Ken Norton needs no introduction. Now Senior Operating Partner at GV (we still slip up and call it Google Ventures), Ken was a CTO and CEO/founder before he joined Yahoo! to run its Product organisation. He then joined Google, where he worked on Maps, Calendar and Docs. Ken has also been a keynote speaker, giving inspiring talks at Mind the Product conferences in both London (10x not 10%, 2015) and San Francisco (Please Make Yourself Uncomfortable, 2016). When the opportunity came up to chat with him, we wanted to cover something new – the idea that startups are hiring too many product managers.
Quotes of the Episode
You really can’t solve organisational problems by hiring more people.
If you told me 20 years ago that I’d be trying to convince people not to hire as many product managers, I wouldn’t believe you – because I was spending so much of my effort with the community to convince people that this was a role anyone even needed and wanted.
Listen if you’d like to learn more about:
- When should you hire your first product manager?
- When you should you hire the second?
- How should you organise a product team?
- Should you go work at a startup?
The Product Experience is hosted by Lily Smith and Randy Silver.
Lily enjoys working as a consultant product manager with early stage and growing startups and as a mentor to other product managers. Lily has spent 13 years in the tech industry working mainly with startups in the SaaS and mobile space. She has worked on a diverse range of products – leading the product teams through discovery, prototyping, testing and delivery. Lily also founded ProductTank in Bristol, the Product Managers’ meetup with regular events and talks on Product now with 800+ members and growing. This year Lily will be launching Productcamp in Bristol and she joins the MTP team as co-host of The Product Experience podcast.
A recovering music journalist and editor, Randy has been working as an interactive producer and product manager across the US and UK for nearly 20 years. After launching Amazon’s music stores in the US and UK, Randy has worked with museums and arts groups, online education, media & entertainment, retail and financial services. He’s held Head of Product roles at HSBC and Sainsbury’s, where he also directed their 100+-person product community. He’s also spoken at Mind the Product Engage (Hamburg), at a number of ProductTanks (London, Zurich, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Oxford, & Brighton… so far!) and at conferences across the US and Europe.
Our theme music is from Hamburg-based Pau, featuring ProductTank Hamburg’s own Arne Kittler on bass. Listen to more on their Facebook page
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