The Commons Digest (10/19/2022)

The COmmons Insider Newsletter

This week's discussion...

Fernando, on navigating an internal pivot from BizOps to Product at Yelp

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THE COMMONS SPOTLIGHT

Meet Fernando! From BizOps to Product at Yelp: navigating an internal pivot.

Fernando started his career in Investment Banking and his first step into tech was a BizOps role at Yelp. After about two years, he decided to make an internal pivot to Product. We sat down with him to chat about internal pivots, his thinking around career paths, why Product interested him, and advice for those wanting to follow in his footsteps ⬇️

When pivoting from Investment Banking into tech, what have been the biggest changes you’ve noticed? What surprised you?

I noticed that you can take a step back from one project to focus on the bigger picture. I have also seen that I can have more of a say in a room, almost immediately, and can drive towards change.

I was also immediately surprised by how much you can learn and do in such a short amount of time, even in a large tech company!

You joined Yelp in a BizOps capacity, and recently pivoted into Product. What excites you about Product?

What excites me about Product is the ability to think ahead of the curve and make some big bets in what you hope to move with respect to metrics. I am excited about going from just analyzing the products that I work with to ideating on new products & initiatives that can improve the overall Yelp experience.

I think I am uniquely positioned to be successful in this role as a result of my Strategy & Operations background. Now that I have a lot of knowledge about the company and have worked with many stakeholders across the organization, I can use that to be able to discuss ideas and products that we want to launch with a clear understanding of tradeoffs and considerations for the business at large.

After working in Strategy & Operations, I also have the data expertise and comfort to run my own analyses, explore the data that we have at Yelp and start to ideate a little more from it.

Lastly, since I have worked on many different projects in my time at Yelp already, I feel comfortable proposing some new ideas and products that could be very beneficial to the team!

How did you make the internal pivot? What advice do you have for others looking to make an internal pivot?

I had an honest conversation with my manager about my career progression and what I was hoping to do next at the company.

Then I started having informational coffee chats with colleagues that I had worked with before who were in roles I was interested in. Once I knew what roles I was interested in, I made sure to speak with my manager on the pros and cons, as well as where she thought that I would make the greatest impact.

I decided on Product and specifically Growth Product Management to continue working at the intersection of new product development and optimizations within our current system.

Advice:

  1. Don’t be afraid to have an honest conversation with your manager as they are the ones that can facilitate intros with other groups that may be best for you.
  2. The work that you do in your current role, whether it’s similar or not to the new role that you are pursuing, matters! How you perform today will reflect on how you will perform in your new job, so always strive to do a great job.

How has your thinking around your career path changed over time?

Coming in from IB and looking for a role, I thought that there was only Strategy & Operations. However, after having some time in the industry, I realized that everyone does have a different path and once you are in tech, there are many different paths open to you.

I have also learned and appreciated it’s possible to stay at one company and be supported to find what your ideal career path is. (The Commons note: we love companies that support this!)

You participated in The Commons Product Sprint as a mentee - what was that experience like? How did it help you with your recent transition into Product?

Doing the Product Sprint as a mentee was actually my first introduction to what is behind the mysterious curtain of Product. I learned a lot from being in the Sprint, working through the materials and coming up with some of the key skills that I already see myself replicating now!

I would say that it helped give me perspective and understand a little more about what the different “roles” within Product can be. My mentor, Thiago, was a Growth PM and it was great to understand how he was on the frontline thinking about what else can be done to ensure that the company continues to see success in the future.

What should people who are thinking about joining The Commons know about it?

People who join The Commons should know that this is much more than any single Sprint. It truly is a community - a group of people who support one another professionally and otherwise. It has been great to meet people outside of the professional environment, discuss sports, life and such. These people are not only colleagues in this community, but friends outside of that!

Tell us about your current role!

  • Current Role & Team: Growth PM within our Consumer Product org
  • Key goals for my team involve increasing Yelp app installs on the mobile site
  • Driving impact: Yelp monetizes traffic through app installs and eventual ad delivery to these consumers. Increasing app installs has several downstream impacts including more contributions from users to businesses, more sessions within our platform and more value for businesses who join Yelp.

Tell us about a cool project you’ve worked on

  • Project Objective: Understanding Contribution Breakdown by Yelp Users
  • Project Overview: This project worked to analyze how different groups of Yelp users contributed on the platform, what type of contributions they had, and also how that mix shift has changed over time. The goal here was to understand if/when we have seen this shift change and how this can help inform our future decisions on the population of users that we target today and how we can!
  • Your Role: Associate, BizOps (sole project owner)
  • What was your favorite part? What was very fun about this project was that we were working with contributions that I, alongside my coworkers, had made. As such, seeing the actual value that Yelp sees from a myriad of users was great. It was also impressive to see the contributions of some of our most tenured users and how much value they see and give to the app

Check out the full interview here to gain interview advice for pivoting from banking into tech, and to take a stab at Fernando's two truths and a lie (is he a salsa dancing amateur?!).

Want to accelerate your BizOps career and tap into the commons community? Our last Strategy & Operations Sprint of the year kicks off on Saturday. 2 seats remain!

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What’s happening at The Commons

Upcoming events

Virtual Community Hang
Come hang with The Commons team & community! We'll catch up and play casual icebreaker games so you can meet new people from the community!

Friday, October 21 12-12:45PM ET
Community only
Register here

Pitch Yourself!
There's no better time or place to meet community members AND level up by refining your answer to the age old question: "So tell me about yourself".

Tuesday, October 25 7-7:45PM ET
Community only
Register here

📣 Bet on Canada Summit
Presented by our partners & friends, The Peak.

The Peak has brought together our country’s top business leaders, investors, and innovators for a one-day-only business event in the heart of Toronto.

