Rich is a seasoned executive and serial entrepreneur – he has been the ‘product guy’ (as CEO/VP Product) at six startups. With deep technical roots in B2B infrastructure, SaaS and consumer online, Rich combines ‘what-we-can-build’ with ‘what-markets-want’.
He has been relentlessly blogging, speaking, teaching and mentoring on software strategy, product management for two decades. Today he coaches executives, product management teams and agile organizations. He has spoken at BoS Conference before, always to rave reviews, on topics such as the Four Laws of Software Economics, Solving Your Real Roadmapping Questions and, The Art of Software Pricing Demystified.
Rich has three big things he cares a lot about:
- Organizing the product organization.
- Cross-functional leadership.
- Building what users actually need.
He wrote The Art of Product Management and is a voice for the scrappy entrepreneur in all of us.
Hiring a Head of Product
Organizations that don’t have a Head of Product (aka VP Product Management, Chief Product Officer, Director of Products…) have some predictable but less-then-obvious symptoms: narrow focus on engineer/development productivity rather than customer outcomes; underpowered, high-turnover product management teams; deal-specific demands pushing aside planned improvements; vague target audiences; customer benefits misaligned with actual features; and lack of an agreed (realistic!) product strategy. For those of us who’ve stepped into the Head of Product role a dozen times or more, these are clear indications that senior product leadership is missing.
But it’s hard to hire a VP of Product Management or CPO:
- We don’t know what product leaders do, and disagree about what’s most important in a new one
- We write wildly aspirational job descriptions for candidates who will instantly solve all of the company’s problems
- We confuse subject/market expertise with product management/leadership experience. (“Must have someone who deeply understands the subtleties of our unique machine learning model. The product stuff is easy after that.”)
- Search firms bring us Engineering VPs, GMs, branding agency leads, agile coaches…
- Each functional group wants to hire in its own image: Sales wants someone very sales-y, Engineering wants a developer who still codes, Marketing wants a pure-play messaging/positioning expert, Finance wants accurate forecasts. No candidate survives our interview process.
Rich has led B2B/enterprise product management teams at every stage of company evolution, and helped a score of clients hire strong product leaders. This talk will step us through some frequent pitfalls, spotlighting how to find a product executive to sit at the “big kids’ table” with other C-level execs.
You will learn: How to plan ahead of building your product team and how to hire the right head of product.