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Hello, I am a bit late in writing this post. I think it’s safe to say 2020 has been a year of change, some planned, some not so much. This week I finally have some time to reflect on the year so far.

Two months ago, after my return from maternity leave and at the beginning of shelter in place in SF, I left my job on Google Maps Platform and started a new job as head of product for Nest. I said I would do something that scares me in 2020 and I think this qualifies.

First, thank you Google Maps Platform!

I learned a lot on this team and here are some my favorites lessons from my 3 years on Google Maps Platform. The biggest takeaway is how to make great decisions as a team and how to collaborate across boundaries real or perceived. I am finding that these lessons are more important than ever as we are all stepping out of what was normal and work from home. Building trust, relationships, and making decisions over video conferencing is hard and tiring. So I hope these lessons help everyone a little bit. …

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Dear Readers,

I know I’ve been a little quiet this year. I accepted a new job in February and I’ve been busy preparing for it ever since. This is a job I’ve wanted my whole life, but also one I’m also terrified of.

Here’s the job description:

You will be responsible for creating and nurturing something new and unique in the world. This will truly be a zero to 1 challenge and product market fit will take 20+ years. …

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I was lucky enough to have the luxury of almost 3 weeks unplugged from work. This means pilates/spin/yoga most days, all the chores I’ve been meaning to do (marie kondoing my closets), lots of cooking, a trip to Europe with my husband, and binge watched Game of Thrones. This time has also given me space to reflect about what I hope for in 2019.

I’ve been thinking about how we help each other. Most of my posts try to distill something complex that took me years to learn into a 3–5 min story with actionable takeaways. …

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I remember being an APM at Google, sitting in my first product review and presenting my first PRD (product requirements doc). I was so nervous. I don’t remember the exact feedback but I remember it didn’t go well… Luckily, I had great partners on the design and engineering side who helped me get better at thinking through product requirements and mentors who taught me how to do a better job communicating the why. Throughout the years, I’ve gone from presenting the PRDs to mostly reviewing the PRDs and I’ve noticed that feedback fall into two main types.

Type 1: Critical and…

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If this emoji represents how you feel about this magical time of the year, you’re not alone. Once a year in September, October, the yearly planning cycle collides with performance reviews and promotion conversations. To say it’s stressful would be an understatement. Here are a few tips from me dealing with this magical time of the year for over a decade :).

1) Find time to think

Whether it’s taking time to do self reflection or give thoughtful feedback or to reflect on longer term product strategy for the next year, you need time. We go through a big chunk of life in an interrupt driven state with emails, slacks, and meetings. To do a great job with a self assessment or peer reviews or vision/strategy doc for the next year, you need big chunks of uninterrupted time. …

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I‘ve been a product manager for over 12 years. I love my job and I’ve been fortunate in my career. Sure there were times when I felt I didn’t fit in and I believe unconscious bias is a real problem. But I never felt like I held back. I spoke up in meetings. I negotiated my salaries. I’ve had great relationships with my mentors and engineering partners (mostly men) throughout my career.

10 months ago, I joined a team where 80% of my reporting chain up and down are women and many of the key leaders I partner with including engineering are women. …

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Dear 2017,

Goodbye and thank you. You were memorable. You saw me start a business (I loved invoicing!), shut down that business, commit to a new job, marriage, and a new home. …

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About 10 years ago, I was talking to another APM at Google. He said, “I could never work on a product that didn’t make money.” I laughed and said: “I could never work on a product that’s all about money.” Early in my career, money was a dirty word. I didn’t wanted to pervert my product intuitions by introducing monetization goals. In consumer products adding monetization often meant introducing ads or paywalls, affecting the user experience.

My friend stuck to his promise and is now a successful VC focused on SaaS startups. As for me, I moved to the “dark” side about 4 months ago, joining the Google Maps team to work on the enterprise products. After 12 years of working on consumer products, my success metric just changed from engagement to revenue. What changed? After two years of startup life, I developed a desire to learn how to build and run a business. …

Spoiler Alert: I’m joining Google’s Geo team to help build their platform.

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I gave some advice about a year ago - career decisions are not life or death. However, regarding my career, I’ve had trouble following my own advice. …

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One of my side projects this year has been to get comfortable with Machine Learning. …

About

Rose Yao

I spent the last 12 years building products mostly at FB and Google. Also a food, travel, and fitness addict. Follow me @dozenrose or on www.roseyao.com

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