Product Manager Success: Growth & Curiosity

I’ve been working in software for 30 years. I started out at Apple Computer and later moved on to Microsoft, and I ran product and design there for 15 years. Later, I was at GoDaddy working on UX and design. About 10 months ago, I got onboard as Product Lead at Expedia, and essentially, I ended up on a finance team. I did this intentionally. As a product manager, you have to push yourself and make decisions to grow.

Keep Growing Always

I believe in the saying “adapt or die.” In other words, I’ve witnessed many people get fixated on wanting to own a certain thing or work in just one area. Then they peter out and die. I’ve worked in design teams, product teams, hybrid, desktop, etc. On each vector, I had to learn something – and that’s how I grew. Another thing I say all the time is that it’s vital to build a toolbox of skills and knowledge.

Remember, your career is a marathon. Don’t look at it as a sprint. If you get ahead too fast, you might take a dive as a product manager since you reached too high, too fast. Instead, you want staying power. Most importantly, things will always change – you’ll get suddenly disrupted several times during your career. 

Curiosity Is The Fuel

Einstein said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” A good product manager wants to find out why, and you’re always learning. I believe generalists, not specialists, are the real problem solvers. Generalists make connections between different realms and see things in different ways. The super expert has limited longevity. Let’s say you’re the best Oracle person in the world, and we take Oracle away. What do you do? Make sure you take the time to learn other things.



About the speaker
Rick Eames Expedia Group, Senior Director, Product Member

Executive product leader with extensive background managing go-to-market strategies, user experience and design, and overall product development for Fortune 500 companies and startups. Strong team-building mentality, with a history of bridging the gap between development, marketing, and UX to improve existing products and create innovative new applications.

About the host
Steven Abrahams Microsoft, Partnerships for Teams in Education

I believe in our ability as humans to solve problems in creative and simple ways. I’ve had the good fortune to work on and with some of the brightest and most creative teams and people in various roles in product development. These experiences have enriched me personally and I carry them with me to every new challenge. I like big problems that have beautiful and simple solutions. I’ve worked on financial products for people of fixed income, products that bridge humans across the planet in moments of their greatest need to connect as well as tools that disambiguate, equalize and democratize access to data and content. The companies I’ve worked with range from startups to large public companies where chiefly my role has been about unlocking and connecting customer unmet needs to the people engineering and designing the products. I enjoy playing many roles and leverage the tools and resources at hand to bring products to market. I’ve direct experience when and how to deploy artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other advanced cognitive services. My patents cover areas in video and conversational interfaces, platform extensibility, mobile applications, and large scale software. Following to be read by computers, not humans: Interests include: Human rights, feminism. food and farming sustainability, Non-Profits, product management, information retrieval, UX Design, future-of-work, artificial intelligence, machine learning, communications, virtual assistants, digital media, branding.

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