Hardest Product Management Lesson Learned – Optimism

Image result for optimismMore segments from our conversation with Adam Warburton  — and shedding some light onto just exactly what makes Adam truly The Best Product Person of 2015.

The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy and The Product Group.  Nominate someone today!

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2015: Adam Warburton. (tweet)


> What is the hardest lesson you learned as a product manager?

Dates. Every product manager, despite best intentions, is always over-optimisitic with dates. We always commit to delivering products in ambitious timescales which can invariably put our backs up against the wall. I see it as derived from a desire to commit to doing to the best we can, but product managers should realize that people outside of software engineering don’t understand the dates we talk about are often estimates. 

More to Come

Over the coming weeks we will be speaking with and learning more from Adam Warburton.

Amazon.com Gift Cards - In a Gift Box - Free One-Day ShippingThank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2016 has begun!  The individual who first nominates TBPP is also awarded!  This year, the first nominator of Adam received a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.comNominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!


And, don’t forget, take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2015: Adam Warburton. (tweet)


Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

TBPP2015_alt-abrv-114_thumb1_thumb_t[1]The Best Product Person (TBPP) is the leading international award honoring excellence in Product Management. Established in 2010, TBPP is awarded annually in association with The Product Guy (http://tpgblog.com) and The Product Group (http://meetup.com/theproductgroup).

TBPP Recognizes 1 person each year, invites them to speak and share their knowledge and experience with the larger product community. The nominations can be submitted by anyone. And, if you are the first to submit the winning nominee, you too will be rewarded  Over the course of the year, the various nominees are interviewed and the finalists narrowed down to: The Best Product Person of the year . The finalists are interviewed and evaluated for excellence in Product along the following lines… Becoming a Product Person, Your Product, Advice to Product People, and Future & Trends.

TBPP is both (1) the way the Product community gets together to recognize excellence amongst our ranks as well as (2) provide, to a large audience, insights into that excellence in a manner we can all learn from and leverage in our own Product journeys.

For more information about The Best Product Person award and past winners visit https://tpgblog.com/tbpp

About ‘The Product Group’

The Product Group is an opportunity for Product Managers, etc. to come together to meet, interact, and network. It’s an awesome way to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer-to-peer basis. The NYC chapter of The Product Group meets the first Thursday of each month. If you are interested in a establishing chapter near you, please contact The Product Guy or The Product Group for more information. (https://tpgblog.com/theproductgroup/ )


Applying Product Management to Web Design in a Multiscreen Era

In our a recent live stream from one of our mentors of The Product Mentor, Adi Regev, lead a conversation around “Multiscreen Web Design”.  We are always looking for more product mentors from all around the world.  Signup to be a Mentor Today!

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View the live stream…


About The Product Mentor

The Product Mentor is a program designed to pair Product Mentors and Mentees from around the World, across all industries, from start-up to enterprise, guided by the fundamental goals…

Better Decisions. Better Products. Better Product People.

Each Session of the program runs for 6 months with paired individuals…

  • Conducting regular 1-on-1 mentor-mentee chats
  • Sharing experiences with the larger Product community
  • Participating in live-streamed product management lessons and Q&A

Signup to be a Mentor Today!

Throughout the program, each mentor leads a conversation in an area of their expertise that is live streamed and available to both mentee and the broader product community.

Meet the mentors…

PictureJordan Bergtraum
VP Product Management, ServiceChannel

Jordan is a Management level, revenue-driven, B2B SaaS Product Management and Project Management leader. He grows revenue and adoption, and ensures product by turning business problems into profitable, simple, easy-to-use solutions
Jordan works closely with his market, executives, and internal subject matter experts to develop roadmaps, and communicate these roadmaps internally and with clients. He translates complex business problems into solutions that are easily consumed by engineering, marketing and sales. Jordan has enterprise Software-as-a-Service experience within the facilities management, legal and pharmaceutical verticals, having most recently worked at ServiceChannel, Epiq Systems and Medidata Solutions.
Jordan has a BS in Biology from Union College and an MBA & MS in Information Systems from Boston University’s School of Management. Jordan lives in Manhattan and in his spare time likes to play soccer.

PictureLadislav Bartos
Product Manager, Gumtree.com

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci
Ladislav believes that success is in simplicity that’s why his aim is to help companies to make complex products simple for users. He lives in London, currently working as Product Manager at Gumtree.com, an Ebay company, previously led product at international startups and large organisations. Ladislav focuses on user centric product development, especially on brand, usability and revenue product challenges. He is passionate about Lean and Agile Product management, innovative business models and business and product strategies.

