Meet Eric, a Mentor at The Commons and Product Manager at The Trade Desk.
To summarize Eric's career path in one line: McGill Engineering -> Senior Solutions Engineer @ Index Exchange -> Associate PM @ Dessa/Square -> Growth PM @ Vena Solutions -> Product Manager @ The Trade Desk
Describe yourself with three emojis
👋 At work, I’m constantly collaborating and chatting with cross-functional stakeholders to make sure I have 360 degree input and feedback. I always open my message with a signature “Hello hello 👋!”
🥘 Always looking for new recipes to cook. I am easily bribed with food.
🎲🎮 Gamer at heart. Love all kinds of board and videos games. Currently obsessed with a board game called Root.
Current role & location?
📍Product Manager at The Trade Desk. Based out of New York!
What prompted you to want to pivot from engineering into Product?
I started off my career as a software engineer but very quickly realized that I didn’t enjoy sitting down and just coding all day - I really enjoyed working with designers and business stakeholders to understand end user problems. I pushed to spend more time with the PMs I was working with and setup lots of 1:1s to understand the role and found it was something that I was interested in!
As you pivoted into Product, what was the interview process like?
Product Manager interviews typically test for your ability to problem solve and collaborate with other people. In my experience, some companies give take home assignments in early rounds but the “onsite” interview is typically multiple rounds with a mix of case type questions (ex: design a product for XYZ, how would you improve product XYZ, ) and behavioral panels with various stakeholders from the company that you would be working with closely (engineering, design, ops, bizdev, other PMs).
We're thrilled you are a mentor at The Commons! What are some things you love about mentoring?
- Sharing what I’ve learned with Mentees and working with them on their cases! I love bouncing ideas and brainstorming with them.
- Learning from other Mentors at The Commons - it's an amazing community and there are lots of people to connect with and learn from.
- Reflection - Distilling core concepts from my experience (almost relearning my own skills!) and being able to help others who want to make a similar jump into Product.
What should people who are thinking about The Commons know about it?
Your journey doesn’t end after the Sprint ends! The Commons is a treasure trove of opportunity and connections so even after you finish your cohort, there’s still a lot of learning to take advantage of by networking and connecting.
Tell us more about your role at The Trade Desk! What team are you on?
I’m a Product Manager for the UX team. We not only ensure that the entire platform has a consistent and easy to use UX, but also are responsible for the core workflow of letting brands set up, manage, and execute advertising campaigns.
What's a cool project that you've worked on?
- Project Objective: Solimar - A complete redesign of The Trade Desk UI, built to empower advertisers to achieve their marketing goals.
- Project Overview: This project was a ground-up rebuild of the entire platform with the goal of making marketing goals the core of all user behavior. We improved data onboarding and management and launched a lot of features to make it easier for advertisers to help brands reach the right audiences.
- Your Role: Leading alpha and beta testing with customers to make sure that we were iterating quickly to build the best experiences possible.
- What made it so interesting? It was a great project because it allowed me to really work cross-functionally globally. I got to work with teams and clients in Europe and Asia to ensure we were capturing the needs of different markets.
What advice would you give your former self at the beginning of your job search into Product?
Prioritize brand and growth. When you’re a part of a successful high-growth company, you’ll have really smart people around you to learn from. You’ll get to experience tremendous growth and scale, and the brand and experience working on successful products will help lead to more opportunities and successes in the future.
For someone who is unsure if Product is right for them, what can they do to start honing in on that?
The best way to understand the product mindset is to build or launch something! Whether it’s just sketching solutions to a problem you have in your life, actually building a product, or testing ideas in the market, taking something from 0 -> 1 is a great way to learn. This will also help you have great experiences and stories to bring to interviews.
And now, a few fun tidbits about you!
Tell us some of your favourites:
🎙Podcast: Extremities by Wendover Productions
📰 Where you get your daily news: Morning Brew and The Daily Podcast
📚Book: Sprint by Jake Knapp
🎨What you're doing outside of work: Working on trying to complete a Saturday NYT crossword
💬An inspiring business quote: “If you can’t afford crazy, you can’t afford brilliant.” - Astro Teller, Captain of X, Alphabet’s moonshot factory
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