(110) Best insights from my conversation with Jens Fabian, Head of Products, RevenueCat

What do you look for in a startup before you decide to join it?

  • A startup that you can relate to and understand the need for the problem to be solved.
  • Is this the problem that world want to see being solved?
  • Do I get along with the team?
  • To what extent do I believe that the product might be successful?
  • Who the founders are and what is their approach to build the organization?
  • How much do the founders understand the role and the need for it and does it fit with my understanding of the role?
  • What is the founding team’s vision for the product? Is there a product strategy?

What was your plan for the first 100 days in your organization to set yourself for success?

  • Setting up clear expectations on how does this role fit in the organization.
  • Getting to know the people — both your team and stakeholders. Go on a listening tour with everybody within the first few months.
  • Understand the needs of the stakeholders and perspectives.
  • Understand the motivation and goals of my team and know what drives them.
  • Understand the product itself and make myself familiar with it.
  • To talk to as many customers as possible. It’s so easy to be stuck in your own world and in your own perspective of things and finding them wronged when you talk to customers.
  • Understand the strategy and the product and ideally start influencing it.
  • Understand the processes and structures and start improving them.
  • Starting to get a lay of the land quickly and seeing where I can improve things quickly and where are things that can be improved gradually.
  • I am not a fan of coming up with a big vision for how things should be but rather coming up with whats working and not working today to pick areas of improvement.

How to build trust in the early days of your PM role?

  • Trust is best built by delivering small successes.
  • When you talk to stakeholders, the feeling heard part of it is already a trust building exercise.
  • You build a reputation for making a difference.

How can you find allyship and support for your initiatives in a new organization?

Do you need to be likeable to succeed in any organization?

  • There is no one profile that is best suited to effectively lead and influence in any organization.
  • You have to lead without authority.
  • No matter what kind of personality you are, you definitely need to be willing to interact with people a lot.
  • There are different kinds of likeability — some product leaders are stronger on the personal, social likeability who have a natural inter-personal ability to build rapport and are natural connection builders. I am not that kind.
  • My strength is understanding the different perspectives of different stakeholders and putting myself in their shoes and making sure that as I talk t. To make people see that I heard and listened to them and seen things in their perspective.
  • You can never please everyone but ensure you make them know that you understand what their concerns were.
  • Likeability is in work context — it is about collaborating effectively. Some people do that in a relationship sort of way, some people do that in a transactional sort of way.

What are your product principles?

  1. Seeing prioritisation as a pyramid but not as a single process.

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