Micro-Interview: Zori Nikolova, Co-Founder & CPO

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Zori Nikolova is the product mind behind ViziWealth, a family wealth management platform.

After spending some time abroad (in the UK), he jumped at the opportunity to create something new in Bulgaria.

In under 500 words, Zori shares: 

  • How she starts her mornings…
  • Why it’s a bad idea to build a product in secret…
  • What her sources of learning are…

And more…  

Enjoy!


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“How did you get into product management?”

I started my IT career as a tech writer, and empathy for the end user was a skill I developed in this role. Combined with curiosity about how the product works, and how to map it to user needs, this quickly led me to the need to grow beyond just writing about the product, into taking an active part in its entire lifecycle. My first interview as an aspiring PM was not successful but it gave me insights as to what I needed to learn and improve. So, after some more reading and self-education, I got my chance to step in as a PO. 😊 

“How do you start your mornings at work?”

With a daily meeting with the team, then prioritization of personal backlog. And as I am a morning person, I usually “eat the frog” in the mornings, and spend the afternoons on smaller tasks 😊  

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

A data-driven approach to PM is something that was not really popular back in 2005-2006 when I took the first steps in PM. It makes a huge difference to how you test assumptions and make decisions for the product.  

“What did your biggest product failure teach you?”

Well, you never know if your biggest failure is still not waiting for you ahead 😊 But so far, I’ve learned that ideas need to be discussed and tested as early as possible. Building a product in secret because you think it is the greatest idea of all time and nobody thought of that is really not the way to go. Ideas are worth it when there’s execution, and execution means validation, research, and a lot of hypotheses testing, which cannot happen in the office alone and without involving customers, partners, and mentors.  

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

I strongly believe in on-the-job learning. While there are great books and resources on product management where you can look for inspiration and insights, the best thing that really teaches me is real-life experience. So, I’ve been trying to create opportunities for myself to learn in practice by working on side projects and ideas along the way. With your own projects, you can also experiment a lot, and try different approaches easily.  

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

I try to keep at least 2 unread books on topics related to product management in my digital library, so whenever I have some time, I can quickly pick one and read. Additionally, I have subscribed to and followed a few newsletters, such as SVPG, Product School, and the UX Collective. And of course, a great source of learning is what is being shared in the Product Tank Community 😊