Micro-Interview: Vesna Stojanovska, Sr. Product Manager

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Vesna Stojanovska is one of the product minds behind how event organizers and marketers get accurate analytics and insights at Hopin, a platform that provides community experiences for a wide range of organizations including NATO, the UN, Unilever, and others.

Vesna is also an instructor (like yours truly) at the Telerik Academy’s Product Management Course.

In under 500 words, she shares: 

  • How she starts her mornings…
  • What’s her lesson learned from her biggest product failure…
  • What her sources of learning are…

And more…  

Enjoy!


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“How did you get into product management?”

Not by accident. I’ve always been a craft gal, doing something with my hands. My journey started as a software engineer who was asking too many “why” questions in the room. Luck was on my side to join a great company and start building a product from scratch – helping developers to collaborate better and be productive. The “product management” term did not exist at that point in Bulgaria.

“How do you start your mornings at work?”

Mornings are not easy, especially Mondays. As a small ritual, I try to organize my work in context lists (see JTBD). Then juggle with priorities to find the 3 most important and impactful for the day/week for me. It is a win if I focus and crack the top one priority – prior to opening the emails, chats, and the communication flow.  

“What do you know about product management now that you wish you’d known when you first started?”

I wish someone has stressed well enough how important it is to speak with your customers regularly and try to identify and validate early on your biggest risks on the bet you are trying to make with the product. 

“What did your biggest product failure teach you?”

“Do not take it personally – it’s not about you”. It is about the customer, the business, and the value. Constraints are there to teach and make you adaptive. Experiment, iterate, and pivot until you find the spot; if it does not work – let it go.   

“What’s the #1 thing that has helped you shorten your product management learning curve?”

Observation of the better and smarter people in the companies I’ve worked for (not just PMs) – how they do things and communicate.  In case this is not always possible, I read about them in books and follow their blogs.  

  • A book that converted me to the product: Inspired, by Marty Cagan a veteran with a great blog and books.
  • A book that opens eyes of self-development – Atomic Habits, James Clear with the excellent newsletter.

“How do you stay updated on the best practices in product management?”

Primarily by reading blogs/podcasts and being part of wider PM community groups like “Mind the Product” and “Reforge”, where interesting topics and day-to-day challenges are shared. Nowadays, I learn a lot about product prospects from scaleups, engineering, and data blogs related to the topics of my interest. Sharing some of them: