“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
After two phenomenal years of launching apps at the Landmark Group’s Web Team, I’ve decided to move on. But before that, I wanted to thank the incredible people and fabulous products that made this journey truly remarkable.
My B2C Debut
Firstly, a big thanks to Arjit, Ziyaad, Daniel and Savitar for sensing potential in my B2B Product skills and entrusting me to lead consumer products. Also Derrick, for offering a wide range of responsibilities ranging from E-commerce to Loyalty strategy, Continue reading Goodbye Web Team→
My decision to leave L&T was reactive. While I evaluated the opportunity using some criteria, the move itself wasn’t planned. As overwhelming as career planning is, it is important get started. Start with a long-term vision, break it down to define short-term milestones, and then come up with an action plan. I did this exercise with my entire team and it was all worth the effort – everyone had found enough challenges and was working towards a personal goal. It also lead to 0 attrition. Action items will usually be along the lines of enhancing your toolkit, business acumen and people skills. It could also mean updating your resume. And it could well demand getting out of your comfort zone to meet those goals.
I feel associating ranks to one’s priorities and analyzing quantitatively really helps trade-off between opportunity cost and risk. I’ve used it not only with job offers, but also when looking at houses, and funny enough, my life partner. Remember, everyone has different needs and priorities. The list below is how I look at choices – not necessarily in that order. You might need to tweak it for yourself –download or view the spreadsheet online.
1. Opportunity & Toolkit
Enhances your toolkit?
Offers challenges, opportunities to learn?
Novelty*? A new domain / technology / vertical / market
Gives access to good mentors & a network?
Opens new avenues in the future**?
Offers better title***? Consider position in the organization hierarchy, competition
Offers a better role? Influence v/s Authority, Leadership * Novelty alone shouldn’t be a driver
** Don’t overrate future prospects when starting your career
*** Opt for a rationalized, industry-wide title
2. Goals & Passion
Makes best use of your passion?
Gets you a step closer to a future goal?
Aligns with personal interests – wealth, network, travel?
Gives a meaning, purpose to your life?
Leaving your comfort zone?
Chances of failing in the new role?
Relocating to a new country/city?
Could this be short-term? Changing jobs too often?
Employment contract? Notice period?
Is your gut sounding an alarm? * Answering No means low risk, high score ** Taking no action also has its own risk
Unfortunately, it is only through some discomfort that we learn and grow. After 5.5 supercalifragilisticexpialidocious years at Zycus, I’ve decided to move on to explore the B2C side of the product world.
I am thankful to Satish & Nirav for sensing my product acumen, and on-boarding me to product management. A big thanks to Sachin & Bikash for being the fantastic managers they’ve been. They entrusted me to lead one of Zycus’ prodigious product line – in terms of challenge, breadth, depth, team, revenue – from concept-to-revenue, and offered exposure and opportunities like never before.
All along, I’ve had the privilege to work with nimble & energetic Zycats – all possessing the right attitude. In 2011, Zycus ushered me to lead product owners; I see them all as my career accelerators. Together with them, my 60-member development team (of teams), lead by Shekhar, has been the top-most reason for my all my success and accolades. I wish to thank all of you, You rock! I am convinced that I’m leaving the product with virtuosos, and wish to see the product line – so dear to my heart – continue to delight users.
The last time I redesigned (not updated) my resume was 2009. Since then, my understanding of ease-of-use, information architecture & win-loss has grown several fold. Late last year I realized that my resume looks archaic and needs a revamp.
The need was to create something that was:
information rich yet not cluttered
comprehensible yet not funky
likely to get past through the recruiter’s clutter.
Several opinions & tweaks later, I finally published a release candidate that I wanted to share. Yes, sharing definitely looses the competitive advantage at a PM opening, but what use is creativity that’s kept to yourself. I hope this bit on the design rationale helps all.