Dustin-Levy_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb[1]Dustin Levy
Director of Product Management, Gentex Corporation

Dustin Levy is a Director of Product Management at Gentex Corporation—the leading supplier of high-performance flight equipment for military, law enforcement, and rescue aircrew worldwide.  In this position, Dustin’s primary responsibilities include product portfolio management, new product introduction and product line strategy deployment. Prior to joining Gentex, he was a Senior Product Manager at Smiths Detection and in that role launched several new chemical identification solutions into the global security market. During his career, Dustin’s research efforts have been supported by fellowships from the National Research Council and National Institutes of Health and include a track record of several new product innovations, patents and publications. Dustin is a graduate of the doctoral program in Physical Chemistry at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the MBA program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Paul-Hurwitz_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thum[1]Paul Hurwitz
Director of Active Analytics, ActiveHealth Management

Paul Hurwitz is Director of Active Analytics at ActiveHealth Management, a Healthagen Company and subsidiary of Aetna. He is responsible for the strategic roadmap and execution of the Active Analytics product suite, which is focused on providing standalone clinical analytic solutions and business intelligence modules to internal users and the payer/provider customer base.   Paul is an experienced product management professional with over 15 years of experience in technology management and 10 years in product management.  Prior to joining ActiveHealth, he led a cross-functional team at Medidata Solutions working on life sciences software for the design and optimization of clinical trials.  Prior to Medidata, Paul led product management and was head of technology at Centage Corporation, a budgeting and financial forecasting software company in Natick, MA. Paul is a member of the Boston Product Management Association, Boston CTO Club, the Boston-NY CTO HIT Club, co-founder of the Boston Jewish Outdoors Club and product management consultant. He is a graduate of Yeshiva University’s Syms School of Business with a degree in Marketing.

Amanda-Ralph_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thum[1]Amanda Ralph
Product Management Consultant

Amanda is an experienced product management leader with over 20 years of experience in product portfolio management and innovation generating significant revenue and market share growth. In a career spanning a range of corporate and not for profit sectors within Australia and the Pacific Islands, Amanda has championed organisations to embrace product and service innovation opportunities.
In her most recent role, Amanda spearheaded the Corporate and Overseas portfolios for Australia’s largest private health insurer, Medibank.  Amanda is passionate about customer led product design and in product prototyping to deliver best in market products and customer outcomes.
Amanda has a Bachelor of Economics and a Master of Arts (Asian Studies) from Monash University. She is a University of Melbourne Asialink Leadership Fellow and Asia Education Foundation Literacy Ambassador. Amanda lives in Melbourne with her family and in her spare time likes to explore all things cooking related (with a dose of the gym thrown in to try and work it all off!)

PictureAdrienne Tan
CEO, Brainmates

In 2004, Adrienne Tan co-founded Brainmates with Nick Coster. As the Brainmates CEO, Adrienne draws on 20 years of senior Product Management experience gained at The Microsoft Network, Telstra BigPond and AUSTAR. Adrienne has a Masters of Economics (Social Science) with distinction from The University of Sydney. She majored in Industrial Relations in her undergraduate degree. Her other academic pursuits include lecturing at the University of Technology Sydney in Information and Interaction Design and co-authoring a chapter in the book Digital Experience Design. Adrienne recently contributed to two Product Management books; 42 Rules of Product Management and the 42 Rules of Product Marketing.

PictureDominic Gadoury
Director Product Management, ADP

Dominic is the Director of Product Management at ADP’s (Automatic Data Processing) New York City based Innovation lab.  In his role in this lab of ~100 employees Dominic leads (and geeks out) in the fruition of roadmap deliverables for Employee Engagement, Analytics and Workforce Management solutions.  Dominic has been in various product owner roles at ADP for the last 14 years including ADP’s creation of an employee mobile app that is actively used by nearly 2 million employees worldwide.  Dominic was also a key player in helping ADP transition from a waterfall SDLC to agile in less than 2 years time.  Dominic has a BA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts.

Vikas-Batra_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb[1]Vikas Batra
Product Management Leader, Alcatel-Lucent

Vikas has over 15 years of experience in Telecom/IT industry with over 10 years in the field of Product Management. Vikas started his career as software developer with Siemens.    After doing IT consulting for some time he moved into Product Management at Lucent Technologies and held various roles developing and launching multiple telecom software and hardware products.  He led a large, multi-location product team in developing a new mobile technology that provides voice (VoIP) and data services over Satellite to phones of size comparable to traditional cellular phones.
Currently, Vikas is a Product Management Leader at Alcatel-Lucent bringing 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi capable Small Cells to marketplace.
Vikas did his Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Information Systems from XLRI  Jamshedpur, India.  He did his Bachelors of Engineering (Honors) in Electronics and Communications from Delhi Technological Institute (formerly Delhi College of Engineering) Delhi , India.

