53 / If You’re In Product, You’re the Connector


We often talk about product living at the intersection of technology, business, and UX. And that makes sense in a limited, Venn diagram way of thinking: Product as the place where these things converge. But as we have discovered, using a 3-piece diagram to explain what product is all about is a gross oversimplification.

Through her lens as a journalist-turned-product leader, Nina Foroutan, Director of Product Management at Forbes, sees product not at the intersection, but more as the oxygen each requires to sustain itself. In this episode, Nina joins Sean and Paul describing her product leader role as participant in all things product, as she puts it: “in the in-betweens.”

Sometimes her day is technology-focused, on others it’s more on UX, and sometimes it’s more business and data. But one thing is clear: every day is focused on users.

“When you’re in product, you have to be involved in every aspect,” she says, “and understand user pain points and how the solution you’re trying to build helps get to the organization’s business goals.”

Where product truly plays its role, “where it’s actually actionable,” is as facilitator. “When you’re in product, you’re the connector. You’re the reason why and the one who makes it all make sense. That is where product lives.”

Be sure to catch more of our conversation with Nina to get her take on —

  • This period of awakening we’re in right now – especially as it relates to hiring for diversity and inclusion and creating an environment that’s accepting of everyone.
  • The importance of soft skills, like having the emotional intelligence to remain calm and roll with the punches when everyone else is panicking.
  • That in her world content is the product, and technology is the vehicle for delivering the user’s experience with it.

Nina’s Recommended Reading:

Little Black Stretchy Pants, by Chip Wilson.

About Nina

Nina Foroutan is the Director of Product Development at Forbes where she leads a team of product owners focused on driving content and revenue experiences on Prior to Forbes, she was a product lead at Hearst Digital Studios launching new brands and building platforms for their partnership with Verizon. Nina has an MBA from Babson College F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business and currently lives in Manhattan.  

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