In case you missed the webinar last Tuesday, we held an “Ask Me Anything” session with Jesse Owens II, Senior Product Manager at MasterCard.
Jesse joined the broadcast live from his apartment in Harlem, NY to talk about his background and how he got into product management, what he is currently working on and how technical you need to get. And true to the “Ask Me Anything” format, he responded to various questions as they came in from our viewers.
After getting a degree in computer science, Jesse started his career as an engineer. From there he realized he wanted to transition into product management. during this webinar Jesse talks about what he did that ultimately landed him his first job at an education startup in New York City and eventually led him to his current position at MasterCard and his recent product MasterPass by MasterCard.
Here are some highlights from the Q&A session:
On how technical you have to get, he mentions you’re not going deep into coding, although some positions may require it. But you need to be able to understand and know how to have a conversation about design when talking to your team about elements of your application.
He touches on the feasibility of transitioning moving across industries as a product manager, including how to adapt and what skills apply to all industries.
Jesse gives his take on the frustrations of a PM, which for him, as MasterPass is available in 33 countries, It’s more of a challenge of building features that are desired by each target market and being to prioritize those features. He goes on to answer the question, “Does a product manager need product marketing skills?” and explains why the answer to that questions is “yes.”
At 17:22 he gets into what software used inside MasterCard for task management called Rally and AngularJS, standard Java. Then answers one of the big questions: “How do you measure the success of a product.”
He discusses three main non-technical skills you need to succeed:
- Ability to prioritize: taking input from many stakeholders, you need to understand why and where the requests are coming from and how they will impact the overall business, “is this something that can be worked on at a later point in time?”
- Conflict resolution: As you’re collaborating with multiple teams to build products, you need to be able to navigate various types of conversations and be able to improve your processes moving forward. “It’s all about improving team efficiency.”
- Being a great storyteller: “You’ll be surprised on the presentation of your story, it can be instrumental on whether or not it will be built… and telling a very compelling story can get everyone engaged in your idea or your concept.” The idea is to say it in a way that gets everyone on board with your product, and feels as though it’s their idea because “they see the benefit to the business, the product and company overall.”
One viewer asked about the importance of knowing A/B testing and creating wireframes when transitioning into product management. Which he explains why both are critical.
Make sure you listen all the way to the end to hear what kind of music Jesse listens to while he’s getting work done and his advice to aspiring product managers. You can watch the recorded broadcast here:
Want to join our next webinar? We host one at the end of each month. Our next broadcast is on September 27, same time and you pick the location. Register here.
Also, check out July’s webinar here: Webinar Recap: How to Transition to Product Management