5 Ways To Hack Your Product Career

Product managers shape the future of humanity. They build the future world we will live in. Recently over 1700 bright women product leaders met in California for Women in Product Breakthrough Conference, a conference highlighting women who have broken into their product management careers.

The conference was hosted by Women in Product, a non-profit organization aiming to build a strong community of women builders and leaders in the tech industry. Hopefully, these five hacks from senior product leaders who landed leadership roles as VPs or C-level executives help you break through and thrive as a product builder.

1. Sit At The Table Of Discomfort

Erin Teague, VR Lead at YouTube is the only black woman in product at YouTube today. “Every day at work is uncomfortable,” she explained. This leads her and other minorities in tech to experience loneliness, isolation, and imposter syndrome. She believes this can lead to the positive outcome of building resiliency, inspiring introspection, and personal growth.

2. Organize For Customer Centricity

Does better technology, being first to market, or having access to more resources lead to product success? Tatyana Mamut, former General Manager at Amazon AWS, believes none of those lead to making better products. She argues customer focus is what leads to success: “Customer obsession is our key approach and what Amazon is centered on.”

3. Build Your Career Like A Product

When Ami Vora, VP of Product at Facebook is planning her career future, she asks herself: “What does ‘Ami 2.0’ look like? And when are you shipping?” She believes the best way to get a job is to do the job.

She believes women should step up to the table even though it can feel terrifying, take perfection off of the table, and learn. To further your career, Ami encourages women to ask their managers, “What are you doing today that I can take off your plate?” Women should ask their coworkers, “I notice you spend a lot of time doing X, so I took a stab at it. Does this line up? Feel free to use it.”

4. You Are The Product

“Every decision made about you and your career, happens in a room you are not in. You are the product,” states Joanna Bloor, CEO and founder of Amplify Lab. She argues having an effective self-introduction is essential to career growth. “I do X at X company is boring. Think about the problem you are uniquely solving and how you are solving it as a product manager. Articulate your value as a human and connect with people on an emotional level,” urges Joanna.

5. Take More Risks

She believes women need to take more risks in their product careers. Amanda advises women product builders to ask managers directly for what you want. “Doing good work won’t get you that promotion. Don’t sit on your hands and wait for your manager to promote you,” she says.

She wants women to take on difficult jobs, because they teach you grit and make you a better product builder. Easy product jobs do not teach you perseverance and strength. “We can’t predict the future, so optimize for today.” Solve for your situation today.