Micro-Interview: Simona Georgieva, Senior Product Manager

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Simona Georgieva is a Senior Product Manager at Smule, Inc., a social singing app. 

The company hails from Silicon Valley, California but also has a 50+ product team in Sofia. They’re also great supporters of the product ecosystem in Bulgaria – helping the ProductTank Sofia Community, reading this newsletter, and organizing their own events. 

In under 500 words, Simona shares: 

  • What she wished he knew before going into product management…
  • Lessons learned from her biggest product fail…
  • Tips on staying updated with the latest in product management…

And more…  

Enjoy!


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“How did you get into product management?”

I was a fresh graduate of my master’s degree in Italy and was eager to come back to Bulgaria. Telenor was the first company I applied for a PM position, and I never looked back. I immediately felt this was the career path for me.

“How do you start your mornings at work?”

A loud round of “Good mornings” to my colleagues and followed by almost every PMs secret weapon – coffee. Followed going through some emails and reading my favorite – Morning Brew.

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

Communication is key. You might not be the greatest at a technical level, but if you know where to look and who to reach out to there wouldn’t be a single thing that could stop you from developing a good and useful product. Often as Product Managers, we’re required to communicate with all sorts of stakeholders and users, from my perspective every PM should have solid soft skills to maneuver with ease through the rough sea of product management.

“What did your biggest product failure teach you?”

The PM world is incredibly dynamic and demanding and it’s inevitable to go through failure. I guess one of my biggest failures was that bigger projects/features require careful consideration of how to be broken down into smaller pieces, which are digestible, testable, and feasible from all perspectives – product, engineering, analytics, and design. In a previous company, we were having little time to develop a key project, that was strategic for the company. We were in such a rush, that the solution we provided was far from being user-friendly simply because we wanted to put all functionalities possible in the first release. Bottom line – break down your priorities and create an MVP of the MVP. 

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

Honestly, I’d circle back to communication. I am lucky enough to work on an internal product now and most of my stakeholders are my users. So, I try to socialize with as many of them as possible – there are truly remarkable individuals with a robust experience, no matter if they are in the Product, Analytics, or Marketing fields. I believe a good PM is a bit of everything – engineer, designer, marketeer, analyst and what a better way to understand it all than learn directly from the source.

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

Recently I got a little obsessed with SVPG (Silicon Valley Product Group). It contains great articles, books, podcasts videos, and real-life examples of successful companies and how they strive in the product world. I learn from people around me and try to find relevant courses that would challenge and teach me new skills. Experiment!

I try to put to a test my new learnings in my day-to-day job.