Jade Feng

Mick Liubinskas
Jul 3 · 9 min read

A wonderful chat to Jade about her life in tech.

Highlights;

  1. How you hack, hustle and earn your way into a great job.
  2. The differences of a startup and bigger companies.
  3. What a product manager role really means.

Enjoy;

Jade, thanks for your support of She’s Building A Robot

Here is the YouTube Transcript… Let me know if you find this useful;

00:01

everybody Mick lubinskas here from she’s building a robot I’m coming to you

00:04

from an Airbnb which was the site of a functional e.com

00:08

off-site in the last couple of days that they have now all cleared off and I am

00:13

here finishing the coffee off and very happily chatting to a friend of mine who

00:19

I’ve known for a number of years now Jade Fang so Jade has wonderfully put in

00:27

a good g’day there but she is whilst whilst we’re both in the Bay Area we are

00:32

unfortunately separated by the 280 I mean we Jade’s in the city J don’t wanna

00:39

cast your mind back not too far back because you’re significantly younger

00:42

than I am but how did you what was your first introduction to computers and

00:46

programming yeah um so go in Sydney I went to LA to meet girls and pretty much

00:55

thought I was going to be in finance and business my entire life and so I kind of

01:02

went that up that path that’s what u.s. tell you how I got into tech I pretty

01:10

much just had a couple of mentors like Nick here who I met in the scene got

01:15

myself out there and just learn more about the industry and it’s it’s pretty

01:21

much an experience of a bias for action that has gotten me to where I am today

01:28

where I’m a product manager at a company could often osnome industry so the what

01:36

made you want to get out there in the first place like you did were you

01:40

curious about what computers can do we accuse of that programming cuz you’ve

01:44

you’ve done a good batch of hacking and design and hustling like you’ve you had

01:50

a few tried a few startups and so you’ve got a good breath and I really want I

01:56

want to really get to how that breath helps you as a product manager but what

02:00

was it was it there what do you remember the first thing was there a product that

02:04

expired you or I think I’ve always been interested in understanding how

02:09

different products go and how companies built and grow and the

02:14

problems and challenges they face as they go to different stages of their

02:18

life cycle so from when I was like I setup a very small company of like five

02:25

five people like those are very different problems to what I’m dealing

02:30

with now and also where I own three products with like millions of hundreds

02:36

of millions of users so what interests me I think I’m going

02:45

from there to to where I am today and intent is that the impact of scale the

02:50

scale of impacts that you can achieve it have compared to more traditional

02:56

businesses is a magnitude more exciting and faster moving of course it also

03:02

comes in challenges of course can you tell us

03:05

you mentioned the company were for octa can you give us the quick pitch what is

03:10

what is off today yeah I’m authorized a cyber security company so we do Identity

03:15

and Access Management so it’s two threads in which we can help our

03:19

customers one thread is on single sign-on so as employee your wife’s

03:27

company LinkedIn she uses up to every morning to sign in and not have to and

03:32

like access to all her applications not to remember her password

03:37

but the other side of it is against me as a service so the same way you might

03:43

be stripe or Braintree to manage payments if you’re if you’re

03:47

facilitating payments when your e-commerce website alter has visibility

03:53

has api’s and help you manage will use it to prevent it from use I’m getting

03:57

breached your darling getting stolen so that’s kind of where up to do ya I hope

04:07

early-stage tech companies and I worked with one company that had octa and I had

04:13

a single sign-on and I got access to all the systems at once where it’s harder

04:17

for early-stage companies I think you know akhter is a really good product but

04:21

it’s you’ve obviously got to watch your budget

04:25

if you don’t have it then you’ve got to be able to see you got to go sign on to

04:28

ten different systems and remember all those things well we actually do have

04:31

two startups which gives a discounted or I heavily discounted almost free for

04:37

smaller smaller companies I think the time to implement something like opto is

04:43

when you’re small because as at that stage we’re like it’s a lot easier to

04:48

lose track of all the applications you have and so making place of

04:51

vulnerability and you have consciousness is coming in and out where’d our leakage

04:55

and IP getting last as a rule your concern and tell me about your role like

05:01

what’s what’s life like as a product manager at a company like okay like

05:06

what’s one of the challenges and and fun things you get to do with overweight yes

05:14

is for sweet questions so our team of engineers about 10 doctor and we my role

05:39

is to have the vision and drive a vision of also be the point of contact and the

05:45

lead for where my product will go and will grow and which focus will be so

05:52

John you mentioned the doctor has sort of two main functions but there are

05:58

multiple product managers and so what’s the breakdown about what’s the scope of

06:03

a product like what makes men is roughly the doctor have like 10 15 we have three

06:16

to four hundred engineers so to answer your question on ways of scope of a

06:23

product manager and what we do think about Facebook and Facebook Messenger

06:30

app that you might use you might have seen a redesign on the facebook

06:34

Messenger half in the last couple of Oh so we’re like the look and film is

06:40

different and where the buttons have moved around and maybe new functionality

06:45

games have been integrated all of those so there’s all of those decisions on

06:51

what you’ve seen in that product has been made by one or many product

06:55

managers from work together to drive the product forward to what they want to be

07:00

so often super biometric either it be user gross you don’t use of attention

07:05

user satisfaction but what you all see Israel all aligning around the common

07:11

vision as to whether want Facebook or messenger to it to be and then build

07:17

these particular features hopefully with data to make us their users happier more

