Category Archives: Product

What was your proudest moment in your career? What part did you play in making that happen?

horizon-logo

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. What was your proudest moment in your career? What part did you play in making that happen? Launching Horizon on the app store following 12 months in planning/development — after having already spent 18 months and a considerable amount of my own money ($70k) trying to gain traction for our prior Oh Hey World product concept. I did everything but actually design/code — as well as put up a big chunk of the money.

How to Solve a Complex Technical Problem

horizon-logo

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. What do you do when you need to solve a complex technical problem? The first step is to fully understand the technical problem you’re facing. In Horizon’s case, the largest technical challenge we have is that for users with many friends, friends of friends, and groups on Horizon — the calculations for “counts” are extremely slow because they are checking every single user against their “visibility” field. Those calculations are being done on the fly, rather than loaded from a cache / pre-calculated results table. Further, … Continue reading

How did you vent your ideas and convince leadership?

zillowicon

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 did you vent your ideas and convince leadership? In order to convince leadership that prioritizing editing home facts as the first major post launch feature was our best use of development resources — we put together a case based on customer data. Initially, all our customer feedback went into a single free form contact form and we were given a CSV/excel document with the submissions periodically. We quickly realized that made it difficult to sort through and prioritize what our customers were telling us. We pushed an … Continue reading

What is an Area that is an Opportunity for you to Improve Upon?

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. What is an area that is an opportunity for you to improve upon? It’s not that I can’t do it — but public speaking is an area that I can certainly improve in. I’ve never relished the opportunity to be in front of a video camera or a huge audience. Speaking up when I have knowledge/passion/expertise about a topic of conversation rather than being the center of attention in any setting is more my style.

Give an example of a project that had a change in scope and how did you handle it?

horizon-logo

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. Give an example of a project that had a change in scope and how did you handle it? We designed the initial home screen for Horizon at the end of 2013, with the expectation that we could provide a single user utility of organizing all your own Facebook friends by location. That’s the reason current location was included on the home screen even though the primary use case was searching for a different city with the goal of finding a place to stay within your trusted network … Continue reading

What is the most technical project you worked on? What were the risks? Impact?

horizon-logo

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. What is the most technical project you worked on? What were the risks? Impact? Horizon’s private home sharing ruby on rails platform spanning web, iOS, and Android is the most technical project I’ve worked on. By necessity, I’ve acted as the CTO (directing development, not coding) for stints between engineers. One big risk we’ve faced is user privacy. Our value proposition is sharing a couch, room, or home only within trusted friends/groups — not with total strangers. Therefore, exposing the wrong level of information to the wrong … Continue reading

Give me an example of a time you used customer feedback to drive improvement or innovation.

zillowicon

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. Give me an example of a time you used customer feedback to drive improvement or innovation. After Zillow’s launch in February of 2006, we monitored customer feedback for several months and categorized each piece of feedback into buckets. A very, very large percentage (substitute actual number in job interview) of customer feedback was related to incorrect Zestimates and home facts (which were sourced from public records). Zestimate complaints about accuracy were not surprising (after all, they are estimates not appraisals), but we had no idea public records included so much faulty … Continue reading