The importance of Page 1
It’s a no-brainer how crucial the first page is to recruiters, considering their daily swim in the resume swarm. The key was to summarize everything that mattered to them on Page 1, while deferring details to following pages. More importantly, it also acts as a printable summary Continue reading 1-page resume that says it all→
Today my dad bought the first set of mangoes this season. If asked to relate a couple of things to May, my answer would be mangoes, and ever since I started working: appraisals & attrition. While material – screenshot showing the baseline version on tissue – dates back to 2009, this post has remained queued for several months. Just like mangoes taste best in May, a post on choosing jobs has to wait for its own season to deliver maximum value. With appraisals around the corner and attrition already kicking-in, I thought this could help those switching to resolve their dilemma between their current job and offers in hand!
Just to set the expectations right, this is a simple decision matrix that allows you to weigh options against a few well-defined criteria.
Spam is unavoidable, but sometimes its interesting. One such mailer I bumped into was a site called mumbex.com that provides fake experience letters. I’m not linking because I don’t want to send traffic to something illegitimate, but I’m sure most of you will still take the pains to key it in & have a look. For such people I have embedded a tracker that will report your details to NASSCOM. For other obedient ones, here are some highlights from their website:
‘Our expertise‘ .. ‘Till date we gave certificates to 5000 candidates’ .. ‘Most of them are in middle management level in India and overseas’ .. ‘No Background verification failed till date’.. ‘Most of our customers came through referrals of our satisfied customers’
‘We are here to provide you the total certificates, id cards and everything’.. ‘Just have a bit confidence in the technology you are keeping the experience’..
‘Companies know this Fact‘ .. ‘Almost all the companies know that 50 to 60 % of the staff kept fake experience in their resume’ .. ‘But they never think of this during the boom time, because they are in deadly need of employees who at least have confidence in their technology’..
The business idea seems strong from a monetization perspective, but its an epic ethical fail when offered as a service. They have loudly spoken about how companies compromise credibility in view of the demand and how resumes are shared with clients. This service helps whoever it does, but it destroys the credibility of every Indian IT company & employee. And I’m writing because I feel affected.
As discussed in my previous post about responsibilities of a product manager, product management continues to remain the less spoken about profiles in the otherwise large Indian IT industry. With the growing number of products in the Indian webspace, the demand for experienced PMs is likely to peak in 2012-13. But there’s still time! For now, Product management in India is less concrete (in terms of the role), and holds huge potential as precisely summarized by Gopal Shenoy here. That post echoes the thoughts of quite a few Indian product managers. Here are my comments to few of the points:
@ #2:They manage products sold in the US
This seems quite obvious given the fact that a lot of product companies in India are either outsourced product development or developing enterprise products for global top companies and US/Europe are their biggest markets. Thus, most young PMs there will report to account managers or senior PMs posted on-site. Having said this, one cannot ignore the outburst of internet product companies catering to the local market, mainly into eCommerce & social.
@ #3: Too many titles for the same profile
Totally agree! Quite a few of us are left out of the product management mainstream because of varying titles conferred upon us: program managers, business analysts, software consultants, and what not. But no matter what how they’re referred to, they’re all doing the same thing – and some don’t even know they’re developing products (more on this, coming soon).
@ #4:Engineering & Proj Mgmt folks moving into Prod Mgmt
There’s more to it. Not just development folks, but there are freshers, folks from quality and even some from business who are keen to move in. Those who have understood the challenge & responsibility want to get at it on account of passion & enthusiasm, and not just a career ladder or salary booster.
@ #5: “They are confident, fearless and hungry“
When I think of Gopal saying that to me, my reaction is not other than that of crayon Shin Chan when he says, ‘Don’t praise me so much’ (which sounds funnier in the Hindi dubbing when he says, ‘Itni taarif bhi mat karo!‘) But that goes without saying for all of us – we are all way too passionate about our products!
Today is a day in my life when I have taken a very tough call: something that is likely to shape my future. I have resigned from my post at L&T Infotech and decided to move on. L&T has been my first employer, and as always, the first cut is the deepest. The couple of things that can make you feel better in such parting is that ‘nature aborts vacuum’ and that ‘the organization is always bigger than the employee’. Continue reading Goodbye L&T→