leadership trainings and that kind of things. But the people in the middle, like the mid to senior level product managers, they have specific challenges. So, as you say, it’s a it’s a huge group of people, but that also means that it’s a huge pot of challenges that they are facing because they’re all very individual. So there is this stream of people who are actually very good with their soft skills, but they do want to learn more about specific frameworks, because they get stuck in a specific task but they don’t know how to fix this. So now the framework learning a framework itself is a solution to being stuck on a task, right, so that’s the problem. But many times this is the solution because there is a framework in the world of thousands of frameworks, in this framework channel, chances are high that there is one framework that kills like five problems at the same time that you have. So, right. So there’s this one thing, and if you know what it is, then you can go and find the right course for it and then learn it and apply it. Then there’s the other type of people who are actually reaching out to me. It’s more like senior level people who are stuck in their career. So it’s a completely different challenge, right, so it’s not I’m trying to do something, but I can. It’s more like I’m stuck. This is it Like. Is this product management? Am I the right person for it? What else is out there? And also what’s next? Right, so they’re at an edge and they’re like what’s next? I’m senior now, so should I become head of product next? And now we get into this conversation of the modern career path, like becoming a principal product manager, for example. Right, so, unfortunately, in many companies, yes, next step would be head of product, unless you go to a more modern company, or you suggest it to your company to not continue on the management path but continue on the individual contributor path, get this new title in your career, this new role of a principal or staff. So there’s different ways, different models and, yes, this definitely comes with a pay raise and this definitely comes with more responsibility and it is a leadership position, but it’s not a people management position. Right, so there is a way to get there, but in order to fix that, we need to fix the company. So we need to fix the organization structures in the companies, right? So that’s the fix for what comes after senior, but the fix for I’m stuck, I don’t know what to do next is an individual coaching, right? So that’s something that I do with them, for example. So I, together, we assess their strengths, and I don’t like talking about gaps, but this is how it feels. So, strengths and gaps, and, yeah, we talk about how to actually strengthen the strengths and how to use the strengths in order to fill the gaps. And for the gaps, what is out there? Maybe when now we get back to the first point, right, maybe it’s a framework that they have to learn and then they can find a course or or reading material or this kind of things, or maybe it turns into a skills coaching it’s also possible, right? So that’s the other way. So we had frameworks because I need to do XYZAP and I can’t, and the other one is I’m stuck in my career. And then the other type is more like when they reach out to me and ask for help to actually kick something off. So that’s the workshop thing that I mentioned in the beginning. So one of the workshops, for example, that are very, very popular is an impact mapping workshop where we, for example, kick off either discovery or creating outcomes for their OKRs, or just having a structured way of brainstorming in order to make sure we find outcomes and outputs to meet the business goals Right. So they are like different ways, and then they get me in and I run the workshop and then either I accompany them, for example, to create the OKRs out of that, or to make another ideation session for outputs or how to test the outputs, etc. Or they leave it there and then I train them how to run another impact mapping session themselves and then I leave you. It’s the thing that mid and senior level product managers understand that their product leaders are pretty busy and they cannot do this Right. So there are things that they’re just too busy for and they get me in to help Got it.
So I hear into things. But right. So there are when people come to you on assuming you’ve got a valid sample of the PM or product population, but assuming so so we’re out of the bias. I’m the either. Come to you because they say how I’m stuck, but in reality is not that they are stuck. In real is the organization which is stuck because they. The natural next step in a relation would be something the organization just cannot give because not there. The only position which is there is a people management position, and so then the fix is not the person, probably the fix is more on the organization side of thing. And then the other categories of people who are stuck because they start lacking individual elements to progress on this, maybe something that you can unlock for a workshop with a workshop, or you can unlock with a particular framework or particular technique or particular way of addressing one specific situation.
They find themselves in face of right yeah, yeah, where I have say, like the this, this last point that you mentioned, so they lack a specific skill, knowledge whatever, and it’s a matter of hard and soft skills, right, so it can also be a soft skill, and then it’s not about a framework but more about how to train, or training how to become better at this or that soft skill, and then it needs an individual plan and then individual homework, exercises together, looking at things together, and so on and so forth. The, the hard skill type is more of a yeah, you can, you can find courses about XYZ, right, but then the reason for that, again, is, is twofold, right, so there’s one. One reason is I want to progress in my career, but I notice that when I go into interviews or look into job ads, whatever they ask for being good at, one thing that I have most often is being being good with data right, making database decision, make data informed decisions, and so how do I do that? So that’s a very specific thing in order to progress and get to the next level in their career. Or, internally, when, when, when, their manager says in order to grow and seniority, one thing that I hear very often is you need more strategic thinking. You need to be able to prioritize better with XYZ or taking into account XYZ, do road mapping better, whatever this kind of strategic stuff, right. And then there’s the other other part. The second type is I am in a new position now, and now I need to do XYZ, but I have no clue how. Another example A friend of mine. Again, she was saying, like, okay, I am doing, I’m setting goals for my team and my manager liked it so much that he asked me to set goals for the other teams as well. How the hell should I do this? How the hell can I set goals for other teams? Right? This is what I mean. Like they are in a specific situation now, they have a specific task to do, but they don’t know how. Right, okay.
And we should want to. One of the topics I know we are both very conscious about it’s how to to be sure that those difficult topics, because we talk about data, measuring things, which are Almost hardcore how do we make sure that there is enough room for them? The people have got enough Brain space to absorb and want to To go this way.
