If you’ve never done product before, the journey can be super-scary. So many questions: Do I have what it takes? Is this the career I want for myself? What type of PM do I want to be? Where am I in my career product life cycle?
Worry no more.
In this episode of ITX’s Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul are joined by ProductGo co-founder, David Wang. David is a true champion of product managers around the world – especially if you’re just breaking into the field. In our conversation, he outlines a prescribed path for product management newcomers who may not have a PM degree but who do have a passion for “creating things that can change the world.”
Our initial connection with David arrived compliments of podcast guest, Adrienne Tan.
David’s own path to product management took him 5 years “just to know what I was doing, and another 5 years just doing the job,” he says. “But what I realized was that everything I learned [about product management] can be categorized into one of these three areas: mindset, process, and tools.”
Once he started thinking about product management through that three-part lens, it helped him make sense of all the information he had read and practiced, he added.
David also realized that as our knowledge grows and technology evolves, the same happens to the mindsets, processes, and tools that once guided our thinking. Avoid tying yourself to one mindset or process or toolbox, he cautions. Part of learning product management is understanding that it is a repeatable, almost cyclical process.
“We can add mindsets to our mindset category and get rid of others over time. Tools and processes come and go. So as a PM, that realization has actually helped me learn management much faster.”
In this pod, David shares what he means by “much faster.” He lays out a prescribed 12- to 18-month plan for what onboarding to a product career might look like and involve. But don’t be in a rush to make it happen, he advises.
“It takes time for that mindset to change, and product managers are really hired for their mindsets, not so much on their certifications.”
Listen in to hear David’s thoughts on: where ideas come from, the power of the Growth mindset, and what he means by your “origin story.” Knowing your origin story will help to remove any doubts about whether and where you belong in your PM role.
David’s Recommended Reading
Lovability: How to Build a Business That People Love and Be Happy Doing It, by Brian de Haaff.
INSPIRED: How To Create Tech Products Customers Love, by Marty Cagan.
David Wang is a global product leader with 15+ years of experience building products for start-ups and coaching corporates in Australia. Currently, David is the Founder of ProductGo – an online school advancing the art of Product Management in the APAC region.
Before starting Product Tree, David was the Head of Product for SocietyOne - a Fintech start-up raised over $70M. David is also a Distinguished Lecturer in General Assembly for Product Management, where he taught over 3,000+ students globally.
In his spare time, he runs a book summary site 5minuteknowledge.com and he is also a top writer for a product publication with over 1 million readers globally. Read more from David on his blog or website.l