Micro-Interview: Yordan Yordanov, Head of Product

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Yordan Yordanov is the Co-Founder and Head of Product at Worddio – a vocabulary builder app.

He has had several businesses which helped him develop a “hustler” mentality. He brings this trait along with him in everything he does.

In under 500 words, Yordan shares: 

  • The time management method he uses to start his mornings…
  • How to avoid blocking the engineering team…
  • The #1 thing that has helped him shorten the product management learning curve…

And more…  

Enjoy!


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“How did you get into product management?”

I’ve been planning to start working in the IT industry for several years but wasn’t fond of the idea of having to write code. I like talking to people and the rush of running a business, so I decided to do research on the roles in the industry. I was looking for a role that could get the best of both worlds, so Product Management was the right fit for me. While I was at my corporate job, a new interesting project for a FinTech super-app was announced and they needed someone to lead the business requirements. Naturally, I didn’t think twice and took the opportunity and have been working as a Product Manager ever since.

“How do you start your mornings at work?”

I go through my email inbox and Slack messages, then I prepare a to-do list for the day. Usually, if there is a task that requires a high load of mental capacity, I try to do it before noon, because at that time I still have a clear mind. After that, I continue my day starting from the easiest tasks, because that helps me get into the proper mindset or in other words “in the zone”.

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

Well, several things come to my mind:

  • MVPs could almost always be made simpler. Keeping the problem you’re trying to fix on top of your mind helps a lot when stripping down the requirements.
  • Always know what the bigger picture or strategic goal is, otherwise you risk building something suitable only for the short run. Sometimes being “shortsighted” could be beneficial, but most of the time it’s not.
  • Be as specific and detailed as possible when writing user stories. It’s not worth it to risk either getting the team blocked because they can’t make a decision on how to proceed, or delivering a product that is not up to your expectations because the team made a wild guess when working on them.

“What did your biggest product failure teach you?”

You are not your customers. No matter how firm you believe you are, you’re just not. The majority of people have a completely different perspective of the world than yours, so go out there, talk to them and ask a ton of questions.

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

The hustler mentality for sure. I used to run my own business before I went into the corporate world and I’ve always had that urge to make things better, simpler, and faster. I also love talking to people, so spending time with the team and interviewing customers provides valuable insights on both product design and usability, which helps with figuring out how to bring more value.

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

I attend courses, listen to podcasts, and read many books on business management but find talking to colleagues and sharing practical experiences to be most useful. Here’s a list of some of the sources:

  • The mom test, Rob Fitzpatrick (book)
  • Start with Why, Simon Sinek (book)
  • Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim (book)
  • Startup owner’s manual, Steve Blank (book)
  • Masters of Scale, Reid Hoffman (podcast)
  • Lessons from a failed startup, Perry Ogwuche (podcast)