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On a quest to build products that customers love. Have survived both the startup life and the corporate product career with tales behindaproduct.com to tell

There are moments when I think the product management career is too ambiguous. And navigating it can be a lonely journey.

Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

Without product managers, a company will not collapse right away (think software companies without software engineers to see the contrast). It is not easy to pinpoint the value they bring to the table.

Also, what product managers experience varies so widely among companies that it can be hard to cross-reference.

For the past years, I have been navigating the product management career through trials and errors. …


My curiosity on a Google search result prompted me to test out an idea with a 50-dollar budget

Image by author

How it began

Out of curiosity, I googled “books about Vietnam” (in English) and was (un)surprised to see that almost all search results are about the Vietnam War. In addition, most of them were written by authors from the West.

This got me thinking. There is so much more about Vietnam than the Vietnam War, which ended more than 40 years ago. There are plenty of literary works depicting different aspects of Vietnam written by Vietnamese authors.

For example, Kaleidoscope by Nguyen Nhat Anh is a comedic serial novel about the student life of three Vietnamese teenagers.

The problem is they are written…


Zalo is hands down the most popular messaging app in Vietnam with more than 100 million users.

It can be said that Zalo in Vietnam is like WeChat in China, KakaoTalk in South Korea, and LINE in Thailand.

Vietnamese users have no lack of access to alternatives like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber. Then what makes Zalo so great?

Here are 4 creative features that Zalo has pulled off.

Smart suggestions for stickers

Zalo’s stickers are cute. But that is not what makes it special. I am talking about a small feature that goes a long way in improving the sticker usage experience.

When…


The product manager job market in Southeast Asia is booming, but there is a caveat: many positions require Chinese proficiency.

The Great Wall of China (Photo by David Veksler on Unsplash)

How did we get here?

For fast-growing internet businesses in the region, it is the norm to have product teams split among different parts of Asia, with China being many companies’ go-to destination for product development centers. Meanwhile, the product managers (PM) hub is often in Southeast Asia in order to maintain close proximity to the users.

There are many reasons why having development teams in China makes sense. For Chinese product companies expanding overseas, the core product team is naturally based in China.

For…


It is hard to evaluate a person’s role fit from an hour-long conversation, but hiring managers can make it count by adding these 4 questions to your interviews.

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

Many people think that product manager job interviews are only taxing for candidates. Truth be told, interviewers have it hard, too.

While making sense of the interviewees’ answers, they have to evaluate whether the answers demonstrate the qualities required for the job, and decide on follow-up questions.

In order to make the product management interview more effective, consider the following questions that could help both the candidate and yourself understand each other…


In this post, I would like to share with you a few categories of software product managers you may consider for your career.

Photo by JOHN TOWNER on Unsplash

Previously, we talked about the difference in expectations for a senior versus a junior product manager (PM), and the need to deepen your expertise in an area.

Before deciding on which area you would like to specialise in, let us take a look at the different types of product manager roles available.

1. Business vs Technical PM

The first time I heard of this concept while talking to a recruiter, my response was: “Doesn’t every product manager need to have a good…


Product manager and designer are Captain America and Iron Man in their respective domains; and there are bound to be clashes.

How do product managers and designers work together?

In a software product, product managers study the pain points of the target users. They then define what the product comprises, and how it will solve the users’ problems.

This can be expressed as user stories and/or functional requirements, organised in lists and sketches.

Most of the product’s value is delivered to the users via the interface, especially when it comes to consumer products.

If you are making purchases on an e-commerce app, the platform’s variety of good and…


1. What is the problem the product is trying to solve?

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

As much as a product management job interview is meant to assess a candidate’s capabilities, it is also a chance for the candidate to assess if this product team/company is suitable. Be it an interview for an internal transfer or an external job opportunity, here are my favourite questions to ask the hiring manager.

1. What is the problem the product is trying to solve?

Granted, you should have done as much research on the product as possible before showing up at the interview. Still, for early-stage teams that are starting out, this is a perfectly okay question to ask because it is often hard to find their information online.

For…


Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

As I am writing these lines, Joe Biden has just been projected to be the 46th President of the United States. It came as a surprise to many that this year’s election was neck-to-neck. Almost half of the country still voted for Trump. The fact of the matter is that his supporters give him rock solid support.

Any businesses out there will envy this level of brand loyalty, where almost half the “market” continuously and passionately prefer the Trump’s brand of presidency over other competitors’.

Looking from a commercial product perspective, we will be able to gain some insights into…


As many of the product management skillsets are honed on the job, one of the most common questions I came across is: Where is the best place to learn how to build a product?

Some of my friends are strong believers of the “just do it” attitude: starting a company or joining an early-stage start-up is the best way to learn. Some, on the other hand, favour joining established product companies to learn the best practices.

Having dabbled in tech start-ups that were in the midst of serious soul-searching and companies that have proven product track records, I had a…

Leevey

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