And how much is too much?

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How technical should a PM be?

This question elicits passionate responses from across both sides of the table. I get lots of DMs on twitter on this question alone.

Well, there are two schools of thought around this👇

But…


How to decline customer requests

Photo by Gemma Evans
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As a new Product Manager, one of the hardest things for me used to be saying “No” to things. I’ve always found it extremely difficult, and after so many years, sometimes still do.

Back in the day, when I tried to reason why this is so, I generally attributed it to my Indian upbringing — where saying NO is generally considered rude and sometimes downright hostile.

But then as I traveled, studied, made friends, and worked across…


It engages our System 2 brain.

A diary and a pencil to jot down thoughts and ideas
A diary and a pencil to jot down thoughts and ideas
Photo by Aaron Burden
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At some point in your respective product management journeys, you’ll most likely come across the term “working backwards”. Amazon’s famous Product Management philosophy.

Working Backwards posits that when thinking about what product to develop — one must work backward from the customer, rather than starting with an idea for a product and trying to bolt customers onto it. If you are building products in 2021, this is textbook advice.

I’ve never worked for Amazon, but based on…


Understanding Decentralization tech

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I first stumbled upon blockchains and cryptocurrencies in 2015 and it immediately piqued my interest. What sorcery was this thing called Bitcoin? why was it getting so much press? Why did it have any value at all?

As I entered the dark crypto world — I met some otherwise rational people going crazy about anything that had to do with blockchains and bitcoins. They talked endlessly and fanatically about mining, rigs, GPUs, blockchain apps, decentralization etc. I…


Behaviors & biases in planning

a million puzzle pieces, waiting to be put together
a million puzzle pieces, waiting to be put together
Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster

The past few months have been pretty busy at work. We’ve started an exercise where we are evaluating a product — currently manufactured in our European & North American factories — to be manufactured in our Asian factories to serve the regional markets.

There have been several meetings, planning sessions, and discussions to plan every aspect of the manufacturing move. For instance, How many units might we sell out of this factory? How long will zero to starting up production take? What the supply chain/sourcing strategy will look like? And more.

This has taken the bulk of my brain cycles…


Getting things done in large organizations

Photo by Xavi Cabrera
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If you ever work for a large corporation with complicated matrixed org structures, you’ll broadly find two types of people

Type 1: People that wait for instructions, and wait for things to happen — They’ll tell you all the reasons why something cannot be done

Type 2: People who want to make things happen, try different things, find out all the ways how something can…


How to think through pricing your product

Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán
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“How should we price this product?” — somebody posed the question in our weekly product meeting. I had no idea.

It was my very first product launch and I had no experience pricing a real product before. The closest I had gotten to “pricing” something was at a Product Positioning and Pricing course at business school — but again, that was coursework based on hypotheticals, and this was the real world.

The idea was to price the…


How to be an empathetic listener — but a focused questioner

Photo by Franco Antonio Giovanella
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Until I landed my first PM job, I had never really interviewed anyone.

The first time I interviewed someone was alongside a User Experience researcher (who did it for a living). I was a new PM trying to validate a product idea that we thought was exciting and solved a big pain point for people. Our target market was small business owners, so we cold-called a bunch of small business owners and set up meetings.

In sum, we…


And how to become a non-linear thinker

photo of a spiral starewell
photo of a spiral starewell
Photo by Fabian Fauth
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All of us know that most plants need water to survive. i.e. if you don’t water your plants, they die. But that inference is not exactly accurate. Here’s what really happens:

If you don’t give the plant any water, the plant dies.

With too little water, the plant grows for a little but then dies eventually

You water it just right, the plant flourishes and grows.

You Water it too often, the plant starts wilting.

Too much…


The foundations you must build to start adding value

man balancing on a rock on one leg
man balancing on a rock on one leg
Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash
 👋 This post appeared in my weekly newsletter on Product Management.Follow me on Twitter where I share my experiences in building products, successes, failures, and insights.

When I landed my first Product Management job, I was happy, ecstatic, and proud. But I was also nervous — because I had never really done the job before.

In my previous company, I was a software developer and we never had a Product Manager on the team. (This was before Product Management became cool) .

After my Software developer gig and now fresh off the MBA press, I wanted to get into…

Abhishek Chakravarty

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