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welcome to the open podcast community podcast all right so today i am interviewing lena um she has a book uh the book is the making of product managers where she talks about um how different product managers got their start in uh product management so i hope you enjoy this interview uh welcome to my interview with lena cesardic uh we're gonna be talking about her book uh the making of product managers uh so let's get into it um so lina what is a product manager so to me a product manager is someone who's the intersection between business which is your stakeholders at a company for example um then it's the intersection between technology which is the actual software engineers who are actually building the software assuming that you're working as a product manager at a software company which is where i've personally worked so i'm just going to use that as a definition and then the last point of intersection is basically um the design of it and so that's kind of i see it as really the intermediary between those three areas and what the role of a product manager is is to basically communicate between those different teams in order to create a product that is business viable good to use by customers and is you know sitting on a tech that is you know resilient and appropriate for the use of whatever product it is so they're also the prioritizers so they're in charge of essentially prioritizing what to build next why to do that as opposed to anything else and defending their priority list which we call usually a product roadmap to all the different stakeholders whether they're the engineers the customers or the the business which is the actual company so that's kind of my definition of a product manager but it does completely vary uh depending on the type of company you work at what products you're producing um and the general kind of culture of the company as well so plus or minus all that stuff all right very cool so for the book you interviewed a bunch of people how'd you find people to interview because you interviewed 19 people and then you added yourself at the end of the book too yeah yeah that's right so uh i initially actually didn't set out to write a book i was just gonna interview a bunch of product managers and write an article so i get a lot of people that are trying to break into product management they reach out to me and they ask you know how did you break in uh and they're doing this to a bunch of other product managers so i thought maybe i'll just you know interview a bunch of product managers i know i'll write an article um and so i basically but when i thought about that i said you know what i'm actually going to reach out to people that i don't know already so i pretty much know how the product managers around me uh ended up in product and so i figured you know for my own entertainment at least i'll interview at least people i don't know that will make new connections so i'm part of a couple slack groups for product management so i there's one in vancouver british columbia that has a lot of product managers in it so i posted a question there i also posted a question in the product collective slack group which is a global product management slack group i got a couple responses there which was great because i got one individual who was from california one individual from the philippines one that was in singapore at the time but she originally lived in india and so i got a huge uh you know collection of people that i didn't know before that were global and all had really different stories so i actually completely lucked out with the first 19 people that i interviewed and then i added myself at the end uh just because i figured it might make sense for me to i've never actually written my story about how i got into product management so i figured you know i'll put myself in there as well last for sure um when you said you just wanted to write an article that reminds me of my experience with my book because i just i wrote two articles and i was like okay i can write a book that's awesome yeah um so you you wrote it in third person like uh your chapter was it weird writing like your experience in third person it was it was weird yeah because i think with the other people i you know you wanna you wanna bring them up and you wanna really represent their story in a in a meaningful and entertaining way and it's easy to kind of add color to other people um but i think when it's to yourself you get a little self-conscious and you don't really want to sell yourself short but at the same time you do want to describe what actually happened and it actually makes you kind of wonder whether you actually have the story right like some of the details and i was writing about them i was like wait did it actually happen like that or did i just imagine that to make myself look better so it was a lot of kind of like just double checking i think i actually reached out to one of my old bosses and i was like hey like um you know is this accurate from what happened four years ago um so it was kind of good to get a bit of a you know sanity check and fact check for myself but yeah writing about yourself in third person is just super weird and it's it's a strange experience but yeah for sure so how did you interview the other people was it in person like over zoom or yeah so it was actually all over zoom because right when i started interviewing uh kovitz started hitting i'm pretty sure that was synonymous i think coven might have already kind of started happening in canada around march and so the zoom was really the only way and the funny thing is is that because we had just gone on lockdown in vancouver and a lot globally as well pretty much a lot of the people that i reached out to were very happy to actually have a conversation because some of them lived alone or maybe they lived with like one other person and they actually were hungry for that social interaction that was before all the zoom fatigue happened but um it was all over zoom and yeah no no in person yeah for sure um so uh you put the minutes at the beginning of like of each chapter how'd you do that yeah so i think it's the estimated reading time so yeah i came across an article that talked about how having estimated reading time increases engagement and so i thought it would just be a nice thing to add especially because the chapters are all different from one another so it's not like you have to read them in order you don't have to read all of them you can just read the ones one by one as they interest you so i thought like a little estimated reading time would be helpful uh the way i calculated it i think i there's a calculate there's calculators online but i just went by the word count um and i think