Products That Count Crew Member Spotlight: Michael Paulson
Products That Count: Jungle Scout Chief Product Officer
Every month, Products That Count will bring you stories from each of our crew members across the country. Today, we’re excited to introduce you to Jungle Scout Chief Product Officer – Michael Paulson – who is our Austin Head of Chapter.
Introduce yourself to the Products That Count network – tell us who you are and what you’re up to as a product leader?
My name is Michael Paulson, and I am currently the Chief Product Officer at a company called Jungle Scout. We help empower entrepreneurs to start their own businesses by allowing them to sell branded and private label goods on Amazon. This allows them to build their own businesses and create an opportunity to go work for themselves.
Tell us a little bit about your role with Products That Count within Austin and what your priorities are?
My primary responsibility is getting the Austin Chapter launched and off the ground. We’re bringing a community of really experienced and passionate product people together in Austin. I think my other priority is finding really compelling speakers to come share their experiences at our monthly speaker events. My vision for the Austin chapter is to bring together a diverse set of speakers who come from different industries. It will give us the opportunity to learn and walk vicariously through various career experiences. I want us to learn from the wins, challenges, and failures that people have had in different industries. This is a unique opportunity for the audience to hear these unique perspectives, which I don’t think they have had before.
In your opinion, what is the definition of a great product?
A great product is something that improves a person’s life in some way. Which I believe can be done in two ways. It can be done by solving a problem and dramatically making something better. Or by creating an opportunity that didn’t exist before. Regardless, either method should result in a great product that pleases people.
Then, I think a great product manager is a person who has the ability to deeply empathize with people. In addition, they can envision or recognize a solution and can actually deliver that solution. They need to deliver on that solution in a way that creates enough value that the product is actually sustainable and commercially viable.
There’s a lot of material available to help product managers get better at what they do. Can you share some resources that you find very helpful for you as a product leader?
I love reading founder’s stories. I personally get a lot of value and find it thought-provoking to read stories about people starting different businesses. Sometimes those stories are about world-famous brands, and other times small startups. Nonetheless, I find that personally compelling. Plus, it teaches me a lot. I also think it’s crucial to read what you like. There is a great benefit in reading a variety of things. In fact, I think a lot of great ideas in product management can come from other domains. So, I also read a lot of fiction, National Geographic, and the news. Furthermore, I think it’s important to have a mix of both product management and personal reading. In fact, I think you can get very myopic if you’re only reading about your industry and your function.
Click here to check out upcoming events that Michael and other Chapter Heads are hosting.