Product management is a skill that can be developed over time. Some people might have the instinct to understand products but not everyone can take on the role of a product manager (PM). Balancing user experience, business requirements and technical fine points is no easy task. Critical thinking to understand each aspect of the job, empathy for the user, a distinct sense of what features to add AND not add, and of course, experience in the role are things that contribute to being a good product manager. But so does learning from other product manager’s stories. Understanding another product manger’s challenges, thinking, workflow and journeys is a source of inspiration and highly beneficial for evolving in your own role as a PM.
This is a list of just that. Sources for product people to gain valuable insight into how to build better products and know those who went through the wall before them. Whether you’re a seasoned product manager, a new entrant into the role or just someone who loves products, the podcasts on this list have loads of juice to psych out the product geek in you.
Hosted by Mike Fishbein and produced by Alpha, This is Product Management focuses on a particular topic every week and features guests who share their insightful knowledge and experiences in that field. Past episodes have covered topics such as assessing market viability, handling feature requests, customer experience and ideation. Guests include product people from companies such as Uber, Adobe, Vimeo, as well as experts from institutions such as the US Army, Columbia Business School, and Harvard Business Review. Catch new episodes every Monday at 4.30pm ET.
Inside Intercom brings together people from domains such as product, design thinking, startups and marketing. There’s a wealth of knowledge to be found here with interviews from some of the leading brains and executives in the world of product thinking. In the 60+ episodes released till now, there are lessons to be learned from people at Jawbone, Facebook, Google, Trello, Basecamp, Twitter, Airbnb and of course, Intercom. There’s also panel discussion from Inside Intercom’s World Tour, featuring startup panels in London, New York, Paris etc.
While it is no longer in production, Product Hunt Radio is a still a great archive for product managers to dip into. Before it stopped airing new episodes in July 2016, Product Hunt Radio was hosted by Ryan Hoover, Product Hunt’s founder. Founders, inventors and product people from the startup community came together to “geek out about products”, as they put it very nicely.
A podcast “focused on great products and the people who make them”. This is hosted by Justin Jackson, former product manager at Sprintly. Apart from this podcast and consulting on product marketing for companies, Justin is also the man behind the MegaMaker and Build & Launch podcasts. Common topics on Product People include bootstrapping, independent entrepreneurs, and SaaS products.
a16z podcast(short hand for the long firm name) is produced by Andreessen Horowitz, one of the top venture capitalists firm that provides entrepreneurs with access to experts in innovation, technical skills business development and marketing. In case you don’t know why they are considered on the leading VC firms, consider that they are involved with companies such as Facebook, Airbnb, Asana, BuzzFeed, Mixpanel and Lyft. This also translates to great material on their podcasts which provides insights on trends and practices from the startup world.
LinkedIn co-founder, Reid Hoffman recently launched Masters of Scale to show “how companies grow from zero to a gazillion”. In the first season itself the podcast has some of the who’s who of the industry lined up. Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, was the first guest and talked about building core experiences and taking time to figure out what to scale. The next episode featured Mariam Naficy, founder and CEO of Minted, talking about raising capital for the unexpected minefield of challenges for your startup. An upcoming episode features Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and that’s surely one to watch out for.
Rocketship does podcasts as part of a series as well as independent interviews. Some of the series they have done so far are Growth, Startup Financing, SaaS and the Art of the Product. If you want to quickly sort through their interviews, they’re helpfully categorized under MVP, Product Development, Customer Acquisition etc. There are interviews with people across the depth and breadth of the tech world, featuring top minds from companies like Fedora, todoist, Uber, Microsoft, GitHub and Buffer.
The podcast brings you a weekly take on the “best, worst, most outrageous and interesting stories from the world of entrepreneurship”. It is hosted by Jason Calacanis and other guest experts. One can pick up news, trends and strategies from the world of tech companies in the space of healthcare, transportation, and science. This podcast has been ongoing since 2009, so yes, there is A LOT of wisdom to imbibe here.
Hosted by Chad McAllister, the podcast aims to give insights to product managers to that they can turn into “product masters”. Chad McAllister has worked with a host of product managers and he brings that wealth of experience to this series where he interviews who are currently engaged in the trenches of product management — their experiences, challenges and thoughts on how to build great products.
What’s better than hearing people talk about their startup journeys? Well, going on one yourself. Not literally. But the people at StartUp attempt to take you into the business side of things by talking about what they are working on and the steps and challenges involved. The first season of the podcast chronicled their effort as they tried to break out their own media company, Gimlet. (Spoiler alert: they did alright and Gimlet is now a podcast management and production company behind StartUp). The podcast is in the fifth season now and going strong. As for the people who take you into the startup world, that’s Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.
Think ‘Shark Tank on podcast’. Yeah that’s it. Early-stage startups pitch to real investors for real money. Except it’s not for reality television. It is about capturing the essence of what an entrepreneurial pitch to an investor should be like. The podcast was created and is hosted by Josh Muccio. It was started in 2015 and with over 40 episodes in the first season alone, there’s a considerable repository of entrepreneurial stories to dive into.
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