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Pradip Khakhar: On becoming a product manager

Fabio Rosado

Hello, today I am joined by Pradip. He's a product manager, and he will tell us all about his journey from being a developer, into becoming a product manager. I'm sure you have a lot of stories I'm sure you have a lot of experience, and you have a very interesting journey to share with us

Pradip Khakhar

Thank you Fabio, Thank you for having me.

Fabio Rosado

It's very nice to have you here. How was your journey into becoming a developer, and then that transition from becoming a developer to become a product manager

Pradip Khakhar

So I grew up in the UK at 16. You either have a choice to either go to A levels, B. Tech, or leave school. I ended up leaving school at 16, and I got an apprenticeship in US terms it was an internship, where I left school at 16, I was employed by a company back in England, and for the first year, they paid me to go to school, I ended up taking a B. Tech in electrical Electronic Engineering, and so the second year, I actually went in and worked. So, I guess, before I started this apprenticeship, they asked me what line of work I wanted to get into. I figured electrical Electronic Engineering sounded fun. It was an aviation simulation company. So what we did is we bought the cockpits from Airbus and Boeing, and we installed our own visuals at the front put it up on hydraulics, and it became a big simulator, where pilots trained on before they were allowed to fly the real leg cross, and for continuing education. So before I got this apprenticeship. I was asked, do I want to do software engineering, do I want to do electrical electronic engineering or mechanical engineer. At that time I didn't really know what software engineering meant, and I didn't really know what mechanical engineering meant electrical Electronic Engineering was something that I was interested in, because I like taking things apart putting it back together. I like soldiering things. So, at that time I selected electrical Electronic Engineering during the first year, when I was sent to school for the full time. I took mechanical engineering classes, electrical electronic engineering classes, plus software engineering classes. And for some reason I kept being attracted to the software engineering classes, and any electives that I was able to take, I wanted to take them in software engineering. Started making friends with the software engineers and started understanding what languages they use what books they read what software engineering was about, and in addition to doing my regular class, I started taking, you know, back home practising coding small things. I'm gonna date myself here but I started off in c++, Visual Basic and HTML. So in the evenings, you know, I used to hang out with software engineers, and we used to code things and just learn together. And when I started working in the second year, I was working as an electrical electronic engineer where my role is basically to make sure that the wiring is correct, in the simulators. We would have the manufacturing team coming and build the simulator. My job was to make sure that the wiring is as per specification. So I really, I really loved it.

It was hands on, you're walking around talking to different people for different departments, and once I started getting my feet in to the company, I somehow was just attracted to talk to the software engineers, you know lunchtime, breaks, anytime a software engineer comes by, I'm always asking questions. what are you doing, why are you doing this, what is the purpose of this How have you done this, and sometimes they would let me sit in, you know, code over their shoulders sometimes I create something small and things like that, but the important lesson for me at that time was just getting out there and talking to people, and with cold DMS, cold emails, there's a lot of rejection, and it was the same for me when I was working as a second year employee, there were some engineers who really couldn't be bothered to talk to me some engineers, they're like stick to your job, do what you do best, and some of them gave me attention, some of them didn't. So that was a good skill for me to learn in rejection at the time because not everybody was open to share their experience or train me in a field that I wasn't getting paid to work in or that wasn't even my job. That was a first rejection training.

Fabio Rosado

I think sometimes you see that in every job that you do. In any profession, you always have someone that is more than happy to share with others what they know.

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah,

Fabio Rosado

Whilst you have other people that are very protective of their craft, and they just don't want to teach others because they're afraid that you are going to replace them.

Pradip Khakhar

Yep,

Fabio Rosado

which is a shame because a lot of times you show your stripes, by teaching other people and to share your experience, because no matter what you've been through you won't really pass all the knowledge that you have been through to someone else by showing how to do the things you said that you enjoy taking things apart, but also coding Is it because you have the manual skills of just wanting to see how things work out, and then you went to code, because it feels like a big puzzle as well?

Pradip Khakhar

Exactly. I mean, you know, I liked fixing things at 16. I built my own computer. It was just a case of being hands on seeing how things work together. When you build that computer or whatever you build and you press that power button and it powers up and you're like wow, I just built that. So for me it was just seeing the process to build things but the end result is solving something you creating value, you know, I built my computer, and it created so much value for me because for a 16 year old I was able to download games play, write notes and all of a sudden I'm writing all my college note School Notes on the computer, and I had a huge repository of notes from when I was 16 to 18, everything was digital, and I loved it so for me. Yeah, absolutely. Creating, playing with things and taking things apart and seeing how it works.

Fabio Rosado

The first thing that you've taken apart, how many pieces were left over?

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah. So you know what, I, my. One of the earliest things that I took apart was my video VCR player. And I fix it, but they were like three pieces that were left from the time. And I'm like, I don't know where they go and video the video player was playing, everything was fine, but, you know, there was like three pieces leftover at the end.

Fabio Rosado

It's very old, it's always every time that you touch something that will assembled, even if you record everything. It always seems that find things that shouldn't be there. So it shouldn't be left out. I followed all the instructions Why the hell I have another screw or something like that. It's very odd.

Pradip Khakhar

It is and I love IKEA furniture in England. So a lot of my furniture in my room at the time was IKEA based. So, you know, you bring home these boxes and then you take it apart, you put it together and at the end, you've got whatever furniture you bought and you're always left with extra pieces and I'm wondering if they give me extra pieces, did I not put something in somewhere.

Fabio Rosado

Yeah, exactly. I feel exactly the same way sometimes. Did you work as a developer coding, as well or that was just something that you did on your free time?

Pradip Khakhar

So initially it was in my free time, like I said, at that time in the current employment. I used to hang out with a lot of software engineers and do coding in my free time. And it's something that I got good at because I enjoyed it and that's what I spent most of my time doing so when I left the UK, I moved over to the US, and when I left I was figuring out what I wanted to do. So, there were no simulator companies in New York City area, so I had to figure out a new career. I was at one point thinking of becoming a pilot but then 911 happened and, you know, the industry, took a bit of a hit. I thought about going to law school and becoming a lawyer at one point and I was like, do I really want to do that. Do I not. The easiest way to make money for me at the time was to just reach out to companies and say, Hey, I can help you with creating some digital tools, websites, it was just the easiest way to get my foot in the door. So I initially just start off with hey I can help fix computers maybe be a help desk technician kind of thing. Networking server monitoring, things like that but then really I started realising that there was a need for people who wanted to implement software, you know at that time relational databases were becoming a thing. Digital reporting was becoming a thing? right and then websites online ordering and things like that were becoming a thing. So, so me I asked a lot of questions, and I reached out to a company owner a small, small, medium businesses in New York City. And I asked them, hey, do you need help with anything, building things, you know reporting databases. And the first thing they used to say is "I have an idea. I need someone to build it" and I used to always push back and I say, I get you have an idea, and I can build it for you. But what can we talk about why are you building this. What's the value you're hoping to provide. And some people liked it. Some people were like, you know, I have an idea. I just need someone to execute it and build it for me. Either you build it, or I'll find somebody else. And I remember this one time I was working on a online ordering system for a customer, and I was working with another developer, and the other developer was saying yes to everything. The owner would say, Can you do A that developer would say yes, can you do B, the other developer says yes, all of sudden, the developer saying yes to everything to get the business. And I'm like, Okay, I get you want to build an online ordering system, but what who I uses, what are they currently doing. What are you trying to accomplish. How are your users currently ordering. What other products are there in the market and I kept asking all these different questions.

