Nils Davis’ Journey from Tech Writer to Product Person

Who says where product people have to begin their careers?  Passion and the desire to improve and create products can come from anywhere… such as a tech writer.  Nils Davis’ journey is one of a tech writer crossing over to the product side, and doing so superbly.
In this first part of our series speaking with Nils, let’s take a look into where his journey began… Tech Writer.

Getting to here…

> What key people helped shape you into the product manager you are today?
At a previous company I found a good role model in the VP of Products, who had also founded a company before. Even well after he had a big staff of PMs doing the day to day work, his command of product details, competitive positioning and the vision for the product continued to inspire me.

> How did you decide to become a product manager?
I was working as a tech writer for a software company, and I kept seeing ways that we could improve the way the product worked, how we talked about it in the market and the way we sold it. When the current product manager left, I moved into that position. My career transitioned into product management because I saw a need that I wanted to fulfill. It took several years for me to figure out what being a product manager actually entailed “officially”.

> What inspires you in your day-to-day work?
As a product manager, I feel my #1 allegiance is to the product itself – to make it as good as it can be at solving customer problems. My inspiration comes from the knowledge that customers, the market, and the company are benefiting from having a terrific product.  And because I’m in the target market for my product (it’s for product managers and planners) I get a thrill from using the capabilities on a day-to-day basis that we have spent months and years developing.

In Addition

Over the next few weeks, I will share more of my interview with Nils Davis, as well as other fascinating product people! 
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Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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About Jeremy Horn

Jeremy Horn is an award-winning, product management veteran with 2 decades of experience leading and managing product teams. Jeremy has held various executive and advisory roles, from founder of several start-ups to driving diverse organizations in online services, consumer products, and wearables. As founder of The Product Group, he has created the largest product management meetup in the world and hosts the annual awarding of The Best Product Person. Accelerating the next evolution of product management, Jeremy acted as creator and instructor of the 10-week product management course at General Assembly and The New School, and mentoring at Women 2.0 and Lean Startup Machine (where is he also a judge). To see where Jeremy is now check him out at (1) and (2)