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.

Walk me through your background

The Maker / Creative

My father and both grandfathers instilled a strong sense of problem solving and making at a very early age.

When most people break a chair, the first reaction is “let’s go buy a new one”. Not in my family. When a chair breaks, you figure out how to fix it — ideally, with tools and spare parts you have on hand.

I grew up creating and fixing all types of things with my hands. I’ve ripped apart car engines, doors, and axles. Rebuilt houses. Remodeled porches. Built and repaired computers. Built a deck. I’ve designed and built a television stand as a christmas gift. Diagnosed and fixed RC cars, as well as toy tonka trucks.

When I walk into a house, I often immediately start thinking about what’s behind the walls and how the structure was erected. When I look at a computer, I start wondering how the motherboard, hard drive, memory, and screen are connected. When I push the pedal down in a car, I’m thinking about what levers and sensors are used to make the car accelerate.

My love of solving problems as a kid led me to the technology of our generation — computers.

Did I buy a fully working computer? Of course not. In middle school, I saved my money — and pieced together a motherboard, monitor, graphics card, hard drive, RAM, and disk drives and built my own instead. I played with 2D & 3D animation software in the late 1990’s. Later, the fascination with computers led me to learn HTML/CSS in order to build web pages (& web businesses).

Upon completion of high school, I entered college with a dream of being a computer engineer. After realizing I didn’t want math and physics to be my life — nor did I want be stuck behind a screen with little human interaction — I switched degrees from computer science to construction management before finally settling on business administration. That turned out to be a fantastic decision, as it gave me an outlet to think strategically/critically from a business perspective and enabled me to do that within the startup technology environment.

The entrepreneur

From my earliest days of selling lemonade, selling candy in middle school, mowing lawns, and demolishing houses — I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I believe a big part of that is the sense of independence I grew up with as the youngest child of a single mother.

Wrap Up

Once I figured out what “tech startups” were my senior year of college, I immediately knew that’s where I wanted to land career wise. The tech world moved at lightning speed compared to the traditional corporate world. Tim Reha, whom I interned for spring of 2005, helped me navigate the startup waters following my return from Europe in the fall of 2005 — and within a month helped me secure a job at Zillow.

The rest (aka my professional career), is history.


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