The owner, pretty much went ahead with the developer and kept me as a, like a assistant, if you will. And over time, we built what the owner wanted, I kept asking all these questions throughout the process. And at the end, it went live, and we were having trouble with adoption and retention. So we asked some of the customers. Why aren't you using this online ordering system, why are you still calling it, because that was the, the easiest way to place the order.

Pradip Khakhar

Like, we don't like your system, it doesn't it doesn't do this, this and this, and it's too complicated. It takes longer sometimes trying to figure out things on your system, than it's easier to for me to pick up the phone and call you guys. And once we had that I'm like, that's exactly why I've been trying to tell you don't build immediately. Let's figure out the why Let's ask all these questions and then build it. So, at that point, the owner realised that it's not just about building. It's about knowing why you're building, who you're building for what your value you're going to give. So that was a big learning experience for me and at that time I realised Product Management wasn't a thing back then and I'm talking, you know, maybe 2004, 2006 around that time. Product Management wasn't a thing. It was just me trying to figure out, okay if we're gonna build something, what's the benefit and who's going to use it. And I just started asking questions and doing effectively what product managers do today. I just did it naturally because I wanted to do it and get the product to these users as quickly as cheaply and using the best technology that we could with all these different things, as opposed to being a developer that says, hey, I can build you this. And let's sign the contract and move on. So that was a big hot moment for me that there's not many people trying to understand the reason why behind it. And that's when I kind of shifted into more Product management stuff. And then I outsourced to developers that I trusted to actually do the building and work with me, but I became more of a customer facing person, as opposed to the person who builds and, you know, as a developer, so from that perspective that three story that I have that, developing was a fantastic career and I really liked it, but then I started realising that as a developer, why build something that no one's going to use the whole goal is to build something that people want to use. People want , people love people need, and it creates value for them. So I moved more into that thinking strategy kind of perspective than hey let me sit there and hold something for six weeks.

Pradip Khakhar

That makes a lot of sense. And, you know, we met up on that makers community, Makerlog. And one of the things that I see all the time is other makers, and other indie hackers, say, okay, you have an idea, but have you asked people, if they actually are interested on that idea, or let's say you create a amazing product, and you have so many ideas that you can implement on your product, and all the things that you want to include. And then they say, Oh, okay. But, when do I get started, maybe I'll add all the things, and then you ask the customers, after you spend maybe a whole year implementing that and no one wants to use that because it's good in your head, but it's not good for your customers because maybe they're not interested or, like you said it's too hard to use and it's easy to just grab the phone and just call you. Sometimes, we need that help from someone, so I guess what is a project manager for people that don't? you already started a little bit, so you see the needs of the customer, you start asking a lot of questions, and you try to guide, a product with someplace that customers will use.

So, there. This is a tricky question right as a product manager for someone who's a product manager for, say, a Goldman Sachs, or American Express, Estee Lauder, you know, the big corporations, the role of a product manager is slightly different to someone who's working in a mid sized some who may be VC backed. So there's a lot of different interpretations on the role itself, the way I look at it is a product managers role is to figure out and discover the product that you want to build. Figure out what that product is, in order to figure out what that product is you need to learn and know who the user is, who you're going to be effectively selling to. Right. And then once you have some kind of strategy or some direction on what the product is you need to get the team excited about it. Right. Get the team to be building it together with you it's not just the product manager says this and it happens the product manager, one of the, I guess misconceptions people have about product management is the product manager has no power

The product manage has no hability, this is what we're gonna do and this is how we're going to do it all about influencing without authority, getting everybody on board with data we're talking to people you know you're synthesising all this information, you're sharing that information with everybody, you're communicating out. Get the team excited about that vision, get everyone on board. It's not your product as a product manager. It's collectively you being together. And then, as you built it, give it out to people to use, it's not a wonderful method, and a lot of people when they feel like it, use a term built. It's a waterfall method it's not you build something small, give it to users to get some feedback and you continuously iterate on it. I feel like it's a circular motion, if you will, where you're trying to figure out what to build. You have to build it, and then you git it up to the users to test and then you reiterate.

Fabio Rosado

It makes sense, I get what you're saying is a product manager or a manager. Anyone that has that sort of position what they have to be is a leader, really.

because everything that you're saying you have to deal with different of kind of people and you have to everybody follow the same path, even though some people might not see the point of doing something. And sometimes it can be hard if you have someone that might not be as motivated to work on that particular feature or work on that particularly something, those lines but you are that bridge between developers, the owner of the company, or the CEO of the company and also the client.

Pradip Khakhar

Yes and no. I mean, I have people say be the bridge, be the glue and I my own perspective is that to an extend, but when you talk about being the bridge and your the glue. It kind of like implies that without you the company can't run, without you the product can't run. And I feel like that's not true. Right, developers can build with the UI UX the owner can get a direction and what have you. So I feel like the the role of a product manager is secondary. It's the role to get all the information synthesise it and make bets on behalf of the company right or with the company rather not on behalf, but with with the company and getting everyone excited. So, I heard you know the terms we're the glue we're the bridge and things like that I tend to feel like I want to empower the team to build it and be on board together, as opposed to being the glue that keeps everyone together because I feel like I should be able to walk away, or if something happened to me, the team can continue executing on a vision that we've created together.

Fabio Rosado

That might be just the way how you are, as a leader, because sometimes you have those leaders that they just want the power, and they dont want to budge on anything. They say you have to do it as it is. And, you know, you seem to be more of the leader that you are trying to keep everybody in the loop, and you are on the same level as everybody in your team.

Pradip Khakhar

I think so, I mean, I, you know, at the end of the day, what's the leader if they don't have a team, right, and at the end of the day, the team is doing all the work. Right. The team is there grafting creating understanding and doing everything I'm there to help facilitate certain conversations I'm there to help drive facilitate understanding, you know, and communicate things with the team. So at the end of the day I think that the team is the one who gets the credit.

Fabio Rosado

And I would like to know, because I don't work as a developer yet. Obviously on a big team, it's something different than let's say a startup, where you're working with maybe two other developers or three other developers. So you as a product manager. Are you the one that is taking care of the developers. Are you a manager for the developers, or the developers have their own manager.

Pradip Khakhar

The developers have their own manager. You know, I work with developers I work with UI UX I work with various cross functional teams, but the developers have their own managers, they have their own internal processes, but it's a cross functional team that we work together.

Fabio Rosado

Like I said, I might not know exactly what the product manager is obviously I've heard the term. So I was wondering if it was something like that or something different.

Pradip Khakhar

If you think sorry I quickly thought, if you're working in a smaller startup, and there's basically a founder or co founder two developers and a product guy or you know sales a marketing guy, things are different in that environment, I'm talking if you work at a company, at least a series A Series B kind of company at least, you know, they may have some kind of differentiation between departments and things like that, as they start to grow.

Fabio Rosado

Yeah makes sense. I'm also thinking more about the startups, where the teams are a bit smaller, where you as a developer, or you as a manager or... you have to fit so many hats that Those lines get to be blurred. You know what I mean. SekaCakes, had a good question. It's, as a developer, I'm wondering, what is your perspective on tech debt, if any, as a product manager

Pradip Khakhar

tech debt?

Fabio Rosado

yes sorry.

