Apoorva Gupta

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What accomplishment in your product management career has brought you the highest level of satisfaction and joy? Can you narrate why?

Every day as a Product person is eventful, with constant cycle of learning and un-learning, to build experiences that are value driven. There are 2 transitions that have shaped my PM evolution, leading to immense satisfaction. First, moving from an IC role to a managerial role. This may seem a straightforward next chapter, but should always be evaluated with a lot of consideration. Its human nature to excel when you own your destiny, but when leading a team, you are suddenly out of comfort zone. This has been one of my best decision to take the plunge. The outcome is unthinkable when you build and nurture a passionate team. I realised the art of delegation is actually super powerful, to build relationships and rapport with the team. I am able to drive a much broader charter, thanks to my team, which also results in leadership acknowledging our presence, and letting us drive more strategic bets. This leads to my second transition that has made my PM life so much more fun! Moving from pure execution to strategy and execution. To seed a vision, create a business case, gain stakeholder/ leadership alignment, evangelise, iterative development, continuous customer feedback, go to market, there is lot more joy when you choose your course of action, and thereby own the outcome. I am fortunate to be associated with a creative tech giant like Adobe, that believes in empowerment and for us to create the future.

What aspect of  product management did you struggle the most with? How did you overcome  it?

My Product career has spanned from building capabilities for internal business teams, to direct to consumer products, to finally now B2B products. These transitions were necessary for me to realise what I truly love building. In this journey, would not call it a struggle, but it did require adjusting my mindset depending on the persona. Internal business stakeholder, versus consumers, versus high paying Fortune 1000 customers, one cannot deal with each persona similarly. It did take some adaptation at my end, to understand the intricacies of each target segment, and accordingly mould my product thinking capabilities.

What's one common  myth about product management that you find common among aspiring PMs.

That without higher education its hard to get into Product Management, specially in India. Product ecosystem in India has really evolved, to not just use education as a filter. Though aspiring PMs, irrespective of education background, should ensure they connect with this ecosystem, get a pulse of day in the life of PM, and develop structured thinking. Interview questions may seem very straightforward, and I have seen many come unprepared. Preparation and good understanding, makes one easily stand out. If this is cracked, everything else is secondary.

What are some common  pitfalls that product managers must be aware of?

a) Taking your customers for granted. Your customers in almost all cases will be using the product way more than you on a day to day basis, sometimes in creative ways even unknown to a PM. Its important to always be close to your practitioners, and make them part of your Product creation process

b) Just relying on data to take decisions. While data is good, its important to derive hypothesis from it, run experiments, measure outcome and then productise

c) And counter to point b), never instrumenting any user behaviour on your product. By doing so, key signals/ trends are getting missed, and you may be building something that has high chance of no one ever using it

If not product  management, what career would you have picked? Are there any complimentary skillsets that you see between being a PM and your alternate choice?

For the foreseeable future I only see myself as a product person :) But maybe in an alternate life, a sportsperson in a team sport. Lot of similarities, initially performing at an individual level, transitioning to a leader role, and then eventually a coach. Executing but with good strategy, capturing data and developing a strong understanding of yourself/ ecosystem/ competition, to drive successful outcomes.

What is something  about product management that you wish you knew when you started out?

I think its important to discover early itself, what you truly love building. Direct to consumers or for Enterprises. Dabble across these domains early on, to then build expertise in one area.

What accomplishment in your product management career has brought you the highest level of satisfaction and joy? Can you narrate why?

Every day as a Product person is eventful, with constant cycle of learning and un-learning, to build experiences that are value driven. There are 2 transitions that have shaped my PM evolution, leading to immense satisfaction. First, moving from an IC role to a managerial role. This may seem a straightforward next chapter, but should always be evaluated with a lot of consideration. Its human nature to excel when you own your destiny, but when leading a team, you are suddenly out of comfort zone. This has been one of my best decision to take the plunge. The outcome is unthinkable when you build and nurture a passionate team. I realised the art of delegation is actually super powerful, to build relationships and rapport with the team. I am able to drive a much broader charter, thanks to my team, which also results in leadership acknowledging our presence, and letting us drive more strategic bets. This leads to my second transition that has made my PM life so much more fun! Moving from pure execution to strategy and execution. To seed a vision, create a business case, gain stakeholder/ leadership alignment, evangelise, iterative development, continuous customer feedback, go to market, there is lot more joy when you choose your course of action, and thereby own the outcome. I am fortunate to be associated with a creative tech giant like Adobe, that believes in empowerment and for us to create the future.

What aspect of  product management did you struggle the most with? How did you overcome  it?

My Product career has spanned from building capabilities for internal business teams, to direct to consumer products, to finally now B2B products. These transitions were necessary for me to realise what I truly love building. In this journey, would not call it a struggle, but it did require adjusting my mindset depending on the persona. Internal business stakeholder, versus consumers, versus high paying Fortune 1000 customers, one cannot deal with each persona similarly. It did take some adaptation at my end, to understand the intricacies of each target segment, and accordingly mould my product thinking capabilities.

What's one common  myth about product management that you find common among aspiring PMs.

That without higher education its hard to get into Product Management, specially in India. Product ecosystem in India has really evolved, to not just use education as a filter. Though aspiring PMs, irrespective of education background, should ensure they connect with this ecosystem, get a pulse of day in the life of PM, and develop structured thinking. Interview questions may seem very straightforward, and I have seen many come unprepared. Preparation and good understanding, makes one easily stand out. If this is cracked, everything else is secondary.

What are some common  pitfalls that product managers must be aware of?

a) Taking your customers for granted. Your customers in almost all cases will be using the product way more than you on a day to day basis, sometimes in creative ways even unknown to a PM. Its important to always be close to your practitioners, and make them part of your Product creation process

b) Just relying on data to take decisions. While data is good, its important to derive hypothesis from it, run experiments, measure outcome and then productise

c) And counter to point b), never instrumenting any user behaviour on your product. By doing so, key signals/ trends are getting missed, and you may be building something that has high chance of no one ever using it

If not product  management, what career would you have picked? Are there any complimentary skillsets that you see between being a PM and your alternate choice?

For the foreseeable future I only see myself as a product person :) But maybe in an alternate life, a sportsperson in a team sport. Lot of similarities, initially performing at an individual level, transitioning to a leader role, and then eventually a coach. Executing but with good strategy, capturing data and developing a strong understanding of yourself/ ecosystem/ competition, to drive successful outcomes.

What is something  about product management that you wish you knew when you started out?

I think its important to discover early itself, what you truly love building. Direct to consumers or for Enterprises. Dabble across these domains early on, to then build expertise in one area.

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