1stdibs CPO on Career Path (Part 2)
When your strengths and needs evolve beyond your current role, it’s time to start looking for a new job. Looking at my own career path, I started working at Capital One as a project manager. At the time, I had great project management skills and worked hard – but had no frame of reference for product management. However, I knew that I wanted to get into tech and used this experience to set up my move to Nextcard.
Working at a company that created the first online credit card was a great place to learn. The company was stable and things were moving fast. However, I definitely needed to fight to get in the door and worked even harder to develop my skills further. Eventually, I moved on to Digital Insight – which is a SaaS business. When I got there, I didn’t even know what SaaS was – but this provided another great opportunity to learn more about the tech world.
Fast-forward to 10 years later; I had a Senior Director job at Gilt. On paper, this sounded great and I loved working at a small company where I could get my hands dirty. Over time, I realized that I wasn’t tapping into all of my core strengths. There wasn’t an opportunity to manage a team or define processes. In addition, the company’s mission did not inspire me to go above and beyond for the organization.
Sure enough, the CEO at 1stdibs.com approached me about becoming Chief Product Officer. Within 30 minutes, I knew that this was a great opportunity and that it was time to make a move. The position would leverage my strengths and put me in an environment where I could develop further. Furthermore, I spent a ton of time interviewing the CEO to ensure that we could form a successful partnership for long-term success.
In the end, this is very important for defining your career path – especially when you ascend to leadership roles.
About the speaker
Xiaodi Zhang joined 1stdibs.com as the first product hire. Over the last six years, she has led the transformation of the luxury marketplace and helped grow the company from 350 today. As CPO, Xiaodi manages the Product and Design organizations. Her responsibilities include leading the annual strategy planning process and developing the right frameworks and tools to ensure success at 1stdibs. Along the way, she has built a team of nearly 30 rockstar product managers and designers. Prior to 1stdibs, Xiaodi held leadership positions at Gilt and eBay. While at eBay, she spent five invaluable years in Shanghai, learning first hand the importance of grit, scale and competition.
About the host
Andrea is the VP of Product and Engineering at One Kings Lane, a digital-first resource for making your home an expression of your personal style. She has spent over fifteen years in Product and Tech, and has led teams at startups and Fortune 500 companies, including Rent the Runway, Zappos, Time Warner, and Verizon. Andrea is passionate about solving hard (seemingly impossible) challenges, developing simple yet delightful products, building teams of entrepreneurial critical thinkers, and creating strategic outcomes with impact. She is a hands-on leader with a player/coach style, diving into the details with her team to partner, advise, and guide them to success.