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah, I get it from a developer perspective, you know, the role of the developer is to make sure that whatever you're building works effective, and in the best possible way and it doesn't break in, in like six months time. So I get that. I'm a big fan of getting the tech debt out because you want to build something strong, but at the same time, you don't want to build something so strong, but it's not what the customer wants, or what the user wants. So there's a balance between finding that sweet spot of what the user wants and needs, versus spending so much time in the beginning to try and get the code clean as possible to avoid that tech debt, but I'm a strong believer in that you should reduce the tech debt as much as possible, because you don't want to have something fail six months down the road because you're trying to build so much and all of a sudden the code bases getting messed up

Fabio Rosado

Do you think. It also depends a lot of how fast your team needs to go? let's say that you have a schedule that you need to push something or release something in three months vs a year, and maybe you can sort out some kinks where you couldn't.

Pradip Khakhar

It does but I mean at the end of the day, if you're building too many features and you have a, you know, a timeline. I think timelines are good to an extent, especially if you have legal requirements that you have to meet. But at the end of the day it's the user experience. Right, all the users are asking for all these features that you want to build, or is it something that as a company you're driving to maybe differentiate yourself. So I feel you have to create that balance between what the goal of the company is versus what the users need.

Fabio Rosado

Out of curiosity do what was the hardest thing that you ever worked on? was it a feature that maybe was too difficult to implement too complex. Was it maybe had the team that couldn't work well together. I'm not sure if you can, describe some sort of things without really saying much. If you know what I mean.

Pradip Khakhar

sure. Yeah, no, definitely. I mean, to me, hidden shy is somebody who I've had on my podcast product angle show he said something that focus on building teams, then the process and then the tools. So I'm a big believer on getting team alignment. Right. And that's where if you have a strong team and everyone's comfortable in what they're doing and they know that things can go up things and go down. That's the best team to work on, and getting that alignment is extremely extremely difficult because, as in some companies, There are hierarchies, you have to go through this VP to get this approval or you have to go through this director to get this approval. And, you know, getting them to get that approval before you can do something is difficult in smaller companies not so much because you can just walk up to people in the larger corporations where it's very departmentalized. It's very hard to get people to be on the same page. And let's say you have a sales team, sales, VP or whatever and they say, Hey, we can get this large deal if we can just implement these three features in the next three months, and having those conversations are very difficult because sales people live and die by the sales they bring to the company, and you need sales to survive. But with those features that they're wanting to get into the roadmap, are they going to help the overall company, objectives, or is this just to get that one customer so having those conversations and getting that alignment between different departments, especially sales. It's for me that's, that's the hardest part of being a product manager, because you have to talk to various stakeholders and get them aligned on the same page.

Fabio Rosado

I undsertant and been many years ago, one of my first jobs or my first job was a insurance salesman. And I know that as a salesman, the one thing you care about the most is your commission, and you don't care about how long is going to take, but if you know that there is a particular thing that you can change, or you can implement that will make your sell process easier. You just say yeah you have to do it because I'm going to sell this like fried chicken I guess

Pradip Khakhar

that's that's that's the balance.

Fabio Rosado

And I can definitely imagine how hard it must be to juggle all of these different departments. I mean, I work for quite a big company as a flight attendant, we have a very open environment, so you can even go to the office and you can ask questions and there isn't such a rigid department where it says yeah you're not allowed here because you're just this or you're just that. I can understand that in some companies maybe bigger companies and older companies you have this kind of this is your place don't try to get out of your place, you just stay there and that's it.

Pradip Khakhar

Definitely. It's a tricky situation and some companies have a hierarchy some companies, expect you to follow these procedures and trying to effectuate change in those kinds of companies takes a lot longer than companies where it's what you would guys work on a smaller scale,

Fabio Rosado

do you think an open environment, makes things better or makes teamwork, more effective, and if you have very rigid departments, and where it's hard to make, maybe make that bridge, or let's say as a developer, you don't really see the owner of the company or sales so you can't really relate to their struggles,

Pradip Khakhar

it's I think it's important to be more transparent as what other departments are doing, you know, maybe you don't need to know the exact ins and outs of sales and commissions and things like that. but it'd be nice to know from at least from my perspective, is if the sales team on going after and our, you know RFP RFQ or a particular customer, and they don't win that deal. Why? because that feedback is very important to product managers, because we can find out that what was the reason for losing is it price is it that they thought the other company competitors company had better features better you know tech support or whatever it may be, so we can use that as feedback to drive into our ecosystem to build the product better or improve the product.

Fabio Rosado

Makes sense. Because what I was thinking is sometimes it's hard to relate to someone, if, like you said, when you're getting started, and you had that job, and sometimes some developer would say okay yeah I don't want to explain to you what I am doing. just go away.

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah,

Fabio Rosado

but also if you had that knowledge or if you could relate to, to them and see their struggles and say okay so maybe if I'm trying to do something. Maybe I can make things a little bit easier for the next person or for the next departent. And sometimes we don't really think like that we think okay I have a job to do, I'll do my job and that's it. And as a team if you start thinking that the other person might have a problem with something. I'm not really sure how to describe it really but let's say that you're working on a feature, and you know that the back end team needs to do something with MongoDB or something like that. And you as a front end, maybe can prepare things. So, when two bits get together, it goes a bit smoother, you understand the pain that someone else will have to come and try to sort out that issue that you created so then you try to smooth that out. And then as a team things flow much better

Pradip Khakhar

Definitely and I'll give an example in one of my previous jobs. We would create a document that will give, you know the way engineering worked was that this one particular engineer. He ran this particular division. So in order to get access to him or his developers. We had to put in a request, and we had to write down exactly what's the word create a document as to what we want that team to do, and their job was only to execute. So, I remember a couple of projects where other teams have given a particular project to this team to do, and they've done it based on that spec. And when they given it back to the team, and said hey you go We built it the team said, Well, this doesn't do what we intended to do, and their response was, well, we've built it to the exact specification that you asked for in your document. We've done our job. I was sitting, one day with a senior VP, and I said, I talked about this you've thought about this. Why is this still happening. Shouldn't the engineering team, read through that document and talk to the users and say, what are we trying to accomplish what are we trying to do. And then, before they start coding start to think of any pitfalls or starting to work together to build the product together. And, you know, the VP said yeah, I get where you're coming from and that's what happens in normal companies, but this VP prefers to only execute based on the document, and it's a bit of, you know, covering your backside kind of situation. And that's how this manager wanted to run his team, you write everything down and we'll build it for you and I'm like, well, your team has engineers, they can see pitfalls or of my thinking which may be incorrect, and I may not have that skill set. Shouldn't we work together and plan something together and think about what value we're trying to do create for the user together. And his response was no, my job is to create and build based on what you tell me. And obviously I didn't last in that position for much longer.

Fabio Rosado

That seems like a nightmare. Because, as a developer, you understand things a little bit different than let's say a salesperson. Let's say that a salesperson wants to sell a specific thing. They might call this thing a broadcast module, which is a developer thing okay broadcast module has to have all these things, and then all they wanted to say was, oh yeah broadcast as in, it puts a video online. So, if you want to write things down and you follow that, as if as a recipe, like you said he couldn't just be a pain. First of all, you probably will take longer to implement. Because the developers are working on something. And when the thing is done, you present it to the person that requested that thing, and they say, Yeah, but that's not it. So now I'm gonna have to do another requirement. And then I have to do another thing, and you're going to have to change the whole thing whilst, if you told us the week or a month, depends how long you have the Sprint's I guess if you are in a Agile environment, say okay this is what we've done, and then someone says, yeah but that's okay but it's not exactly what we wanted we entered this so that you can adjust and the product can grow because you have that freedom to do things. I remember watching one video on YouTube. A dad was doing a peanut butter sandwich.

Pradip Khakhar

Okay.

