Product Management: keys to set you up for success.


At TheVentureCity, product is one of our pillars. This post is the first in our new series on product management.

In 2010, when I was working for eBay in San Francisco, I got a call from a headhunter in Spain. His first words were: “Hello Patricia, I’ve been told that I need to talk to you regarding a position, but I have to admit that as I read your profile I’m not really sure why that is. Can you please explain to me what Product Management actually is?”

I smiled, realizing that the recruiter was in the same position that I had been in five years prior when eBay had offered me a Product Manager position right after Business School. I had experience in digital projects while working in strategy consulting, but I didn’t really understand what a Product Manager was expected to do. eBay was, of course, a great brand. The people I met there were fantastic and I was told that they would train me so I decided to take the leap. Little did I know that it would turn out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Not only did I discover a career that perfectly matched my skills and interests (I was a telecoms engineer who preferred to apply technology to business problems, along with a passion for design) but it was also an opportunity to work in an area that was clearly a key component in the success of any digital company. At the time, product management as a discipline was still in its infancy and I only realized years later how we added process and structure to that body of knowledge. I am extremely grateful for the amazing people and professionals I had the luck to work with during that time.

Fast forward to 2019 and I’m now very happy to see that product management has grown into a strong, independent discipline that is (finally!) being embraced by startups and corporations outside the main technology hubs such as San Francisco, New York or London.

TheVentureCity’s focus on technology, and product in particular, is one of the main reasons why I joined the team shortly after the company was founded. At TheVentureCity, we strongly believe product is key for any company's success. Our mission is to democratize access to fair funding, key skills and knowledge in the emerging tech hubs around the world.

Although we’ve already been hard at work for two years and are proud of what we have accomplished so far, we recognize that in the bigger scheme of things, we have just started and there is still much to do. Our Product team members a share similar path that led them to the discipline, so we will always support any initiative that allows the broader tech community to understand what Product Management is and why it is important. This is why we decided to start a series of posts around product.

We recognize that we are not the first to write about product management, so instead of reinventing the wheel, we have compiled the best product articles, blogs and books as a first step. In future posts, we will discuss our learnings and insights and deep-dive into different aspects of product such as the top 10 product success factors, difference between B2C and B2B products, types of product managers, marketplaces and platform dynamics, product management career paths, why PMs are now getting hired by VCs, etc. If there is any topic you would like us to cover, please let us know, we are always looking for interesting ideas!

We firmly believe that behind every great product or service there is a product team that combines technology, data and design to solve real customer problems in a way that meets the needs of the business. Product management drives the vision, strategy, design and execution of their product or service. We emphasize drive because the soft skills that are necessary to deliver on desired outcomes and that require coordination of multiple pieces of an organization are often undervalued.

So just to begin, here are some good reads we believe you would find useful as an initial step into the amazing world of product management:

  • Article: Product management framework: Roman Pilcher’s article is a great start in understanding the breadth and depth of a product management role.
  • Article: Product Management: Main Stages and Product Manager Role: Great summary about what a product manager does and the main stages to develop a product.
  • Presentation: The Art of Product management: In this Slideshare Sachin Rekhi does a great job explaining the high level accountabilities of product managers: vision, strategy, design and execution.
  • Book: Inspired: How to create products customers love. Marty Cagan, a longtime product leader for well-known companies, shares his experience and insights on how to identify the right path to build a great product, how to work with other teams to make it happen, and the basics of how to be a great product manager.
  • Book: Product Leadership. This book gathers insights from leading product managers and helps you explore successful teams’ patterns, best approaches to different company stages as well as strategies and tactics for working with different stakeholders.
  • Book: The Product Book. This book describes the whole product life cycle, digging deep in each of the steps of the journey and giving a clear understanding of a product manager’s job.

We hope you find these introductory materials useful. We look forward to seeing you back for more interesting product management topics. Stay tuned!