Ari-LinkedIn_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thum[2]Ari Tiktin
Mobile & Emerging Media Product Director, CNBC

Ari is an award-winning executive who has led cross-functional teams to launch dozens of multiscreen products for premier consumer brands. He is currently the product head for a healthcare startup aiming to introduce innovative solutions to help parents with young children. Previously, Ari launched WebMD’s mobile web business and grew it to 23+ million monthly unique visitors. Prior to that, he launched Discovery Mobile which included two-dozen mobile web sites, smartphone and tablet applications.

Jonathan-Berg_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thu[1]Jonathan Berg
Director of Product Management, Schoology

Jonathan is Director of Product Management at Schoology, a fast growing startup in education technology, and he is excited about how technology is unleashing the future of education. Prior to Schoology Jonathan held a variety of product roles in web and mobile. From head of product at an early stage startup to managing global web properties at American Express, his career has taken him to the UK, France and back to New York.
A hands on product leader, Jonathan relishes close collaboration with design and engineering teams. When digging into a new challenge, he starts by establishing a long range product vision, then ruthlessly prioritizes opportunities and features to find the sweet spot between customer needs and business strategy.
When he’s not building products, Jonathan enjoys rediscovering suburban life with his wife and two kids.

Felix-Sargent_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thu[2]Felix Sargent
Product Manager, Bloomberg

Felix works at Bloomberg as a Product Manager for their Corporate Compliance suite. Having been a support person out of college, he transitioned into operations, then programming, then into Product Management. He finds the diverse background helps him communicate effectively to build good software. When he’s not doing product management, he trains for long distance cycling, and dreams of opening a tiki bar.

Krishna-Madhuvarsu_thumb2_thumb_thumKrishna Madhuvarsu
Director of Product Strategy, Oracle Inc.

Krishna enjoys creating new products and works at the intersection of the technology, design and strategy. Krishna believes in “Mobile and Social eating the world” and helps enterprise customers to make use of technology to increase their productivity. Krishna spent several years in building Platforms and brought scalability to several products. Previously, he started his career as a software engineer in embedded systems and moved to application software before venturing into Product Management. Krishna has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and an MBA in entrepreneurship and marketing. Krishna is an author, enjoys writing blogs and tutorials on anything technology.

Ian-Moulton_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb[1]Ian Multon
Product Manager, TouchTunes Interactive Networks

Ian Moulton has over 10 years of experience in digital product management. He began his product work at Broadcast Interactive Media, where he launched a video publishing platform for broadcast news sites. He later joined the Associated Press, where he managed AP’s Online Video Network, as well as AP’s YouTube channel. Ian is currently a product manager at TouchTunes, where he led a design engagement and development effort to create a new user interface for over 60,000 digital jukeboxes. Ian loves capturing learnings from users, even when they are proving him wrong. Ian has a BA in Economics from Wesleyan University. When not doing product management Ian enjoys playing the guitar, hiking and mountain biking.

Addi-Regev_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb_Addi Regev
Director of Product, Outbrain

A passionate customer advocate and result-driven executor with deep mobile expertise, Addi is leading teams in creating consumer and business digital products, for startups and Fortune-500 companies alike, for more than a decade.  In her current role, as Director of Product at Outbrain, Addi is re-imagining a content-marketing platform. Previously Addi was theProduct Manager behind the redesign of the American Express mobile apps and before that she managed a startup that focused on mobile marketing and content delivery. She also provided strategic advice to Fortune-500 companies as a Management Consultant. Addi started her career trying her hand in customer support, QA, project, sales and marketing management before finding her passion in product management in startups that focused on mobile and its application in business settings. Addi holds an MBA from the University of Michigan, and a BA in Occupational Therapy from Tel Aviv University.

Dan-Mason_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Dan Mason
Head of Product, People Magazine

I am a digital product executive and engineer with 15+ years experience in product development, with a focus on media, advertising and emerging platforms.  I know what it takes to innovate and break new ground, and I have an unrelenting focus on my customers, who are always right!
I have a wide range of experience in product, tech, and strategic business development. I have built and managed Agile teams from both the product and engineering perspective; I have built products in house, with offshore teams, with partners and through acquisition. I strongly advocate a Lean, customer-driven product process and embrace analytics and data-driven experimentation. I have deep domain knowledge in mobile, advertising, real estate, SaaS, video, TV, sports, and news, and I am a fast learner who enjoys the challenge of developing new expertise.

Marc-Wendell_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thum[1]Marc Wendell
Director of Product Management, Worldnow

Marc Wendell currently is Director of Product Management at Worldnow where he oversees day-to-day product development and product strategy.  Prior to Worldnow, Marc held a number of senior-level roles in product development were he facilitated the execution of a number of different products across a broad spectrum of industry verticals. His expertise includes product development and customer experience across various platform experiences. His industry experience includes media, start-ups, publishing, financial services, interactive agencies, tier 1 research intensive academic institutions and the stock media industry.

