A lot of product managers come to the profession in an almost accidental way. I’ve heard story after story of people in different roles who became product managers. Sure, some move from a business analyst or developer to product management. However, plenty of people end up in product management because they showed the aptitude for the role or they fell into it because no one else on the team could do the job. I’m one of those who fell into product management from a completely different profession.
I had spent 20+ years in the banking industry, climbing as high as Chief Lending Officer. I was even told I had a shot at being a bank CEO. But, I decided to change career tracks and went to work doing strategic work at a software company that provides banks and credit unions with the solutions they need to run their businesses. Eight months into that role, I was asked to put my lending experience to use as a product manager.
I didn’t even know what a product manager was when I was asked to be one. The closest thing to being a product manager that I had been was being the founder of three different startups. But I had never heard of the profession before. Fast forward to today, with about seven years of product experience, and I lead the product team that is managing the largest product build in our company’s 45+ year history.
My product management career has been a wild ride full of ups and downs and plenty of lessons learned. In fact, I’m learning new things every week. Sometimes daily. Plenty of those lessons have been about what not to do. Some have been what you should do in a given situation. For example, having one person that can demo a new product. That was a miss on my part. On the flip side, I’ve had good success with the early phases of the Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC). Particularly with the ideation and validation phases of new product development.
Why Product in Public?
The shift in this newsletter's name mirrors the “Build in Public” software development movement. That concept is meant to share stories about products and services as they are being developed to inspire others. It has been fascinating to follow the growth of freelance developers as they build out new products. Many build-in-public developers are transparent enough to share their struggles and successes. I often find myself rooting for them.
Being public about what the product management profession is all about is exactly why I am evolving this newsletter.
Many product management professionals start sharing their experiences after being in the industry for some time. They usually speak from influential roles such as Head of Product or as someone who worked in product management at a high-profile company (think Airbnb, Facebook, Google, etc.) and is now a product management consultant.
Without a doubt, their experience comes in handy when advising newer product managers on how to work through a certain challenge.
Still, I’ve always felt it would be more helpful to hear how other product managers do their jobs. To follow along as they make decisions in the moment. What processes do they use, or what tools do they leverage? Not hearing about it all years later, when victory has been declared.
I wanted to give other product managers and startup founders, whether they are newer to product management than me or more experienced than I am, the chance to learn in near real-time.
What to expect?
The world doesn’t need yet another newsletter with a self-proclaimed expert telling you how to get where they are today. I don’t know about you, but the content I enjoy the most is content from people who are close to my experience level but have something interesting to share.
Along the way, I'll be sharing my experiences in my day job and how we build products, plus my experience as a startup analyst and investor with the Sheltowee Angel Network. My goal is for this information to help other product managers and startup founders build better products that lead to more successful careers and companies.
I write often and once pumped out a 46,000-word book in under 90 days. But I don’t have any preconceived requirements about the length of each newsletter. My goal is to write however much it takes to make reading the information worth your time. If that means it takes 200 words or 2,000 words, so be it.
As for frequency, you can expect 2x public posts per month and 4x posts per month for members.
If you are a free subscriber, you may want to consider becoming a paid member. Extra benefits include access to member-only posts and live events.
Thanks for taking a moment to drop in. I truly appreciate you being a subscriber, and I hope that the information shared here is different and worth your time as a reader.
I’m always open to your feedback and suggestions and connecting with new people. So stop in over at Twitter and say hello.