Tell me about a time you delivered a solution customers didn’t know they needed (or wanted)

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Note: as I’m currently evaluating and interviewing for product manager opportunities, I’m publishing many answers to the product, behavioral, business, and life questions I’m researching/practicing publicly rather than keep them private in a Google doc. Tell me about a time you delivered a solution customers didn’t know they needed (or wanted) While running the Zillow API program, I constantly heard from agents and brokers that it was too difficult to add our data to their websites. All the customers asked me “can you integrate it for me?”. That led to the realization a plugin that created city, zip, and neighborhood pages would increase adoption. That led to the creation of the local market explorer, which increased adoption by a factor of at least … Continue reading

Posted In: Zillow

When have you gone above and beyond for a customer?

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Note: as I’m currently evaluating and interviewing for product manager opportunities, I’m publishing many answers to the product, behavioral, business, and life questions I’m researching/practicing publicly rather than keep them private in a Google doc. When have you gone above and beyond for a customer? I go above and beyond each and every day for readers of Geek Estate Blog. I keep on sharing my perspective on the industry, responding to every email from readers, and helping founders find the appropriate connections to progress their companies — even though I don’t make any money from that. I do it because I love real estate technology, care about making real estate a better experience for consumers, and helping those working to … Continue reading

Tell me About Horizon…

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Note: as I’m currently evaluating and interviewing for product manager opportunities, I’m publishing many answers to the product, behavioral, business, and life questions I’m researching/practicing publicly rather than keep them private in a Google doc. Tell me about starting & building Horizon Horizon is an application that helps people find places to stay with their trusted network. The inspiration came from several years of travel and the realization that the barrier to travel is fear, not time & money. The problem our product solves is trust, enabling travelers to know they are staying with a trusted connection either a friend or community they belong to can vouch for. It also hits on affordability — offering a cheaper way to travel than AirBnB, … Continue reading

Posted In: Travel

Tell me About Your Time at Zillow

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Note: as I’m currently evaluating and interviewing for product manager opportunities, I’m publishing many answers to the product, behavioral, business, and life questions I’m researching/practicing publicly rather than keep them private in a Google doc. Tell me about your time at Zillow An internship at Zillow (building the neighborhood database using ESRI’s ArcView product) was my first job after graduating from the University of Washington in 2005. I was promoted several times during the course of my employment there, ending as a business development lead. After almost 5 years, I wanted a new professional challenge. I was 27 and had always wanted to travel the world. I thought, “why not now?” So I did — and it turned out to … Continue reading

Posted In: Life

How do you determine customer pain points?

Note: as I’m currently evaluating and interviewing for product manager opportunities, I’m publishing many answers to the product, behavioral, business, and life questions I’m researching/practicing publicly rather than keep them private in a Google doc. How do you determine customer pain points? How do you know if you’re addressing them? Ask — over and over and over. Inquire constantly as to “why” they are taking a specific action. Once you think you are at the end of the road, ask why again. In short, figuring out customer pain points requires an intense curiosity — and a lot of time to have lots of conversations. The best indicator of whether you’ve solved a pain point is if a product gets shared among friends — … Continue reading

Posted In: Product

Tell me about a time auditing metrics led to a new realization

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Note: as I’m currently evaluating and interviewing for product manager opportunities, I’m publishing many answers to the product, behavioral, business, and life questions I’m researching/practicing publicly rather than keep them private in a Google doc. Tell me about a time when auditing led to a new realization. Auditing Horizon’s user database led to realizing our iOS app had been switched to a new version of Facebook’s graph API as a result of an update to the Facebook SDK. At Zillow, auditing customer feedback data (overlaid on a map using ESRI’s ArcView program) resulted in discovery of mistakes originating from re-ordering columns of data. The result was ZIP codes showing the wrong color code (I was building a heatmap). Those mistakes were then corrected … Continue reading

Posted In: Product

If your direct manager was instructing you to do something you disagreed with, how would you handle it?

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Note: as I’m currently evaluating and interviewing for product manager opportunities, I’m publishing many answers to the product, behavioral, business, and life questions I’m researching/practicing publicly rather than keep them private in a Google doc. If your direct manager was instructing you to do something you disagreed with, how would you handle it? I believe you can break this down into two categories: Ethical: If it’s an ethics issue, then I believe it’s in the employees right to refuse to follow a managers instructions. For example, say your manager asks you to illegally steal trade secrets from your competitor or to outright lie about the timeline to a client/customer. Strategy / Execution: If instructions are related to execution of a business or product strategy you don’t … Continue reading

Posted In: Business