You’ll hear from a powerhouse line-up of speakers that will explore the challenges and opportunities of building a business in Canada and spotlight strategies for how to navigate them.

November 8th | IRL Toronto
Open to all!
Register here (save 15% with code Commons15)

The Commons X The Peak IRL Social
We're co-hosting a social with The Peak, taking place after the Bet on Canada Summit. You can attend the Summit, the Social, or both!

If you're looking to make new connections across business & tech, this one's for you. We promise candid connections with ambitious professionals, because that's what we're all about.

Free to join us, with some drinks and food provided.

November 8th 5:30 - 9PM | IRL Toronto
Open to all!
Register here

Past events

ICYMI we recently hosted these events. Members, you can find the recordings on our platform.

  • Mini Interview Case Workshop | Hands-on interview case prep with The Commons mentor, Rohan (ex-Sonder, ex-Lifehouse).
  • The Commons Montreal IRL Hangout 🎉

Application Deadline Alert!

Looking to join The Commons?Your way in is through a Sprint. Apply to secure your seat below.

Strategy + Operations SprintWe SOLD OUT on seats, but added another mentor - you have one last chance to join us! You'll learn SQL, analysis, problem solving and data-driven recommendation building. Great for generalist roles in tech. Kickoff is October 17th. (PS: If you've been following us for a while, this is the renamed Core Sprint).

💥 LAST CALL FOR 2022 - 2 SEATS LEFT 💥

Learn more // Apply now

Strategic Finance SprintOur November Strategic Finance Sprint is officially open! It'll kick off in November and wrap before the holidays. This is an extremely curated cohort of <20 seats. Kickoff Nov 1!

💥 LAST CALL FOR 2022 - 2 SEATS LEFT 💥

Learn more // Apply now

SOLD OUT SPRINTS

Our final Product and Revenue Growth Sprints of the year have kicked off. Email me back if you want to secure a spot for January.

View all Sprints

HOT TOPIC - Preparing for Case Interviews

In advance of Rohan's Case Workshop yesterday and amidst the buzz of many members tackling interviews before year-end, here was a question posted in the community 👆

While each company does case interviews differently, here are a few tips from community members who have sat on both sides of the table - as the interviewer and interviewee (thanks Rohan and Aya!).

"From what I've seen, every company does these slightly differently - some will be a data heavy case, some just a situational problem - some on the spot analysis, some take home.That being said, regardless of the format, from what I've seen, hiring managers are generally looking for:

  • Really structured problem solving
  • Clear communication of that thought process
  • The ability to interpret data correctly if provided

So in short, the format might look very different from consulting cases, but what they're looking for remains largely the same (imo!)" - Rohan

You'll need to prep in a way that gets you comfortable with demonstrating the above in a variety of situations (we definitely recommend practicing - out loud, with a partner, etc.).

Here are some thoughts to get you started...

Structure & Problem Solving:

  • Don't get married to a framework: Tech case interviews are much less about a framework than other industries (like consulting)
  • Want tips on structured problem solving 😏
  • ICYMI, head to #general to check out the recording from last night's workshop!
  • Creativity is more of a 'nice to have' than a necessity - you're better off making recommendations that are realistic, taking into account resourcing, timelines and impact. Of course, if you have a creative recommendation that also accomplishes the latter, great! But don't get too caught up in trying to force creativity.

Communication:

  • If you can break down a problem really effectively, but can't communicate it, you're at a loss. Interviewers are looking for people who can take really complex problems, distill them down, and clearly communicate their thought process and recommendations along the way.
  • In the role, you'll be doing this a lot - and you'll need to get buy-in from cross-functional stakeholders. So clear communication may seem like a basic skillset, but it's incredibly critical.

Business Acumen:

  • Understanding how a business operates and makes money is critical
  • Tech case interviews are much more specific to that company than consulting or banking interviews might be
  • You'll need to have a strong ability to interpret data correctly - understanding the key metrics and unit economics of that specific business will go a long way in helping you to frame your thinking and approach

Your weekly level up

Hot Jobs

We're back at it with CFJs (cool f'ing jobs). Here are a few 🔥 community shares:

  • Supply Analyst at Flashfood - "This role is an excellent opportunity for someone with experience working on an insights team looking for a new challenge where they can build out the foundation of our supply insights." - join Brody, Mya and Calli from The Commons! Check out how to DM Brody if interested, here.
  • Chief of Staff at Parallel, a platform that provides psychoeducational support to students with learning differences (Series A).
  • Associate and Senior Manager at Wealthsimple - work with over 10 members of The Commons! This role is on Ryan's team - community members, DM him. Check out his instructions here.
  • Strategic Operations Manager and Business Analyst at Shields - Shields is a Healthcare technology startup that parters with the largest health systems in the country to drive innovation, growth and profitability through implementing and expanding on site pharmacies. The Commons mentor, Nei, joined just over a month ago. Check out why he think's it's awesome & how to apply here.

Daily Market Briefs

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While this is technically an #ad, we've been working with the folks behind Daily Market Briefs - they, and the newsletter, are awesome. Definitely check it out!

PS - interested in reaching an audience of 20K professionals in biz + tech? Reply to this email.

What's Cookin'?

With lots of members working from home, it's common to see the communitybonding over topics like lunch, desk setups, staying connected with their team,and remote onboarding.

Add your go-to lunch ideas in the thread!

A farmer wants to cross a river with his fox, chicken, and corn bag. The boat he intends to use can only fit the farmer and one other thing. His fox and chicken are hungry, so if he leaves them together the fox may eat the chicken. Also, if he leaves the chicken with the bag of corn, the chicken might eat it. How can the farmer take everything across the river safely?

Check out the answer here.

Questions to ask at the end of an interview

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