Product Decoded: Interview with Michael Sippey, VP Product, Medium

Product Decoded Season 1 | Episode 5

Gibson Biddle
Spero Ventures
3 min readMay 24, 2018


Michael Sippey, Vice President of Product at Medium, shares his passion for tapping into the zeitgeist of what customers love — in his words, “to catch magic in a bottle” — to create world-class products. He is the former VP of Product at Twitter and is unique in that he is both a starter and a builder and has built both consumer and enterprise products.

Michael Sippey (photo credit: Christopher Michel)

In the fifth episode of the Product Decoded podcast, I am once again the host! It’s great fun for me because I compare notes often with Michael and he even taught a class with me at Stanford. We also share a unique background: we are both English majors. The two of us are happily reunited for this podcast, though we forgot to take a picture to prove it!

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear “dirt,” juicy insight, and a few “universal theories” from Michael:

  • How to decide “enough is enough” when banging your head against a wall at a startup.
  • What’s different — and the same — about building consumer and enterprise products.
  • The positive and negative surprises Michael has seen as social media grew from its infancy, to what we see today. (Michael was one of the world’s first bloggers.)
  • His unique definition of a product manager’s job, and beyond this, his “universal theory of work.”
  • His unique superpowers as a product leader, some of the “wicked hard decisions” he made at Twitter, including a few of his high-stake mistakes.
  • How Medium plans to dent the universe as the platform for written word over the next decade.
  • His “Universal Theory on Podcasting” and why creative folks engage in the format.
Episode 5 of Product Decoded
On the left, Michael Sippey; to the right, Gibson Biddle

I’d also love it if you could give feedback on the podcast. The link takes you to Survey Monkey and only takes one minute.



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Product Decoded is produced by Spero Ventures and Product Leader Summit.

Spero Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm that is helping entrepreneurs build a future that belongs to everyone. Subscribe to our monthly Spero Ventures Insights newsletter here.

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Gibson Biddle
Spero Ventures

Former VP/CPO at Netflix/Chegg. Now speaker, teacher, & workshop host. Learn more here: or here: