What do product leaders need to consider when transitioning from corporate to startup? In this episode of the Product Leaders to Watch series hosted by Cognizant Product Director Chenny Solaiyappan, Caribou CPO Christine Dupuis shares her experience transitioning to PM roles at Google and Montreal startups, emphasizing the value of internal experience. Christine also provides insights into fundraising for startups and what makes a great product and product manager. The discussion highlights the importance of critical thinking, moving fast, and diversity in building products that serve all users.

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Show Notes

  1. The best way to transition into product management is internally at a company.
  2. As a hiring manager, internal experience minimizes risk when bringing someone new into a PM role.
  3. Finding product-market fit is key before raising a Series A round of funding.
  4. Raising a Series A requires investor trust in your traction and plans for accelerating growth.
  5. Traction is measured by willingness of customers to pay for your product.
  6. The health tech industry is paradoxically both cutting-edge and heavily regulated.
  7. Candidates increasingly prioritize mission-driven work that aligns with their values.
  8. An effective product should be easy to use and provide user delight.
  9. Critical thinking is important for product managers to solve problems logically.
  10. Product managers must balance critical analysis with moving quickly to validate assumptions.
  11. Diversity in product management leads to better representation of all user needs.
  12. Anyone can become a product manager with the right skills and mindset.
  13. Internal contributions help aspiring PMs gain experience and credibility.
  14. Regions like Montreal are emerging tech hubs outside of Silicon Valley.
  15. Consulting experiences exposed the speaker to mission-aligned companies and opportunities.
  16. Acquisitions can lead to new roles and responsibilities at acquiring companies.
  17. Transitioning from corporate to startup means enhancing agility and nimbleness.
  18. Pivoting quickly is necessary in fast-moving fields like AI and health tech.
  19. Mentorship programs help develop the next generation of product leaders.
  20. Venture investing allows experience product executives to support startup founders.

About the speaker
About the host
Chenny Solaiyappan Cognizant, Director, Product Management, Government Health programs

Chenny Solaiyappan is the Director of Product Management for Cognizant Trizetto's Government and Quality Solutions, and a founding member of the ClaimSphere suite of products, encompassing quality, HEDIS ®, CMS Stars, and clinical solutions. An accomplished Intrapreneur and Lean Startup Practitioner, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the overall product strategy and serves as the HL7 DaVinci Business Co-chair. With a notable track record, Chenny has provided consultancy to over 30 health plans across the nation, consistently raising Quality and Star ratings in Medicaid, Medicare, Federal Employees Health Plan, and Commercial health plan sectors, collectively supporting 30 million lives. His outstanding leadership and innovative contributions have earned him prestigious awards, including the 2023 Top 20 Global Product Manager Award by Products That Count, as well as the 2021 and 2019 Product of the Year awards by Cognizant Trizetto.

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