Q&A: “What’s it like working as a product manager at a startup?”

I was recently asked a question – here’s the answer I gave:

“I have just been offered an awesome job as a product manager for a startup and although I studied UX design, I think it could be for me. Just wondering whether you could give me some insight into your day-to-day duties and what the role might entail when working on a product for a startup?”

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33: The Field of Dreams is fiction

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned as a product manager.

I was chatting with someone the other day about what it meant to be a product manager, not so much in terms of abstract qualities, but about their day-to-day role in a start-up and whether it differed much from working in a larger company.

In a start-up, I suggested, money is tight, so a product manager has even more responsibility than usual to ensure that, by the time the expensive development work starts, you’ve already done the product discovery.  It’s crucial to have a solid idea of what the product needs to be to solve the market problems identified.

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Win-win-win with Wigwamm – an interview with Rayhan Rafiq Omar

Rayhan Rafiq OmarA London startup is attempting to disrupt the local property rentals market in a way that benefits tenants, landlords and property agents equally – a win-win-win scenario, you might say.  Jock Busuttil finds out more from the man in the Wigwamm, Rayhan Rafiq Omar.

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Link of the Day: Pricing your product – it doesn’t have to be so complicated

 

Lovely article from Joel Gascoigne about why startups should just start charging from the outset, and why it’s not that big a deal to evolve and change pricing later on – as long as you don’t screw over your existing customers.

Have a read here: Pricing your product: it doesn’t have to be so complicated.

Link of the day: The DIY Media Kit for Startups

Paparazzi

If you’re a startup, you probably don’t want to be splashing the cash on expensive, highfalutin’ PR agencies.  If you work in a bigger organisation, sometimes you need to think like a startup to get around the corporate PR team’s reluctance to, well, engage in PR.

Either way, The DIY Media Kit for Startups (via Onboardly) is worth a read.

Link of the day: The Equity Kicker

Nic BrisbourneWhile I was working at a former start-up called Zeus Technology (now doing rather well for itself, thank you), one of the investors was a chap called Nic Brisbourne. He is a perfectly pleasant chap, but at the time he scared the life out of me. I think that subconsciously I worried I might scare him and his venture capital away. One day I accidentally nicked his taxi and he was surprising forgiving.

I am now much less insecure.

Aaaaaanyway, his blog is rather good. If you’re planning a new venture and want to hear the perspective from the money side of the table, take a look at the Equity Kicker.

ProductCamp London: Why product managers and entrepreneurs need to be more alike

Whether you’re part of a large, established company or a small, new start-up venture, you need to think like an entrepreneur if you manage products.  Here’s a round-up of some of the presentations and discussions I attended at London’s recent ProductCamp, with links to the slide decks and recommended reading where applicable.

Summary of advice:

  • Know your product, market, company, self: you need to go into your new venture / product management role with your eyes and ears open (via @cathyma)
  • Keep validating your business case: a business case will evolve over time, you need to continue to check your assumptions throughout the process, in parallel with development (via @SaintSal)
  • Learn how to influence others: whether they’re your investors, senior managers or other key stakeholders, convince them your approach is right through hard evidence and diplomacy (via @PaulLomax)

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