Expedia Product Lead on Building & Learning As A Product Manager
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.