07:24

successful so how much I provided product managers group that’s not very

07:30

it really depends on the company how many pregnant is they have or how

07:37

product is designed so I own adults and user experiences so I own how n users

07:45

touching interface with opto in this in this in the workplace so your wife uses

07:51

a lot of the browser extension of the plugin she probably also uses the akhter

07:56

dashboard which is the web interface and if she wants to SSO it single sign-on on

08:01

prefer to use as optimal so those are the products that might earrings but

08:08

other teams are now doctor and things like authentication pipeline or like a

08:15

multi-factor authentication and a developer experience

08:20

there’s and it’s kind of our product manager not leadership to giving up the

08:30

the products and the areas and people’s strengths and and what makes most sense

08:36

for the company and its priorities fantastic woody what’s the hardest thing

08:41

about your job

08:48

that’s a really good question what I love and what is also the hottest thing

08:57

about my job is that you’ll always grow your there’s always you’re always are

09:05

moving and learning more skills so I think that’s being that’s being most

09:14

hiring and also really exciting so the other thing is like always remembering

09:22

to be grounded in being customer best and user driven it’s easy to forget who

09:30

or why you’re building something when you’re not grounded in these core and

09:33

the core principles of your little user in the problem yep really interesting

09:40

and I know your your role involves you interacting with a lot of people it’s

09:44

very multifunctional is that does they get complex is it hard to do with people

09:50

than the machines

09:54

is it hard to deal with people in machines well I definitely can’t operate

10:00

in a factory so I mean yes or no whether reflective of the role of a manager you

10:12

have a design I love your engineering manager your engineers you have custom

10:17

success you have support you have the customers themselves

10:21

and in the sense of an yippee for my my team I like B to B to C so that having

10:28

someone to buy the product their end users the ones that use our product so

10:34

there are a lot of stakeholders involved in the role of

10:37

management and honestly you don’t have any authority over them so it’s more a

10:42

way of communication telling a story or like using data to using data to to

10:54

prove a point or to to justify a point so I prefer working with people because

11:03

it’s exciting to see I’ve been passionate and salute people work after

11:10

some of the smallest I’ve ever met so that’s been this I would that stage

11:18

easier Hana but it’s really faced with different challenges and priorities

11:22

yeah that’s great I think that’s one of the yeah the very interesting parts of

11:26

the whole role and just to finish off if there’s a teenage girl out there who’s

11:32

red she’s building a robot and she’s sort of curious about the world of

11:35

technology and what she could do you have any any tips or feedback or advice

11:40

for somebody making their first steps into the world of tech yeah learn how to

11:50

code I really believe that cobertura C is the next phase of just like a hundred

11:58

years ago learning to be the right was considered crazy

12:04

population but now is such a integral integral skill that you learn as a child

12:09

I really believe that taking the first foray into imagine one line of code will

12:15

set you up for success in the future and I think it’s being a real myth that

12:24

coding is coding is unattainable out of reach on this you are extremely

12:32

privileged to have to go to computer science for an undergrad I studied

12:37

business and I taught myself how to code and you can do that through a million

12:41

online resources like code Academy or tree house or you know me anything you

12:46

can find online just google it friend yeah that’s awesome

12:51

thank you so much for sharing your story and it’s great to have getting to know

12:57

you over the last couple of years and really proud of what you’re doing there

13:00

a doctor and that for supporting she’s building a robot my crazy idea for a

13:06

book so inspires you to run it or thanks for asking there’s a few things I’ve

13:16

always been really really aware of the massive gap certainly in tech between

13:23

the participation of men and women so I’ve always been very very supportive of

13:28

that and then I having two daughters just getting books with with strong

13:34

women strong female characters and was really hard it was felt like I was 80%

13:39

maybe even 90% male and then I was at South by Southwest about two years ago I

13:45

happened to be chatting to five women roboticists and they were all just

13:50

telling me how their sharing stories about how their teenage years were sort

13:54

of tough because being interested in tech wasn’t socially acceptable either

13:59

amongst their friends or their families and I’ve always loved writing so it’s

14:03

like you know what I’m gonna just start it and see what happens and then a year

14:08

later I had this book so yeah I look I don’t think it’s going to solve all the

14:13

problems but hopefully if it inspires even one young girl to get excited about

14:18

the world of technology then I’d be really really really happy it’s awesome

14:23

thanks Jade again I really really appreciate your support and hopefully

14:27

see you soon in person considering we live so close to each other but busy

14:33

lives huh and again thank you so much get support and I’ll talk to you soon

She’s Building A Robot

A book to inspire girls to get excited about technology. http://shesbuildingarobot.com/

Mick Liubinskas

Written by

Product Focus for tech companies in San Francisco.

She’s Building A Robot

A book to inspire girls to get excited about technology. http://shesbuildingarobot.com/