That’s a tough one now, but it’s a good one, and I think the problem that we have at the moment? So there’s a good and bad, good and bad thing that is happening at the moment. So one thing is there is a lot, a lot, a lot more resources out there right now for product managers to to absorb and to learn from and so on. A lot of reading material, a lot of books from high class people who have lots of experience, but also a lot of blocks, right. So, yeah, from people like me as well, but in general, from people like, like, from anyone, and that’s also the reason why why I hesitated for quite a long time to create my own block and my own new sledge. But you have to start somewhere to actually create some more Signal in the noise, right, because there’s a lot of things happening, and I personally so here’s no bullshit approach, right again, and I personally don’t like to share fluff. Yeah, I do that from time to time because I have a philosophical question in my mind and I just have to bring it out and even get reactions in order to To question my own brain. For example, I have my own thoughts, but I have to talk about LinkedIn I have to talk about LinkedIn because I’m not active on any other social media anymore I noticed that there’s lots of these things of of of LinkedIn, post optimization, like the catchy, hooky titles and, and you know I’m I’m going to write my first sentence in a negative way and then I write a positive statement as a second line in order to attract people to click see more. No, my god. Yes, it might work, but the problem, what is happening, is that more and more Posts are about Complaining or or setting unrealistic Expectations, or setting unrealistic scenes and baselines which is simply not true or not changeable, or Maybe a wish or a dream, but we’re not there yet, kind of, and and anything that tries to to actually address the actual situation of of of a PM’s life, is either not getting enough attention if it’s, if it’s written from a very Genuine perspective, like without the hooks and so on, right, or it is getting attention, but it’s also criticized in a way that somebody writes a comment like no, it should not be like that. Yeah, of course it should not be like that, but it is like that, like you can fight it as much as you want, it is like that. And now we need a way how to deal with it, right, and and yeah. So how? How can we create more, more headspace to absorb the very important and and hardcore stuff is Maybe trying to have your own filters on and and not to fall for the fluff around. You know, generalizations, or how it’s called cookie wisdom, fortune cookie wisdom. That’s it right. So, yes, we need that from time to time, you know, to relax our brains, but this is not what we should fill our brains with.
I think it’s very important because otherwise you can do everything we spoke about today, but eventually, if you, the reason why I think this is very much related to personal development and to learning is that you would not be if you treat product management as a serious discipline. You’re not going to Instagram to learn. If your kids come back and say, where did you learn this at school, so it was an Instagram account that you’re not going to consider this serious learning. So sure, it’s easy to digest, but it’s potentially not what you’re expecting to really get additional learning or critical learning. So if you say that you want to get to product management as a profession and you have to understand that this, as you said before, is going to be hard, and hard means that potentially is contradictory to easy, digestible hook you sentences you can read on LinkedIn, but potentially is also what is going to tell people who are really motivated to learn something from people who want to just follow the flow. So my personal take on this together is that, as you said, the signal to noise ratio is really not ideal. It is really not easy to either to find or to communicate more profound thoughts about product management, but also about other topics today, but at the same time and that’s probably more the advice for people who are serious about that do the extra mile and look for them. So do the extra mile and look for probably less accessible information.
More profound information doesn’t mean only very big books, but also elements that add value to you, and not only elements that are fluffy and yeah, there are great people out there on LinkedIn to follow, right, who are really not following the hook stuff and really just sharing their knowledge and you can learn a lot from these people. They typically typically do not have those I don’t know 20,000 followers. Well, some of them have, because they’re doing sharing really knowledge bombs, right. The majority of those people who I follow do not have like 30,000.
And I believe the reason for that is that the real power again, if you compare this to a book, is that you want to get people who has got the hands on, you want to get people who has got the time to do stuff, and then they can share nothing new framework, but something very concrete they’ve been doing the day before. I think this is very valuable and those are things where you can get on LinkedIn or on any other connected platform or medium or whatever experience of people who’s been doing this the day before on product, as opposed to people who, let’s say, for a living, they just generalize stuff without really hooking reality.
I’ll be very honest with you. I unfollowed two examples. I unfollowed two people who have lots of like incredibly lots of followers, just because they were bullshitting, right? The one who was saying something like, yeah, when you start building a three because two of them said the same thing when you build a product and build it and then be your own customer and build it for yourself, like what, the worst advice ever, right, you are not your customer and arguing even was like oh my god, somebody who shares this kind of bullshit. And then the other was like, okay, here are I don’t know. It felt like five million books within five days and then you’re going to have the same education level like an MBA. I was like, oh my god, no way ever. And like so only because they have, as my no-bullshit advice, only because somebody has like lots of lots of followers doesn’t mean that they’re really sharing very valuable advice. Really filter it. You know, understand if it’s maybe really bullshit or not. If it’s bullshit, you don’t have to follow these people only because others do.
So be critical about the sources as a point. Be critical about the sources exactly the same way you would do if you’re learning any proper and fully qualified professional job, like a doctor would do. We just filter the sources and not just apply anything which is written on social media right.
Okay, so it looks like we had many topics to discuss with Bushred today. One episode is definitely not enough to go through all of this great content, so we’re going to call it a day for now, and this is end of part one. In a few days, we’re going to publish part two, where Bushred and I are going to discuss about the different tools and the different framework that are going to help make you a proficient product manager or product leader. So be with us and let’s meet again on reasonable product in a few days.
My name is Salva, I am a Product executive, helping tech companies discover, shape, and sell better Products. My work and writing are mainly about subscription models, product pricing, e-commerce/marketplaces, and creating top product organizations.
My superpower is to move between ambiguity (as in creativity, innovation, opportunity, and ‘thinking out of the box’) and structure (as in ‘getting things done’ and getting real impact).
I am firmly convinced that you can help others only if you have lived the same challenges: I have been lucky enough to practice product leadership in companies of different sizes and with different product maturity. Doing product right is hard: I felt the pain myself and developed my own methods to get to efficient product teams that produce meaningful work.