Fabio Rosado

With his son or his daughter, and he was doing exactly what they were saying is okay so what how can I make a peanut butter. You grab the jar and you put it on the bread. And then he would grab the jar without opening and put it on top of the breath. And then they're like, No, you have to open the jar and the dad said, Well, you didn't tell me to open the jar.

Pradip Khakhar

Exactly.

Fabio Rosado

If you are that rigid, you can cause something similar to that.

Pradip Khakhar

Absolutely.

Fabio Rosado

Out of curiosity have you heard about domain driven design?

Pradip Khakhar

define how you're interpreting that,

Fabio Rosado

I can't really define it properly. So what Gemma told me was, this is how you you rename things and you create your product, and you have the same language that someone that would sell the product, or someone that would... what other departments, use as a developer will use the same sort of language on her example she said a broadcasting model module and you as a developer, you might not understand what's that, but then someone says okay what is this broadcast module, and someone says oh that's just the thing that you press a button and you go live and you have the video. It was the example that she gave also she did say, look, this was a talk I watched. I'm not an expert on that on any matter, she recommended a book I haven't bought the book yet, but seems to make a lot of sense. So I would like to know if you if you heard about it,

Pradip Khakhar

I don't know, of the phrase that you mentioned, or what I think what you're getting at is that let's say if you're in a healthcare environment. There'll be certain terminology that is used in the healthcare industry. And that's the same terminology that you should be using in your code in your products in your sales literature, constantly so that way, pmpm for example means per member per month in the healthcare world. So in the code pmpm. That's what it means, but in a different industry, it could mean something else. So I think what you're getting at is, depending on the industry that you're working in, they will have certain terminology certain ways of talking certain ways of doing things. And then that should be adopted into the build, and someone who works as a healthcare pm. Product Manager will do similar things but the terminology will be different, to someone who works in the financial services industry, even though from a pm perspective, it'll be very similar, but they may call it something different and I'm trying to think of an example but I can't off the top of my head, but I think that's where that is probably getting towards and again, again I haven't heard that term, and I'm not familiar with it but I'm suspecting it could be that.

Fabio Rosado

I think so. I think you might be right, but again, like I said, Gemma, I did mention this is a whole thing where there are conferences about it, there are talks about it. There is a big community that really swears by it. And unfortunately I haven't taken the time to really look at it properly. Just because of you were talking about that, and I just remembered with the issues that you had with that team member, or that VP, it kind of reminded me that maybe one of the biggest problem was communication? because one thing is when you are speaking to someone. Another thing is written communication, and there is always a big barrier between saying something, and maybe you do some gesture with your face or you smile or something and the person realises that you meant something maybe different or you were joking. Whilst if you are writing things down. And you are very annoyed and something that someone meant as a joke, and you look at it and you're like, what the hell are, talking to that like to me.

Pradip Khakhar

Definitely I mean, whatever resources Gemma sent you if you could share those with me I'd love to I'd be curious to see, you know what it's all about.

Fabio Rosado

I will definitely share with you. And I also wanted to go deeper into that because it seems a very interesting thing to implement, especially when you are working as a team, and have to work with different departments as well. So then, it seems that in a company, everybody speak the same language, in a way, seems very interesting. You do a lot of agile development or not really.

Pradip Khakhar

We do but you know again, agile is you have to make it work for you. Right. You know you have waterfall and you have agile and everyone seems to be wanting to do agile, but in reality you do a bit of both. Right, it's hard to define what agile really is and it's hard for some corporation to be 100% agile or hundred percent waterfall, you find that middle ground that works for the company works or the team members

Fabio Rosado

make sense, I'm working on my own, because I'm self taught so I work on my projects, I work on open source, I try to implement some sort of Agile environment on my projects. But when you're working on your own, very easy for you to just do whatever.

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah,

Fabio Rosado

Sometimes you just say, Okay, I don't exactly feel like working on this particular thing, or I dont work in this particular product so then you do something else. Do you think it's a good idea to just focus on a single thing and do it throught, until you can't anymore. Let's say it's blocked for some reason you need a piece that hasn't been built or something, or is it fine to go from task to task and try to do as much as you can?

Pradip Khakhar

I think it's dependent on you as a person. So, for example, on, on my site theproductangle.com. I have a bunch of different articles that I am working on. And, you know, if one day, let's say Monday I want to work on article one. And then, you know, Monday afternoon. I'm tired of working on article one and I need a break from it. I go work on article three. So I think it depends on you as a person and I've spoken to people who can only write one article at a time and they want to get the article out before they even think about the second article. And my brain works that I like to have multiple things going on in the background. And, you know, if my brains tired of working on one article, I can go shift gears and work on a different article.

It takes a bit of context switching. And for some reason my brain likes that. I can't focus on one thing, for example, all day. I like to break things up and work on different things just to get the brain to take in over. So, I don't think there's a right or wrong answer. I do find that if you do break it up and morning to work on one article and second in the afternoon you work on something else, then that article may take a little bit longer to publish, or your product or whatever you're building may take a little bit longer to publish, because you're working on multiple things at the same time.

Fabio Rosado

It's also, like you said, it depends a lot on the person that you are, how well you work. Some folks like to just work on one thing and go from beginning to the end. Others like to switch a lot. I like to have different things in the oven and I do a little bit of this a little bit of that

Pradip Khakhar

Same same here. I'm the same way I like to have are at right now I think I have three or four different articles in the background. And I'm working on them independently, it takes a little bit longer to to release but that's just the way my brain works.

Fabio Rosado

I'm the same I think I have at the moment, I have three projects that I want to work on. One of them is communities deck, which I was meant to start last year. And then I just started working on something else and left it completely until I got the notification that they have to pay for the domain

Pradip Khakhar

and you realise yeah.

Fabio Rosado

Oh, damn it. Yeah, I haven't worked on it. And I want to check how many people were interested and registered for the beta. Yeah, and I had 58 people interested.

Pradip Khakhar

Wow.

Fabio Rosado

And I just said, What the hell why I'm not appointed. I didn't work on this. Come on. I have 58 people interested. It doesn't mean they will become clients but it 58 people

Pradip Khakhar

Let's prioritise now that now we get into the prioritisation right, what's what what comes first? What what's more important? That's so you're getting into the realm of prioritisation. So I, I think working on different things is okay. Because like, for me, at least my brain after some time gets tired working on it because you're looking at the same words and the same article for a period of time. And I need to context switch into something different. But I think it's important to know from a strategic perspective, what are you trying to do? You know, you may have a six month roadmap. So between say, July and January Now, what is it that you're trying to accomplish? So you'd have the high level goals of whatever it is you may want to do, but also each month? What are these goals and what actions you're going to take to get to those goals? So for me, I have a calendar, where I have my show, every week or every two weeks I have a guest on. So I know by the end of the year, I'll have x amount of different episodes that are out in the world,

Fabio Rosado

it makes sense, I have still a little bit of a issue of keeping up with these plans that I make. So I mentioned have a to do list where I do all the things. And then I have another to do list where I put everything that I want to work on eventually. So I have this ever growing list of things that I would like to do one day, or ideas that I have for apps for projects for whatever really, and I found that a lot of times I start planning everything and then after three months, I just stop so I'm trying again to keep on going and force myself to actually take one day, stop, revise everything that I've been through all the things I still need to do or what I want to achieve. And I've noticed and I've been doing that for almost four months since the lockdown started in UK. I think it's four months and I've noticed that I'm not so much working on things that might not give me enough value. So are things that I actually working towards a specific goal. For example, I had the idea of creating Landing in Tech, maybe in January, and I kept having it in the back of my heads, oh, I want to do this. But I didn't have a name. And I just kept postponing and said, tomorrow, I'll do it tomorrow, I'll do it until I sat down. I wrote down what I wanted. I started playing around with names to say, Okay, I've got a name. Let's see if someone has the domain. The domain was free everything's aligning, so I need to do something with it. And that's when I sat down and said, Okay, I will start asking people if they're interested to participate. A lot of people were very happy to participate. And again, thank you for being here. And it's been a really interesting journey, I would say, because it's very interesting to know, the journey of other developers and struggle as the successes and everything. It's been very, very interesting. Let me take you back to that first day, when you became a product manager, what was the biggest challenge that you faced on that day? The first days are always very scary, very stressful. Did you become a manager on a company that you work for or was an entirely new role, a new team, a lot of new things to learn?