i put like 200 words i don't know if it's per minute it's probably per minute that it's measured yeah so i i went with 200 words per minute as opposed to 250 words it's usually 200 250 so i thought i'll just go maybe on the slower side just in case so just manually calculated it yeah okay so uh you and i have been dming on twitter for a couple weeks right and uh you've talked about doing something more in terms of content creation so what do you have in mind right now yeah for sure um so so i do have my website where i have a blog but i'm currently not publishing regularly to it my excuse is i just wrote a book so during the book obviously i wasn't gonna blog as well on the side um but right now my excuses that i just recently wrote a book which is a pretty bad excuse but i'm looking more actually into a slightly different medium for a change so i've always really liked kind of video and audio content and so i'm experimenting with a new instagram page that i created under my name lana sardic i'm just kind of posting content that's related to the learnings of my journey right now so i you know wasn't product management officially for four years in the corporate world and i still obviously consider myself a product manager but this year i've quit my day job and essentially put myself into the world of entrepreneurship and i'm trying to see if i can create something of my own and so in that light my instagram page newly created is my journey from product manager to entrepreneur and so i'm trying to share content about my learnings my journey some of the things that you know i've learned along the way some of the mistakes i've made and things like that so that's kind of my attempt to especially experiment with video as well but my long-term goal is to either have some sort of a podcast or like a youtube video podcast where i do different episodes there and i played around with different topics one of the kind of things i'm thinking about right now is potentially starting a podcast with my partner um about just random kind of things first just starting with maybe like life relationships career career transitions um really anything that's kind of going on currently um just to kind of get my feet wet and have some comfortable conversations and get used to being recorded um but yeah so we'll see it's one of those kind of areas i'll probably explore more over the next little while yeah for sure yeah um it takes a while to figure out i think i told you that i bought a microphone in october of 2018 but i didn't start the podcast till march of 2019 oh okay yeah yeah yeah no that makes sense yeah so um what's hippokite yeah so um hippokite i guess you can't tell from the name because it's perfectly random so it's basically uh so it's a tool that helps you log all your accomplishments and the important things that you've done either in a job or as you're you know working for yourself or something like that and but but the primary purpose is for you to log what you've done at your job so that when you have a performance review or you're applying for another job you have all that at your fingertips including all the details metrics where necessary so it's kind of a conscious a more mindful way of working in my opinion and so it originates from what i used to do when i first started working outside of university i just basically wrote down every week or maybe every couple weeks some of the big things that i achieved at work that i knew i'd want to bring up later either in a performance review or a job interview or maybe even just during networking and so it's just a little app that lets you capture uh whatever you want that you've kind of currently achieved just so you can remember it for later um i did a very small beta earlier this year with a really really uh pretty bad mvp to be honest um pretty ghetto but i'm looking into possibly building out a more proper application for it right now um so we're hoping to launch that v1 if you will before the end of this year but um we'll see so it's uh hippokite because i basically have a little hippo on my desk and i was trying to think of a name that was just really uh fun catchy but not representing what the product actually is because in case i pivoted down the line and i thought you know there's a lot of products out there that don't really describe what they do anyway so i figured that would be a fun name yeah cool i could have used that at cisco because they uh they're like okay uh you're gone in two weeks and i spent like the next two weeks figuring out like what to say in my resume and like getting it so yeah that was that was fun yeah yeah no that's my hope yeah i find that also when i was when i was actually writing stuff down when i was working at my first job um when it came to the performance review it was just a copy and paste for me but everyone else was like staring at a blank screen and so that was a winning moment nice so you read my book what'd you think yeah i thought it was really good it was just um like a very basic uh introduction to kind of the very early stuff that you need to know about a podcast which is good for anyone who's thinking about trying a podcast or maybe they've just started one and they're kind of getting used to it um i like the conversational tone i thought it was just really casual easy to read i thought the presentation was um was very simple sometimes i find especially ebooks they get a little bit crazy on the design and it's just a little tiring to to read um but yeah yours is super like a breeze to read through yeah okay that uh that is a load off my mind because i'm like am i a good writer should i continue writing was this book like good for people to read did it provide value and now that you said all that that was like exactly what i wanted to hear and what i expected people to get out of the book yeah well the more you write the better you get as well so yeah yeah uh i took a break just like you and i started writing again and my writing's terrible i'm like what is this um so is there anything else you want to mention um no i think that's pretty much that yeah okay uh where can people find you online uh the best place for me is gonna be probably linkedin so lennis is hardich uh and then twitter i'm on twitter as well i tweet here and there um i try to keep it a little more casual on twitter and then as i mentioned before my new instagram account at lannister if anyone wants to follow me feel free i'm trying to share as many tips as i can about my journey from product manager to entrepreneur all right and the the link for the book what's the url the making of product should probably mention that one thank you all right um we'll put that in the show notes too sounds good yeah okay uh thanks for listening have a nice day bye