James-Alexander_thumb2_thumb_thumb_t[2]James Alexander
Founder and Head of Product, Vizibility

James builds products and services which delight customers and differentiate companies. He recently sold his third start-up, Vizibility, an enterprise-class digital business card solution. Vizibility is a SaaS delivered service in the mobile wallet ecosystem and received outstanding reviews and recognition, including 4 stars by PC Magazine. As a successful technology entrepreneur of three start-ups (with two exits), and as a product management executive at Adobe for seven years, he has led cross-functional teams through every stage of the product life cycle. James has held responsibility for $100M+ productportfolios and managed both small teams and large organizations. He has worked on four continents and localized products and services for 27 countries. James holds an MBA from Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford and has been awarded 12 patents.


Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

4 Lessons That Set My Mind About Becoming a Product Manager

Guest Post by: Sean Echevarria (Mentee, Session 3, The Product Mentor) [Paired with Mentor, Dustin Levy]

Image result for product managerTwo years ago I threw myself into the deep end of the Silicon Alley tech scene here in NYC. I joined a growing user experience agency called Motivate Design, without having any real knowledge about UX and its function within product strategy. And I caught what some might say was the product bug! I signed up to be a mentee for the third session of The Product Mentor to learn how to break into the space even more.

The session has given me the chance to gather a lot of industry knowledge and have great conversations with my mentor. His advice and the know-how shared by others through the live stream presentations have made me think a lot about whether product management was the path that I wanted to take in my career. But before I tell you what my next steps are, let me share with you the top four lessons I’ve learned by participating in this program.


Image result for ideas from anywhereThis is a belief that I’ve always had well before being in the tech space, but it seems that we live in a world where this concept is still not fully supported by everyone. Companies still isolate innovation to a lab or a new product development team, and the reality is that ideas can come from anyone whether they work within engineering, sales, marketing, etc. The ability of a PM to pull ideas from everyone and filter them to meet customer needs is truly the mark of someone who knows what they’re doing. 


This didn’t come to me as a surprise; I would say that in the UX space you should always start with research so that you can gather insights that will drive your design process. That being said, coming from a company that focuses on qualitative research methodologies (usability testing, in-depth interviews, and Friendship Groups™) it was interesting to hear that one of the balancing acts that PMs deal with regularly is the balance between qualitative and quantitative research. However, it seemed that it was unanimous that a great PM will do their best to conduct both and collect as much data as possible, even if they have to be resourceful.


Image result for soft skillsYou hear it time and time again from successful entrepreneurs that you hire for passion and the person and then skills come secondary. And I’ve always found that interesting considering we still live in a world that highlights all skills and accomplishments via the dreaded resume (can’t really show passion there). However, after several conversations with my mentor and other product managers it was quite apparent that this rang true for them. The ability to communicate effectively with a wide breadth of different people and make sure that everyone was working towards a common goal is one of if not the most crucial part of the job.


It seems that no two product managers are the same, but each one did have a similar lesson to share with me. That is, if you’re a good product manager be ready to “take responsibility when things go wrong, and give away any credit when things go right”. This was something that was advised to me time and time again, with the underlying notion that if I want to be a product manager, it better be because I truly care about making products that users love and help improve a business and not because I want credit for building a popular app.

As I continue to learn and grow from those who’ve participated in this session of The Product Mentor and others who have been nice enough to share their insights with me, what I originally only thought I wanted is now what I’m sure I want, and I look forward to growing into a role where I can help bring delight and simplicity to users all over the world through product management.

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About Sean Echevarria
Sean Paul EchevarriaSean Echevarria is currently the Manager, Talent Brand for Jet.com, the shopping site dedicated to saving you money. He also is the co-founder of The UX Lab, a UX Meetup with over 3400 members nationwide and is constantly volunteering and collaborating with the tech/startup community. Before coming to NYC, he co-founded a startup and helped build a million dollar valuation for a patent pending redesign of the standard jar, lovingly called Jar~with~a~Twist. He aspires to take his current product management skill set within the physical space and merge it with his knowledge of the UX digital space to join a growing product team with the right mission.

More About The Product Mentor
TPM-Short3-Logo4The Product Mentor is a program designed to pair Product Management Mentors and Mentees around the World, across all industries, from start-up to enterprise, guided by the fundamental goals…

Better Decisions. Better Products. Better Product People.

Each Session of the program runs for 6 months with paired individuals…

  • Conducting regular 1-on-1 mentor-mentee chats
  • Sharing experiences with the larger Product community
  • Participating in live-streamed product management lessons and Q&A
  • Mentors and Mentees sharing their product management knowledge with the broader community

Sign up to be a Mentor today & join an elite group of product management leaders!

Check out the Mentors & Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy