To summarize Samir's career journey in one line: UBC undergrad → Startup Generalist (scaled a 4-person startup, acquired by Amazon) → Product Marketer → Waterloo MBET → Product Manager (Clio & Grammarly)
Where are you currently located?
📍 Vancouver, BC
Describe yourself with 3 emojis 👇
🧑🏼💻 I've worked in tech my whole career
🏒 Always love a good hockey game
🏓 Pickleball is another favorite spot of mine
How has your thinking around career paths changed over time?
Think of your career as a collage, not a ladder.
Advice for someone onboarding into a new role?
- Get to know your co-workers as human beings first.
- Don’t be too opinionated until you’ve gained enough context.
- Try and accomplish some small wins to prove your credibility.
What’s a business principle that you’ve learned in Product?
The job of a PM is to make sure products are desirable, usable, and feasible. Whenever I’m stuck on what to focus on, I remember it’s my job to de-risk those 3 things.
What are 3 skills you think are foundational as a Product Manager?
1. Conducting unbiased user research
2. Analyzing data to uncover insights
3. Working with cross-functional stakeholders
Advice for someone diving into an ambiguous problem for the first time?
List all of the unknowns or open questions you have, then write down how you’ll get them answered.
What is your favorite part about being a mentor?
- Seeing people land their dream jobs
- Giving 1-on-1 career advice to mentees
Favorite way to stay involved in the community?
Staying active in the Slack community (sharing answering questions, sharing job postings, etc.)
What should people who are thinking about joining The Commons (as a mentee) know about it?
Come for the program, stay for the network :)
Tell us about your role!
What’s the role and your objectives?
I’m the Product Manager for Grammarly’s browser extension. It’s our flagship product, with over 30 million users. Our goal is to ensure Grammarly’s writing assistant integrates seamlessly and delightfully into everywhere our users are writing. We focus on driving user engagement and retention, and reducing churn.
Tell us about a cool project you’ve worked on
Project Objective: Increase 2-week retention for new users
Project Overview: We identified some key user actions that correlated with long-term retention, and shipped new onboarding experiences that helped users form these habits early in their lifecycle.
Your Role: Growth Product Manager
What Made It Interesting? Given the volume of new users we acquire on a daily basis, we could quickly measure the impact of small changes through multivariate testing – like copy or images!
What do you love about where you work?
I love the growth & experimentation culture that permeates the whole org! We measure and isolate the impact of every change we make by constantly A/B testing – whether that’s in-product, top-of-funnel, or anywhere else.
Fun perk of the job?
We get to travel to one of our Hub cities (San Francisco, New York, Berlin, Vancouver) twice a quarter! It’s a great way to connect with our teammates.
Advice for someone who wants to follow your footsteps
What’s one interview tip for someone interviewing for roles like yours?
Research everything you can about the company, the product, and their customer base. Come prepared with a set of thoughtful questions that shows you’ve done your homework.
What’s an unpopular opinion or belief you hold about careers, tech or the job search?
Focus on making impact, rather than chasing titles or promotions.
Some fun stuff!
🎙 Podcast: 32 Thoughts
🎨 Outside of Work: Watching hockey, playing pickleball, or reading!
🌟 A Leader You Admire: Stewart Butterfield
➕ A handy shortcut: Keyboard shortcuts on iOS + Mac for commonly typed phrases! e.g. ‘@@’ for your email address, and ‘##’ for your phone number.
Two other fun facts
1. I have a YouTube channel with over 2 million views
2. I once got an NHL team fined $25,000
Interested in product roles in tech? Hone the skills you need to succeed in the Product Sprint, and get 1:1 support from mentors like Samir!