Pradip Khakhar

I mean, if I talk about when I started working for a separate company, as a product manager, you like, I want to do this, but you know, how does it work here? There's so many things variables out there. So first things first, what I would do is get to know who's who. Right. And I'm a big believer in getting to know who runs what, what's their role, I asked them what they think their role is. And then obviously, you talk to people build that relationship, and you get to know who everyone in the company is, but also at the same time in the back of your head. What am I going to do in the next 30 days, the next 60 days, well, the next 90 days, so you have to balance especially if you're working for company you to balance your career up and down. Right. So what I mean by that is that there are people, product managers who are way more experienced than I am. And I want to learn from them, but I'm not at that level. And then there are product managers who are maybe just starting out where I have a few more years experience, than they do, but then they need someone to help them grow as well. So from from that perspective, you manage up because you want to grow in your career, but you also help someone who is just starting out, also manage up and help them grow as well. So I feel like from that perspective, on day one, it's going to be overwhelming, but don't be overwhelmed. Try to make a plan and just talk to people. There are companies where I've spoken to people and they have all these rules and all these have to go follow these procedures. And there are companies here you know, where Feel free to ping me if you need something or give me a call and let's chat. just making those relationships and those companies getting to understand how that company environment works.

Fabio Rosado

Looking back at my jobs every single time I started, it's always well, you know, I'm the newbie here so I can ask questions I can do I make silly mistakes that I would learn by with the experience or ask someone to guide me? Do you feel that you as a manager, you don't have that freedom in a way because you have someone under you that says, yep, you're a manager. You have to know all of these things, even though it's your first day ever

Pradip Khakhar

think i don't i don't think it's that way. I mean, I think everyone's human and everyone doesn't expect somebody to know everything on day one. And to me, it's a strength to be able to say, you know, I don't know this right now but I can look out for you. And I think that is a strength in itself that many people don't want to say, and maybe they give out some bs or something you know, they give out something if on day one It's just say that I'm not sure right now, let me look into it. And I get back to. So I think maybe there may be some unnecessary pressure built on you because it's the first day and you have to do these things. Or if you have a team that you're running or responsible for, but at the end of the day, it's your first day, there's only so much you can do. It's only so much, you know, if you work together, I've had managers, bosses, who have been very hands on and hands off. But at the end of the day, the best bosses that I've worked for are the ones that want to find out what I want to do in my career, and they want to help me find and do that work. So I can help myself growing in my career. So if you understand your team, what they're doing and what they want to do, that will help bring that alignment. Because if you're if you're forcing someone to do something that they're not ready into, they won't really care to do it well, and they may not be bothered to do it at all. So I think it's it's all about just coming communicating and talking to the people who are on both sides of the spectrum, and just building that relationship together.

Fabio Rosado

This is also a very good sign of maturity, and that you are very approachable as well. If you just... someone asked you something or you are in charge of something and you say straight away and say, Well, I'm not entirely sure how to do that, or I'm not entirely sure how to answer to the question, but I will definitely look for the answer. And I will come back to you later. I find sometimes we might work with someone that wants to give you an answer, but they don't really know. So they just make up and then in the long run, you'll find out that Oh, wait, this person hasn't really told me the truth. They just didn't know. And that's it. They gave me some excuse or some. I always say that if you come as in Alright, well, I'm also human, even though I have this title of manager. I'm human, I'm allowed to now know things. This is clearly important for you. So I'm more than happy to just go and give you an answer. Just give me one day or a week or whatever, it depends on the question. And that just helps. The team will say, Oh, yeah, he's really cool, because he didn't know but he wasn't arrogant or anything you just said I don't know I will just go. And that that's very important with managers, I would say that you just have that contact and that ability, so then you know that you can count with that person to, to everything really. Do you think that you start as a junior developer, or just a developer, software engineer. And with experience, you become a senior developer. It's the next logical step is to become a product manager or...

Pradip Khakhar

I'm not a big fan of logical steps at times. And my career has been very unconventional, you know, so I don't really know What to say the logical next step would be, I would say the logical next step is what you want it to be. Right? At the end of the day, if you are passionate about something and you want to do something, go make it happen. You know, you go from junior to senior to maybe director VP. That's the traditional route that people take. And my career hasn't taken that trajectory. I've always done things that I've enjoyed. So you know, if you're a junior developer, and you want to move into product management, there's plenty of ways to do that. And I would say, first of all understand why you want to be a product manager. For me, I've had a fantastic time doing it, it's been rewarding. And if you like working in cross functional teams, if you like getting stuff done, if you'd like to lead with influence, because a product manager has zero authority, so I don't feel that anyone should be restrained to think that Okay, now I'm a junior, my next step To be a senior, and then from senior to whatever it may be, find what it is that you want to do. I mean, try different things. And I've tried a number of different careers, as well. And you have to find what you want to do for the foreseeable future I don't believe in for the rest of your life. But at this time, if you are interested in becoming a PM, talk to other PMS, right. And the best way to do it is if you don't have work with any PMS, you can't find any PMS that you can. With the internet nowadays. You can build stuff onlinew, you can write about it online. And I'll be honest, I'm not the most experienced pm. I have a lot of different skills sets that I bring, but there are a lot of people out there who are more experienced than me, and I'm learning from them. So with the internet nowadays, you can reach out to anybody and just have a conversation, and a lot of people are willing to help you. So going back to your question, I think I've answered in a long winded way. I don't think of those career trajectories. I think your career is what you make it. You depending on what role you want to be in or what work you want to do, make it what you want.

Fabio Rosado

It's a very good answer, I would say. And I think maybe it's because how we are taught in school, maybe our parents tell us how things work. We always think that everything is a staircase, right. So And you have to always start from the bottom and you can never start from the middle. You can never go from you decided to become a nurse and then along the line, you realise that you don't really enjoy hospitals. And now you want to become a product manager,

Pradip Khakhar

which is which is good because you have that health background. So if you're a product manager in the healthcare industry You've actually gone and done things in a hospital that may be a product manager who works for a health insurance company doesn't really understand what it is like in a hospital. So I think that your skill sets, whatever you've developed is very important and you know, I came to From a traditional Indian background Where the you know usual expectation is that you finish school. Go to do your A levels was go to get together Go get a good job. And then be there for the rest of your life.

Fabio Rosado

This is I'm not sure if it just Indian To be honest because in Portugal In Poland is exactly the same you have to go to University young to have a degree Because if you don't have a degree you want to find a job period.

Pradip Khakhar

And then you know, it depends. Sorry go ahead...

