Preethy Vaidyanathan

AMA: Matterport VP of Product, Preethy Vaidyanathan on Product Management Career Path

April 3 @ 9:00AM PST
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Matterport VP of Product, Preethy Vaidyanathan on Product Management Career Path
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Preethy Vaidyanathan
Preethy Vaidyanathan
Matterport VP of ProductApril 3
If you are already in a Product role, there are common skills that apply across SaaS or non-SaaS products. These include strategic thinking, problem solving, customer and market validation, ability to influence, strong communication and so on. There are a few additional considerations when you are in a Product Management role in a SaaS company: * Strong analytical skills: * There are terms like Monthly Recurring Revenue, Active Users (daily, weekly monthly), Cohort usage and behavioral metrics, Customer health including engagement, growth rate, active revenue per user and churn * Getting familiar with SaaS product KPIs and drivers to improve these metrics will be very valuable * Customer onboarding: * Most SaaS companies are looking for product teams to actively be involved in customer onboarding as typically engagement in the first 30/60/90 days are key drivers for retention and revenue growth * Product Led growth: * The other concept beyond onboarding’s where product surface becomes a self-education platform to drive usage, customer engagement and expansion and retention that drives monthly recurring revenue. * There are popular blogs or podcasts you can follow to learn more about SaaS product management and/or take a course from platforms like reforge who focus more on product-led-growth programs 
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Preethy Vaidyanathan
Preethy Vaidyanathan
Matterport VP of ProductApril 3
'What is a project that you are proud of accomplishing'. I like asking this as one of the first few questions. The reason I like this question is for a few reasons: * When people think of their proudest accomplishment, they typically tend to share more, get into the details organically * By using this question as a jumping off point, you can go deeper into a number of areas like problem-solving, strategic thinking, communication, ability to influence and more * Some examples include how do they proactively think through the different scenarios and plan accordingly, how does the candidate react when there is misalignment, how do they influence other team members, how do they communicate to exec stakeholders, when their assumption does not turn out to be true, how do they work with other team members to accomplish their goal and so on. With this format, I have had the best conversations including when a candidate talked about a difficult situation and how they persevered through the journey and as a result, how they have determined the team culture and environment that they can do their best work and drive business results.
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Preethy Vaidyanathan
Preethy Vaidyanathan
Matterport VP of ProductApril 3
A few key areas include strategic thinking, problem solving, customer and market validation, cross-functional management, analytical and strong communication. These are all broader skills that you can actively employ even in a non-product management role. A few areas to explore as you consider transitioning to product management career: * Develop and actively deploy some of the above skills in your current role * If available, shadow a PM in a project to learn more about the day-to-day * Volunteer within your group to actively partner with your Product team in projects * For example, if you are in sales or customer success, work with the PM who is launching a new product to help train your sales/field teams. If you are in customer support, become the curator of customer and market feedback, synthesize that for your Product team to easily action on 
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How do you manage the 1000 questions and tasks that are shot at you when you are a PM in an early stage startup?
I'm the first PM in a startup that used to be sales led. I'm trying to set up the proper discovery processes, prioritization tactics and strategy, but I find that extremely hard to do as I'm getting carried away in the day-to-day tasks around requests, issues reported and project management.
Preethy Vaidyanathan
Preethy Vaidyanathan
Matterport VP of ProductApril 3
Remember your safety instruction on a flight ‘put your oxygen mask on first, before assisting others’. Its a good rule to use when you are a PM in a start-up, especially because you can actually do more for others. As a PM your oxygen mask equivalent is you are critically aware of your top 3 goals at any given time. Especially in an early stage startup, its important to reassess your top 3 in a monthly or at the very least quarterly basis because it tends to be fast moving and lot of changes as your product, customer and team evolves. Some practical tips to leverage as applicable, * Post your top priorities so that others are aware and can further incentivize them to lend you a hand as well * Actively maintain a publicly available FAQ. One of your goal should be that you minimize answering the same question from multiple people. So by curating a FAQ, you can encourage your team members to check their first before pinging you * Set curated expectation for yourself and your team members for non-urgent questions. You can do weekly office hours, so that you can curate your time spent. As an added bonus, you can also record these sessions and there are great video-to-text conversion tools that can fill up your FAQ portal 
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