Understanding Product Led growth - AMA with Rohan Katyal

Hello folks! Welcome back to our weekly TPF AMA Series! This week we were glad to have Rohan Katyal, Product Manager at Facebook.

Rohan pursued his undergraduate from IIIT Delhi and his postgraduate from Georgia Institute of Technology. He is currently working as a Product Manager at Facebook and has previously worked at Yelp and Yahoo.

Rohan has an avid interest in building global organizations and products spanning small businesses and marketplaces. He also co-founded FindAWay focused on educational equitable access.

So let's jump straight into it!

In this AMA, Rohan Katyal answered questions about product strategies, scaling B2C products, interview process and work structure at Facebook. 

How much say does a PM get in the execution plan?

As a PM you are responsible for outcomes. The inputs that lead to better outcomes vary from time to time. Your team might need more support in strategy at a point vs roadmapping or stakeholder management at another. The amount of time I spend on execution and where I get involved varies. Right now, I spend the majority of my time on strategy.

What are the steps for scaling a B2C product?

Scaling B2C doesn’t have just one strategy, it depends on 

  • Users -  GenZ vs Small Business Owners
  • Business Model - Ads vs Subscription
  • Industry - Social Network vs E-commerce 
  • Growth stage - Early vs late stage

What are some of the good resources for Product Strategy to be long term thinkers?

The strategy book that I like the most is Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters Book by Richard P. Rumelt. It's solid actionable advice. It helped me get a high-level understanding of what are the elements of a good strategy. 

To further learn and improve:

  • Read real strategy memos (such as one from Airbase)
  • Read the investor relation documents from publicly traded companies
  • Read S1s from companies IPOing (I really enjoy these!)
  • Find a mentor and get advice from them on your strategy docs.

How do product managers at Facebook make an impact and build 0-1 products?

FB has defined its execution processes to move fast. The company is extremely bottoms-up with decentralized decision-making. You are given a large amount of ownership and drive impact. At the beginning of every half, teams propose the impact they will create. You have the opportunity to make a case for a 0 to 1 product if need be. 

What is the interview process like for a product role at Facebook?

Facebook maintains an extremely high bar while interviewing across the board. The PM interview process includes several conversations focused on execution, product sense, and leadership & drive. I've documented my preparation process, frameworks, and tips here.

All of FB's products seem quite separate - Facebook and WhatsApp have barely any common synergies, Facebook and Instagram have some, but there is a scope for a lot more. Is this deliberate? 

Facebook family of apps I would say Facebook & WhatsApp have a deep integration:

Businesses can run click to WA ads that are distributed on FB but the communication happens on WA. Businesses can create a post with a WA button or add it to their page. Facebook only creates integrations when it's beneficial for the user. Integrations come with their share of complexity.

What is the scope of commerce in instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram?

Commerce in messaging (aka conversational commerce) is big. It helps businesses build a meaningful relationship with consumers in a one-to-one set up. All big commerce players are trying their hand at it like Google & Yelp. Whatsapp is the breathing ground for commerce and business to people communication and the “dukan tech” movement has started in India for conversational commerce.

Want to join the next conversation? We’ll be having another Product Chat soon, get your invite to our Slack community to get all the details. See you inside.

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