Fabio Rosado

with all my experience and I have a tourism degree and I've never really done anything with a degree even though I am a flight attendant now. The degree didn't really open me any doors whatsoever. I applied. I had that customer service and sales background. I got the job. So they didn't care if I had a degree in tourism if I studied this many years about Laws of tourism and history and all this things, I think unless you wants to be become a doctor, a lawyer. You know this professional where you actually need that PhD, Or that master's degree. I find that the university The main goal of the university is for you to expand your network. And for you to Know the people in that field. So when you are looking for a job you already have a good network and you can maybe move around that network and you can find a job easier But a lot of cases, let's say In a developer position, what is important? it's the experience that you have. Is the portfolio that you have. Who did you work with or what You do or what do you know? Universities they cant really catch up with the changes in tech So you maybe are learning something that is reality you don't use any More. I'm a maintainer for an open source project and I had someone that He tried to raise Pull Request and he He said I'm not entirely sure How to use git Can you please give me Hands and I said Yeah sure no worries. So we we have chat on matrix we used to use Gitter before. And I helped him going through how to set up everything and how to raise the pull requests and explain The basics of git and he said that Oh, that's awesome because I did a CS degree, but this is actually the first time I tried to contribute to open source and it looks so different than what I know. And then which school you go or which University you go to. The curriculum is so different schools they're not faster than the other ones. So that also matters a lot. Do you think that degree is a good piece have paper but might not open as many doors like some people might think so

Pradip Khakhar

It's a it's a very interesting topic and I would say in the UK degrees cost maybe 1000, 2000, 3000 pounds max right? When I did my degree it was free. So in the US when universities are charging 40, 50, $60,000 a year, it becomes a different balance of Should I go to college or not? I agree with you that if you are going to be a doctor or lawyer, you need to go to college. because you cannot get into some professions Without having a degree And Being a doctor or lawyer is one of the professions, if you want to be a developer and that is what you really want to do. I think it comes down to being it's an individual decision if you want to go to college or not because you have to find a college, university That has a programme that you enjoy. Just because you have a computer science degree doesn't necessarily mean that it gives you the skills that you want or need in today's environment. So I would definitely say as a developer, have your own portfolio and have your own, you know what you've worked on what projects or communities you have contributed to and put it out there. Because as a developer, your experience is going to help you as a developer, should you go to college I think that's an individual thing, because at the age of 18 when you know You're thinking of going to college... when I was 18. It was free. In the UK Many people get degrees for much cheaper price than in the US. Should you spend 150, $200,000 getting a degree and then having to pay that back... tough conversation financially. Many people don't have that money. To go to college and they have to take loans out. And that's a whole different story and ballgame in the US. So I think it depends on what it is that You want to do if you're a developer, start developing things, start building things. Stop contributing to things. Have your own portfolio out there and network. With people network you know with the internet it's such a game changer. You know Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, your personal websites. build a network as soon as possible. And You don't have to be arrogant. But writing a cold dm or cold email is a skill in itself. And I'm not saying if someone doesn't reply back, you keep spamming them. But find out what that person is about what value you can give and what you're asking for. You know, I've gotten people on my show through Twitter, where I've just reached out started a conversation. And you know, next thing I know, I've invited them on my show. And that's exactly how we met too Fabio. We met on getmakerlog, and we interacted for a little bit when I was in the UK. I said, Hey, do you want to grab a coffee and I think we met at 10. And I was starting work at two and all of a sudden, we were just chatting for hours and I'm like, Damn, it's it's nearly two o'clock. I gotta get back to work. Right. So I think you know, I'm going on a bit of a tangent, but I think it's important that build your network and build your online presence. The early better, because that can help you open doors. Now, I'm not saying don't go to university. It's a decision that you have to make because I went to university I did electrical engineering with computer science, but as a minor, if you will. And do I regret doing it? No. But in the UK, like I said, education is much, much, much cheaper. It was free. In the US. I did an MBA, which cost me 120,000. And I'm paying it monthly right now. Do I need to go for the MBA did I need to? It's a balance. I've done it I spent 120,000 I'm paying for right now. Right. So it depends on what your goal as a developer is. I haven't been a developer for so many years. So I can't really speak about the career progression or how that works. But again, it depends Do you want to work as a developer for a large company, you want to be your own developer? There's a lot of questions that you should be asking yourself. It's not as simple as Should you go or should you not go? It depends on what your overall goal or aim is in life. And if you feel you want to go to college, have some fun, meet people and figure out if you really want to do something, that's okay, too. So it's a hard question for me to answer to be honest, Fabio.

Fabio Rosado

I think like you said, each person will have a different answer for this. And I enjoy studying not only the fact of solving a tough problem that made me fall in love for code, but also having to be always update and read things and learn things. I just love to learn. And four years ago, I was looking into changing my career and I thought, Okay, I will try to go back to university because I really enjoyed University.

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah,

Fabio Rosado

so I was looking for courses in UK and the cheapest one was, I believe it was 15,000 for three years. Okay, said well, 15,000 that's already half of the money that I need to put For a deposit for a house. Yeah. And for a developer position. I always said, if you have a good portfolio, you probably will get that position. And you hear so many people that they started self-taughts. Sure. Maybe the job searching is harder, but it's not impossible. Today I saw these twitter thread that people were saying, what do you think if you should have a CS degree if he helps or not? And I would say the overall consensus was sure, if you have a degree, a CS degree, it helps with that screening process. So the HR looks at your curriculum, and it says, a CS degree, and they asked you Okay, yeah, we're interested because you have a degree, so you probably know your thing. Then you are getting through the door a bit quicker than if you don't have that degree. Yeah. But then if you have an amazing portfolio, you probably don't need that degree. It just depends which company you are applying for. I don't have an amazing portfolio. Like I said, I have so many things in the oven at the moment where I still haven't created a good enough portfolio, in my opinion, to say, hey, I've done all of this, just give me a job. And I started looking for jobs applying for jobs. And it's been okay. So far, I wouldn't say it's been tough. I've I've started, I think two weeks now, obviously, I got some rejections. Some of them I expected already. One I didn't really expect, but it was for a remote position. And my opinion, a remote position is probably harder to get started. If you don't have a background. Like you said, one of the most important things Eva mentioned that on the previous episode, is the network is probably one of the biggest assets that you can have always the people that you know, that might say, oh, okay, yeah, I know this person. He's pretty cool or she's pretty cool. And they can do this or that and I work with them and maybe just talk to them and see what you think. Maybe you start replying, very enthusiastic, or you just click with with the person that I'm talking to. And without you even noticing, they say, Okay, well come for an interview, and let's just have a chat and see if you know your things or not.

Pradip Khakhar

When someone knows you, the interview is just a formality. They know you if they want to hire you or not, even before the interview, right, and the interview is just a formal process that they have to go through because the company makes them.

Fabio Rosado

Yeah, just out of curiosity. So let's say when you got that first job as a manager, you didn't have any previous experience as a product manager, right?

Pradip Khakhar

So I did it for myself when it wasn't really called Product Manager. So I had the experience myself. Not at a company, though. Correct. But if that's what you're asking it.

Fabio Rosado

So did you find it harder to work for a company that was asking for that role? Because they didn't have that experience? or How was that job searching moment.

Pradip Khakhar

So for me it was in healthcare and healthcare product managers are somewhat behind the industry, industry of product managers because healthcare is one of those industries where in general, things move slowly because it's so regulated. So as a product manager, because the industry is so regulated, the tech they are allowed to use and what they can't use because of regulations is limited in itself. So for me, I didn't feel overwhelmed. It was just a case of, again, just talking to people seeing what their roles are, what they do, and just building a rapport with them. Because working in the healthcare industry is different to working in tech industry where they can make quick changes on the fly. And every two days or three days, you can implement changes and things a little bit more faster. Whereas in the tech industry is a little bit more slower. And you have to go through various departments, legal is involved at many times, you have a compliance officer that you may need to go to So because you have to go through these different barriers for lack of a better word, healthcare industry, I felt that I knew from my experience the skills that I needed, but now I just have to adapt them to the healthcare industry.

