How has product management evolved? In this episode of Product Talk with Kaboo Founder Neha Shah, The Trade Desk Product SVP Gruia Pitigoi-Aron speaks on how product management has evolved throughout his career. He shares his career journey from studying computer science to breaking into product management at Microsoft. He discusses lessons learned from early mistakes in job interviews and the importance of treating the job search process seriously. Gruia also provides insights into building a strong product culture of honesty and integrity. He emphasizes the value of giving timely feedback and constantly improving.

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Show Notes

  1. Gruia didn’t know what product management was as a career option initially
  2. He found his passion for programming early on through a Commodore 64.
  3. A professor encouraged him to pursue computer science.
  4. His early job interview mistake at Microsoft taught him to properly prepare.
  5. Gruia treated future interviews like classes to ensure he was fully prepared.
  6. He looked for “trouble” projects at Microsoft to take on and prove himself.
  7. He was transparent with his manager about wanting new challenges.
  8. He took a risk moving from Microsoft to a smaller startup, The Trade Desk.
  9. Culture and values are important to build from the top down in an organization.
  10. Honesty and integrity are crucial to a product culture.
  11. Feedback is a kindness when given timely and constructively.
  12. Constant self-improvement is important at any stage of one’s career.
  13. Courage comes from feeling safe to be vulnerable within a culture.
  14. Leaders must embody the values they espouse for the culture to thrive.
  15. Technical skills are the baseline but must be paired with “cultural goodness.”
  16. Raising one’s hand for tough projects helps advance one’s career.
  17. Treat interviews and the job search as seriously as classes.
  18. Small mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow.
  19. The best teams push each other to help each other improve.
  20. A long product career is like running a marathon – sustain a fast pace.

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