What is similar between Steve Jobs and a person who put three thousand toothpicks in their beard? They wanted to make history. What is different between Steve Jobs and a person who put three thousand toothpicks in their beard? They chose different strategies for achieving it.

Over the course of my career I worked with a number of companies and startups as a PM, advisor or mentor, and was most interested in observing how they make decisions. With small variations, you could broadly identify three main scenarios:


After Microsoft and Google, Scott joined Nutmeg as a Chief Product Officer, and now he is a Product Director at Twitter. We discussed if the technical background is required for Product Managers, what is the difference between Google and small startups, and how to create a good vision and strategy.

About skills for Product Managers

  • When you were in the university, were you focused on your studies or also trying to find entrepreneurship opportunities?

I played in a jazz ensemble and in a marching band; I conducted a pit orchestra for a musical comedy that was written by the students. Those were all great experiences…


Vaibhav used to be a Director of Product and then Vice President at Zynga, and now he is the Head of Growth at Reddit. In the interview he shared some insights into growing your career as a PM, balancing short- and long-term bets, and also developing the right skillset to become a product leader.

About hiring and promoting the right people

  • What’s your take on hiring product managers? What are the things you care about the most?

One of my favorite questions is “what is your favorite product that you use every day”. Another one is “what do you like about it? How would you make it…


AI is the biggest commercial opportunity in today’s economy. What does it mean for us as product managers?

We all use ML-driven products almost every day, and the number of these products will be growing exponentially over the next couple of years. According to Crunchbase, in 2018 there were 5000 startups relying on machine learning for their main and ancillary applications, products, and services. In 2019, just one year later, there have been almost 9000 of them!

ML and, if we go one level higher, AI — coupled with robotics and the Internet of Things — are considered to be…


What makes a great product decision? The answer to this question is like a Holy Grail of product management: it promises success and prosperity but no clear evidence that it exists. In this post I examine the way I think about the path: what has worked for me and helped me grow as a product manager and decision maker.

Let’s go back 50 years. The US is actively involved in the Space Race with the Soviet Union, and NASA starts an ambitious project: developing a spacecraft to land on the Moon. The problem was that no one knows what the…


At the beginning of 2018, I was trying to invent a mechanism to motivate myself to read more. I studied habit formation (this framework by BJ Fogg is actually quite useful). I even made a bet with a friend on who would read more books by the end of the month, and lost as you might have guessed. What I realized as a result of all these manipulations is that no trick or framework is good enough when the book you are reading is boring or irrelevant. So I came up with a few principles:


There is a saying, “The theater begins at the cloakroom”. When you come to the theater, there are a lot of details and nuances that will define your experience well before the performance starts. If the hall is dirty and smelly, the staff are rude, and you have to spend 30 minutes trying to find parking, it doesn’t matter how brilliant the acting and direction are, you’ll be left with a bad impression.

The same goes for your CV: it is the first point of contact between you and your dream company. I have always been surprised when talented product…


Joining a new company is always hard. You know very few people, your email inbox is empty and you are lost in documentation and the new tools you have to explore.

Get these first few weeks wrong and you’ll be left without the solid foundation you need to be successful at your company.

For product managers these first few weeks are even more intense. You are supposed to be “the person with the context”, you are supposed to be at the frontline talking to users about the product and to the team about the users. In the first 30 days, you have none of that.

In my PM career, I have worked at three companies: a large B2C one with 7,000 people; a small B2B startup with 40 people, and now…


Через несколько месяцев будет 3 года, как мы с мужем уехали из Москвы. Уехали изначально не по какой-то причине, а просто чтобы попробовать, посмотреть “а как у них”. И, если честно, чем дальше, тем меньше нам хочется возвращаться.

Все фотографии в статье — из моего и Витиного Instagram.

Нет, тут не все идеально, есть большой набор своих проблем, и порой адаптация проходила очень болезненно. Но в то же время есть ряд преимуществ, которые на данном этапе лично для нас сильно перевешивают все остальное. Хочу поделиться с вами своими наблюдениями: возможно, для кого-то они станут дополнительным стимулом, кого-то, наоборот, отпугнут. …


Один из вопросов, который мне задают чаще всего, — это “а как вы проводите свой день”. В ответ, видимо, ожидается что-то вроде: “ну, сначала стендап, потом 1–1 с техническим менеджером, потом на графички смотрю” и тд. На самом деле, такой ответ (да и вопрос) подразумевает, что человек в корне не понимает, чем он занимается. Поэтому начнем с самых основ:

  • продакт не должен делать аналитику
  • продакт не должен разговаривать с пользователями и проводить глубинки и юзабилити
  • продакт не должен проводить встречи, брейнштормы и 1–1
  • и так далее.

Он может это делать —…

Anna Buldakova

AI/ML Product manager at Facebook (ex-Intercom, ex-Yandex).

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store