Fabio Rosado

It makes a lot of sense. I think you were very smart at aiming at that particular industry first, because you you saw that the pace is not as fast as other industries, so that you might have a better chance at getting that position. Do you have any particular industry that you prefer working on or it's unrelated? It just depends on the product that you're managing?

Pradip Khakhar

I think it just depends on the product. I think, you know, if you understand the industry, if you understand the users you understand your competition, then the principles are somewhat similar that they can be adapted and not saying it's easy to do. It does take a lot of work, a lot of reading and a lot of understanding, but I'm saying it's not impossible.

Fabio Rosado

Let's say, as a junior developer, how can I be a great team member? And how can I help you, as a product manager?

Pradip Khakhar

Learn to communicate, right? You know, as a, as a developer, you have this amazing skill set to build things, but learn to communicate with the product manager. If you are, you know, seeing any red flags, I'm the kind of person that you can come approach me and say, Hey, I like what you're thinking here. But have we considered a b and c? the answer may be Yes. And went okay, taking that risk? Or the answer may be, Oh, you know what? I didn't think of that. But that's a very good point. And then you start adding value for that team. Because you're not somebody who just takes instructions, and then does their job and gives it back. You're actively communicating with a team in actively brainstorming. You're actively Being a part of the end product. So for me, I think as a junior developer, the technical skills are very, very important. Don't get me wrong. But I think at some point needs, junior developers need to start thinking about the soft skills, the ability to communicate, the ability to collaborate, and the ability to negotiate. Because I think those three skills are very important. You have to talk to other people, you have to work with other people. And then in terms of negotiations, in a in a business, there may be timelines, they may be deadlines, there may be, you know, we need this but the code dependencies on something else. So I think, as a junior developer, any developers and I'm not saying everybody, but many developers focus on improving their technical skills. And I think as a developer, yes, technical skills are important. But as you move up, to become a senior developer or whatever path that you choose. Soft skills are just if not more important.

Fabio Rosado

I have to say, I love that you just said that because last Sunday wehen I had to talk with Eva. She said exactly the same thing. That Okay, yeah. How to code a lot, you're amazing at coding, but don't know how to communicate with a team.

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah,

Fabio Rosado

you will add more valuable to the team if you know how to communicate than coding very well. And like you said, obviously, if you are being paid to do a particular job, and you don't know the technical skills to do that job you won't go that far either. So you need to find a balance. That's, I really enjoyed the idea that it's not just coe and thinking back in my case where I'm a self taught, and I only have to deal with myself. It's a bit daunting to think okay, there is so much that I still don't know, there's so much that I still want to learn. And sometimes I don't have that vision in saying okay, I can only do front end or I just going to improve front end becausethe way how I approach the developer world is I want to learn a little bit of everything.

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah,

Fabio Rosado

obviously, I might not, let's say get the job as a cybersecurity expert. But I love knowing stuff about cybersecurity as well. And I think knowing little bits of everything you can put it and mash it all together and make an amazing cake that you can use it on your day to day job, and all these little things that you learn just gives you more value and speaking, communication. It's all very, very important. I work every single day with different team members every single day have different customers as well. And looking back at when I started, so my very first day as a salesman, I was terrified. I couldn't understand people that well. I used to To say something and people would push back, others wouldn't. And I just went, Okay, so why did it work with that person, but not this person. And then with that experience, you start seeing all the signs and you start building a picture without things happening yet. Okay, yeah, with this person, this will work, but that person, one word, and I do that with my customers on board as well. I know exactly who you can sort of play as well, and who you need to be more professional. And it's very interesting. And I think, for other developers, or in this case, for junior developers, if you think that you don't have amazing communication skills, start talking to people, like you said, writing might be hard... Maybe not maybe speaking face to face with someone else. might be harder.

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah, practice it.

Fabio Rosado

But it's just starting and you'll start... with time you'll start seeing a pattern and you start understanding how other people react out, how can you communicate better.

Pradip Khakhar

And just to add, if it's a junior developer knows that they want to be a specialist in whatever language or you know, whatever platform or whatever it may be, that's fine too. You can be known as a specialist for whatever. Plus, having the the soft skills will only enhance your career. Because at a certain level, if you know when you're brainstorming with the team, if you can say, Have you thought about this, or have you considered this, to me that is so much more valuable than someone who just agrees with everything. I completely get in a team environment in a group environment, that they may not feel comfortable voicing their concerns or their opinions or whatever, I completely get that. And that's why I also believe in one on ones. You know, if you're in... a as a junior developer, if you're in a big meeting, and you see something that might be an issue down the road, or you want to say have you considered this and you don't feel comfortable saying it in a room full of people, that's okay. But then try to build that relationship with the manager, whoever, we can have those one on one conversations. And that's where I think from a good manager perspective, they should be open to having those one on one conversations, because they know that maybe that person isn't comfortable talking out in in a, in a live setting.

Fabio Rosado

That makes sense. And going back to the communication skills, your organize meetup, the product angle meetup as well. Correct?

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah, yeah,

Fabio Rosado

I think if you don't have that, communication skills, going to meetups, even trying to create your own meetup can be an excellent way not only to build your network, also practice your communication skills.

Pradip Khakhar

Absolutely.

Fabio Rosado

Let's say if even if you just want to practice your networking skills, you don't even have to go to a tech meetup, where you might not want to say something wrong to someone. You just want to practice, and it's sort of like going to a cocktail party, where you are invited is just a bit more relaxed, less formal. So you can just talk to people meet people. How was it organising your meetup? Was that your first meetup that you organised? Have you organised other meetups before?

Pradip Khakhar

So back in the day, even with my employer in the UK, because I was on this apprenticeship, they sent us to different events where we would talk about our experience to hire new apprentices. So from the beginning, I was trained to go out and talk to people and I went on courses on public speaking. And you know, I feel very fortunate that I got this opportunity when I was 16. So they really helped develop not only the technical skills, but also the soft skills and I remember sitting in workshops on public speaking So I've been doing something with people meetups and things like that, right from the age of 17. In the beginning, I admit, I was very scared. The first event I did, it was like a employment workshop where all these students from secondary school, we're looking into what career they want to do. So it was a big hole, all these different companies and students and their parents would come by, and we would tell them that, hey, I'm an apprentice with this company. I left school at 16. I'm currently going to school with with the company, and you basically talk about your experiences. And in the beginning, I was scared, because the parents are watching the kids are there and you know, just nervous. And you I still get nervous at times. But over time, you realise that it's people, and it's your story. And there'll be people that like it, there'll be people that won't like it, and it's just... you just gotta do what you got to do. And over time you become more and more confident. Like right now, there are times, like I said, when I feel nervous about talking sometimes there are times when I think, what am I doing? And at the end of the day, I think, okay, I'm trying to add this value for this subset of people, if I can connect with somebody hopefully that they will get some value out of it. So I've been running a couple of workshops for a college recently. And at the end, I would get a couple of students reach out and say, Hey, can I talk to you about this? Can I talk to you about this? So I'm like, Yeah, I mean, like I and I tell him, I don't know everything. But I can tell you what my experiences are what I think, and it's your decision to take that information and how you want I'm not an expert in many things, but I have some experience and I can talk about some things. And as you practice it, you get better and better and better. And and if you look at my earlier podcasts, and my Earlier, meetup shows, I'm nervous and I still am to an extent. But as you keep doing it, you'll get better and better.

