interview product management

Influential Product Management Mentors

Excerpts from our conversation with The Best Product Person of 2017, Melissa Perri.

Getting to Here

> What key people helped shape you into the product manager you are today?

The first person who really started me on the path to where I am today was my VP of Product at OpenSky, Chris Keane. He inspired me to try new things and learn as much as I could.  Then, when I began using Lean Startup techniques in my role in 2012, Chris encouraged me to start a class on Skillshare to teach others. I was skeptical at first because I didn’t think anyone would be interested, but he insisted, and hey, it worked. I am disappointed by how much the importance of people management is underestimated in some companies, because I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if Chris hadn’t pushed me to grow.

Chris also gave me my first book specifically on Product Management, “The Art of Product Management” by Rich Mironov. Reading that book was the first time I felt like I was part of a larger community. There weren’t many Product Managers in New York when I first started- I had only met a handful of others outside my company. The book propelled me to follow more PM thought leaders like Hiten Shah and Ken Norton.

After learning more about my domain, I became influenced by adjacent areas like Agile, Lean, Lean UX, and Lean Startup. Eric Ries’s book was really the turning point in my career. I sought out and learned a lot from people like Jeff Gothelf, Josh Seiden, Giff Constable, and David Bland, who were at the forefront of that movement.  Jabe Bloom, Arlo Belshee, Hakan Forss, and many people in the Agile community (especially at Lean Agile Scotland) challenged me to explore new ideas in the Agile and Lean space that pushed the boundaries of what I knew as product development. Seeing how all of those systems intertwined really inspired me to get better at what I do.

Watch now and see why she is counted amongst the ranks of the best in product management.

More to Come

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.

Take a moment and congratulate The Best Product Person of 2017: Melissa Perri. (tweet)

Thank you to everyone who participated, nominated, interviewed, AND passed on the word! The nomination period for The Best Product Person of 2018 has begun!  Nominate your pick for The Best Product Person right now!


Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About ‘The Best Product Person’

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 (

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. 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

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. ( )

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