mother of unicorns. not a hacker. social distancing since 2018.
Vindhya C won 2019's coveted Noonie Award for Product Manager of the Year. Nominations for the 2020 Award for Product Manager of the Year are OPEN UNTIL 12 AUGUST AT NOON! Nominate someone you admire for a Hacker Noon Tech Award and make a PM's day today!
In her role as a product manager, Vindhya helps early-stage startups navigate through their product decisions, mostly in the B2C space. She is deeply interested in NBU, edtech and the fintech space. She enjoys poetry, theatrics, a good book and a random dance routine! She occasionally blogs at interesting publications, check out her blog, here.
In this Q&A, we ask her about product management and get a glimpse into her personal life.
I used to work in a service based industry, far away from the notion of what product management really was, I then discovered, I was a decent computer science engineer but could do something better.
A lot of twists later, I applied to a product company and learnt as much as I can about how it really works. When I thought I was ready, I cold messaged people and landed my first gig!
That's a tough one!
I think the best thing is not to be afraid to say “I dont know”.
I always had this notion that I needed to know a lot of things, I have had super bosses that are extremely brilliant and would still admit when they didnt know something and encouraged that. I think it really helped in me being better, because I can ask all the doubts I have before I make a product decision, so I make the right one!
There are a LOT of resources online, and a LOT of different kinds of product management roles.
Read about all of the career options available to you, find what you exactly want to do, and then reach out to people almost at the top of their game.
I say almost, because say if you randomly wrote to Jack Dorsey your chances of response are low, so find great thinking minds(probably the next generation of Jack’s) within your circle and try to talk to them.
Don’t go empty handed though, since you have your research down, get specific to what you need help with. From interviewing for jobs, to nailing your day to day job, ask & people will respond. Don’t stop at one person though, write to more people so someone responds & take it from there.
I remember being nominated and it was totally out of the blue? Because someone just tagged me on a twitter account & I honestly didnt believe it. It got pretty intense to the weeks leading upto the reveal as to who won it. I least expected to win though, I didnt think people would have even read what I had written.
Gave me a huge boost of confidence, from 2 years ago to not knowing a thing about the role & to now this!! AMAZING.
I consult early-stage startups on Product Management for now, until Covid-19 lets me figure out what I want to do next. Likely, a fulltime job or I might continue consulting. I also think it is of utmost importance to teach younger folks what the “real job” of a product manager is so I also take sessions and hope people can learn a thing or two from it that is useful at their first product job.
I read these newsletters
I follow these podcasts
And I read these websites:
’The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company’. What a book! I am in awe of things Disney has achieved & the lessons Bob Iger shares are gems!
I really enjoy browsing the Learn section and reading/learning a quick lesson.
To get away from work, I absolutely binge on the worst content available on any streaming platform.
I currently help early stage startups in product decisions. I am working with AI/ML, fintech, edutech spaces and it has been very interesting to see their approaches to different customer segments & how different yet similar all their users can be! I also occasionally put up videos on twitter on comical takes about product management & startups.
Occasionally I advice students or people starting out on how to move to product roles & what to look for the first 90 days on the job.
I really wish I read more! I don't think I do justice to all my bookmarks and books on my list at all. I should really prioritize that.
I really want more LGBTQIA representation to be given in all sectors. It is a struggle & I hope sometime in my lifetime, I can mentor/partner with organizations that actively tackle diversity issues and support them as much as I can.
I love great spoken word poetry as much as I love a good product framework! I would love either of the above to be sent to me on Twitter anytime... :)
Where are you living at right now? Bangalore, India.
What is your favourite breakfast meal? A very local cuisine true to my roots in Kerala, India - It's called Appam and egg curry :) :D YUM!
“Find people who will make you better.” — Michelle Obama
Favorite color: Tough. The colors I like keep changing, these days it is Burnt Orange.
Favorite podcast: Invest Like the Best
Favourite tech app you use daily: I love taking pictures so I really love Photoshop Express.
A tool you can’t live without: Google Docs. I write quite a bit and share it around. So this is very vital to how I do my job!
“In these unprecedented times…” People build unprecedented products. Go on, make somebody’s day and nominate the best people and products in the tech industry for a 2020 Noonie, the tech industry’s greenest awards: NOONIES.TECH!