This week on Product Love, I sat down with Jason Mueller, VP of product of Pendo. Jason founded his own startup, MyFit, right out of college. He then moved to San Francisco, where he raised $1 million in funding from New Enterprise Associates (NEA). After that, he became a product manager at Yelp, then at ClearSlide, Brightloom, and eventually, became the VP of product at Uservoice. He’s been a product person his entire career and has dabbled in both the B2B and B2C spaces. We talk a lot about those different segments in the episode, as well as how product has changed over the last decade. We also dive into his experiences at MyFit, which he describes as an early crash course on product.
During the episode, Jason shares his thoughts on product ops, a role we’ve seen rising in popularity. What exactly is product ops? What does that person do day-to-day? How do you hire a great product ops person? Jason answers all of those questions and explains how product ops is the secret weapon for scaling growth. But to even need a product ops role means the craft of product management is changing and getting more complex.
We also talked about how to filter out feedback. Product teams get bombarded with a lot of noise, so how does Jason filter out and categorize feature requests? Finally, we dove into the advice he has for junior PMs and why communication is so important.
1:00 – Jason provides an overview of his background.
1:41 – Jason talks about his early experience in San Francisco.
3:00 – He discusses working on MyFit and how it became an early “crash course” on product management.
5:29 – Depending on the product or industry, there are different ways to think about product-market fit. When you’re a startup, it’s the most critical thing to go deep on.
6:25 – He’s been a product manager for over a decade and has seen the craft evolve. Markets become more dynamic, and now product is the epicenter of these businesses.
7:48 – Jason talks about a few startups that have been huge disruptors to million-dollar industries.
9:20 – How does Jason see product ops changing product management?
12:10 – What’s his advice for junior PMs?
14:30 – People get into startups to make an impact, but there are ways to make that impact a little easier. That’s why he went to Yelp.
15:30 – Jason talks about experimentation in product.
16:44 – What can enterprise PMs learn about experiments from the B2C side? Take a balanced approach.
18:19 – Does product management look different between B2B and B2C companies?
20:57 – We talk about the feedback noise that many product managers drown in. Learn how Jason navigates all that.
24:37 – When users request features, how does Jason distinguish between the features they want and the ones they need? He looks for themes. He unpacks a request into a need, categorizes that need, and then tries to quantify a market opportunity based on this category.
26:45 – We discuss the Superhuman survey and talk about communication at scale.
31:15 – Secret weapon for scaling growth?
34:45 – Interpersonal skills are super important in product.
35:15 – What advice do you have for junior PMs who want to influence others? What collaboration advice do you have for teams?
39:55 – Jason discusses hiring product managers.
42:45 – Jason talks about hiring for product ops.
45:10 – What trends do you see in the product management space?
47:56 – Jason and I talk about the limited attention spans consumers have nowadays, and how products need to be competitive to stay on top of that.
55:00 – What’s your favorite product?
58:13 – Three words to describe yourself.