Strong Opinions, Weakly Held

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 third part of our series speaking with Nils Davis, we look at valuing focus and greater advice for all varieties of product people.


> What is the best career advice you received as you entered product management?
The best advice I’ve heard about succeeding in a creative organization like a software company is from Robert Sutton at Stanford – “Strong opinions, weakly held.” In other words, have an opinion about what needs to be done, but be prepared to have your mind changed by a good argument. This is a critical skill when you’re working with smart and creative engineers, marketers and managers.

> What is the hardest lesson you learned as a product manager?
That I can’t get everything I want! Also, just how difficult it can be to communicate a vision to a development team (especially offshore) or, sometimes, to a management team.

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) and (2)