Silicon Valley Product Group
50 / Product Problems Are People Problems
Whether discussing onboarding, the challenges we product managers confront in today’s upside-down world, or the benefits of being a “lazy” product manager, all problems boil down to people problems.
In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Christian Idiodi, partner at the Silicon Valley Product Group. As a leader in the product world from the beginning, Christian explains that people problems are also leadership problems, because “leaders are responsible for the context, culture, and frameworks we apply” to help solve complex problems.
Christian’s approach may seem unconventional, but his wisdom reflects a set of commonsense best practices that really aren’t all that common! He jokes with his teams, saying, “If your product work is not hard, you’re not doing it right.”
Sometimes, though, the work is hard because over 70% of product managers today are self-taught (“Imagine going to a self-taught dentist.”), having missed out on the innovative “bootcamp-like” onboarding experience he devised for his product managers.
In the modern product world, Christian says, the best way to succeed is to find a great product leader who you can learn from. That’s the best way to know what good product management looks like.
Listen in to catch more of Christian’s unique insights. They’ll help you discover how understanding the people in and around a problem will lead to better solutions. You’ll also learn why being “a lazy product manager” has its advantages.
Christian’s Recommended Reading:
EMPOWERED: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products, by Marty Cagan.
What You Do Is Who You Are: How To Create Your Business Culture, by Ben Horowitz.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, by Ben Horowitz.
Christian Idiodi has been a product leader for over 15 years, building teams and developing enterprise and consumer products that have shaped companies such as CareerBuilder and Merrill Corporation as well as clients such as PayPal, Etsy, Starbucks, Dell, and Macy’s.
Christian is passionate about helping companies implement the discipline of product management to build world-class products and new technologies. At CareerBuilder, Christian founded and managed CareerBuilder Institute, the industry’s first combined human capital and consumer training platform. As VP of Enterprise Product at Snagajob, Christian conceptualized a new-to-market solution and led the discovery, development, and successful launch of the ReadyHire business line. He designed and led the B2B product strategy for IdentityForce. He then founded Firtsi, a product consulting company that has overseen the product development lifecycle for over 120+ new products.
Before joining Silicon Valley Product Group, Christian was the Global Head of Product for Merrill Corporation where he built the company’s product organization and led them through a transformational, large-scale industry launch of the first SaaS app for due diligence in the finance industry.
Christian teaches product management and innovation at Virginia Commonwealth University. He also gives back to his local product community each year by supporting and advising two student-led startups from conceptualization to product delivery. Christian graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Psychology and Community Building and earned a dual MBA and MPM from Keller Graduate School of Management.