A Pair of Billion Dollar Shoes

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 the second part of our series speaking with Nils Davis we take a look at what constitutes today’s efforts and desires of this amazing product person.

In the now…

> Whose shoes would you like to walk in for a day? why?
My experience has been in startups. I would love to stand for a few days in the shoes of the product manager for a billion dollar product and learn about the issues and realities of running a product like that. At this rate, one day our company will be that big and I’ll have that experience.

> What excites you about your current products?
I am one of the target end-users for our product, so I use the product myself daily and that’s honestly very thrilling to use your own product. I also think that the opportunity to really improve the world by reducing the waste and errors in the new product development process is within our grasp as a company, and our vision for doing that is compelling and powerful.

> What do you like most -and least – about being a product manager?
As a product manager the role is very diverse, with lots of things to do every day, always switching gears – between customers to brief, sales people to help out, white papers to edit, demos to create, and features to prioritize. This environment of rapid-fire interactions makes it harder to get into the mindset for doing “longer form” type of work. I love doing that longer form stuff, but the structure of the PM’s day makes it hard.

Also, as a PM I have a lot of power and influence as to what will go in the product, how we talk about it, and where we focus our time. But at the same time, my wishes and dreams for the product far exceed my resource capacity to execute, so I have to have a lot of patience, which is not always easy.

In Addition

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

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring Nils Davis, or any other of the upcoming product person interviews, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.


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) http://linkedin.com/in/TheProductGuy and (2) http://TheProductGuy.com