Fabio Rosado

It gets easier. I think it's all about experience. Like I say, let's not forget that the most scary thing that you can do is public speaking. That is where most people would rather die than to face 300 people and speak about stuff.

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah.

Fabio Rosado

And you know, I remember the first month when I started streaming, I was working on the thumbs up news, which is a project where I trained a classifier to classify news headlines and get positive news. On the website.

Pradip Khakhar

The one you launched on the on the product angle show!

Fabio Rosado

Exactly. And I remember the first... the first month every single time I was going live, that first half an hour. It was so terrified. I'm like, oh, man, I'm not sure I was sweaty and everything Which is very weird because you know, every single day I have at least 300 people that I am faced and I can be at the front of the plane, grab the interphone and just talk to the customers. And it's fine. But streaming was very stressful. And now I can just press start broadcasting or start streaming and it's fine. And I just do my thing. I always like to start my streams by just talking about something. What I'm going to do today is just that experience. I remember the first time when I became a flight attendant, they... we always say or more experienced flight attendants they always say, Okay, if you're new, you don't have to go to the front of the plane and make the PA. So you can just stay the back. Now one is going to see you

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah,

Fabio Rosado

and you can do your PA and you still feel very, very scared and nervous that you are saying things and you can hear yourself and it's very stressful. And then after the first month, you're just like, yeah, it's fine I'll go to the front and its fine. and which streaming over the same thing. I'm trying to start recording things. And again, I feel very stressed and I just can't get my words out. And it's just silly because recording and streaming are pretty much the same thing. So it makes no sense because I can just code and talk through what I'm doing. But then if I'm thinking that I am recording, I just get stressed.

Pradip Khakhar

I mean, at the end of the day, what's the worst that can happen right someone's gonna say that this was not a good show or this was not a good episode or whatever, right, or if you're talking to somebody. What's the worst that can happen and I get that in reality there are people that put harsh. Very crappy comments on videos and in reality in the physical world. If you talk to somebody, they can push back and you know bite your head off and I get that that can be a little scary, but at the end of the day it's their problem if someone types in a negative comment online. It's because something in their life is negative, or if you approach somebody in a physical world. And at an office maybe for example when we can. And they, you know, say something negative back to you because you walked over to their desk and you know you said something. It's their problem right at the end of the day, as long as you have good intent, and we're being courteous, right, if someone says no rejection can be hard, but that's something that you have to develop and, you know, call it a thick skin if you will.

Fabio Rosado

I agree with that. And like you said, I'd say, it'd be 99% of the time. The problem is not you. The problem is the other person. Maybe they are going through some problems in their lives. Maybe they just are a little bit envious of what you're doing, and they are not or, I don't know, there's so many, so many reasons why someone would say something extremely negative, as in a toxic way.

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah,

Fabio Rosado

Whilst maybe if you talk with that person in real life, they would say, oh no I didn't mean that. Sometimes it's just like venting the frustration,

Pradip Khakhar

yeah

Fabio Rosado

and also one thing that I've learned from day one that I started as a salesman was if you approach, everything by being humble and by saying, okay, I might screw up. And if you know that you're screwing up you just say, I'm really sorry this is not going well. You want me to keep on going. You want me to stop. I will try to get better. And a lot of times, I would say, maybe. Most of the times I've said that the person or group A under students okay now it's fine, it's not kind of going as bad as you think anyway, because in your heads, you're always very negative towards yourself so you notice things going worse than what actually, you are doing, because we are the worse, people to judge ourselves. We see as by a very negative and very no your needs to do better, and other people are doing much more interesting things or they are at their speakers or, you know, and it's fine to be humble

Pradip Khakhar

ever, ever everyone starts at zero, and everyone else.

Fabio Rosado

And everybody messes up eventually happens.

Pradip Khakhar

It's, it's, I think it's a journey where you learn. And I don't know if failing is the right word but it's a journey where you learn something, maybe something doesn't go according to what you want it to be. But you've learnt it so you can improve and the best way I think that you could say this is people who make videos streaming or whatever. The first few are going to be not that great, but it's, as you start progressing, things get better because you're improving all the time and everyone starts at zero.

Fabio Rosado

Yep. And, you know, it's okay to fail. The important thing and I would say that to people when they approach me when when I'm on the plane so I could never do that. Like whenever I face customers I can never deal with a complaint or I could never deal with a disruptive event and say you know what, you have to go through that is fine. You just have to build that resilience. And when you are a developer, when you are trying to create a product, when you are trying to start a company, when you are just creating things. Things will suck plain and simple. And you know what maybe you have 10 products, and maybe none of them will be good or none of them will be successful. But the thing is, and you hear that from other entrepreneurs, is all you have to do is keep trying, is your resilience of bouncing back at you can improve and you can get better and eventually you will fail so much that you will learn so much that you know okay yeah maybe this probably is not going the way I want. So I'm going to change already because you already had these 10, 100 failures that you've done in the past.

Pradip Khakhar

I mean, the only examples are you look at Twitter when it first started look at the homepage, back then and look at the homepage now. Right. You don't need to have the best product out there because it took Twitter, let's say, at least 10, 15 years to get where they are today. Right. And that's learning over time. So, if they thought that hey, our webpage looks really crappy in 2006 or whatever when they whenever they came out with they have come out. No, because if the founders were too busy trying to make it perfect. They may not have released for a very long time. So I think that you should release something out there, get feedback and constantly improve it because that's the best way to make something that people want and need.

Fabio Rosado

I agree, 100%. I remember, I mentioned that to one of my viewers on the stream, they were saying, Oh, I need to try to make everything perfect and everything good I said well you know just really should have a sort of an MVP so something that you can actually show and then see how well things go. And then you with the feedback from people using your product, you know exactly what you need to improve and know exactly which direction you want to take or which direction you will take your product.

Pradip Khakhar

Definitely I mean, I'm... you know, I think we're all guilty of it at times because you want to put something out in the world that is good, but at the same time, at least for me, you feel... will you get judged will your people think that less of you because you've put something that isn't quality, and at the end of the day, you can't get better. Unless you start putting things out there and when I first started the podcast, it was in 2018, I recorded 18 episodes, and I was too focused on creating an intro having a you know Intro Music having maybe an outro music and I was just too focused on making it perfect that I didn't release any of those episodes and I said, you know, let me just stream it and see where it goes. And that's what I've been doing,

Fabio Rosado

how is that going by the way, is it good Very well?

Pradip Khakhar

yeah i mean i like it i mean it's that's that some episodes we get good attendance some episodes, you don't something that new I've started, I enjoy it

Fabio Rosado

I think even with the streaming, it's just like that. Sometimes I'm working on something that its not particularly interesting, and I have lots of people coming in. Other times, I'm worried something really interesting, and there's no one coming in.

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah,

Fabio Rosado

so it's, it's one of those things that you're doing something online where you have so many things happening, and so many choice. And you might not have someone now but you will have in the future. So it's never something that you have lost

Pradip Khakhar

through that I've gotten to speak to many amazing product managers, engineers, I've building up network. So for me, it's been one of the best experiences, and how are you finding it you've recently started this landing in tech, how is your experience been so far?

Fabio Rosado

so far it's been very, very good. I've been enjoying it so much.

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah,

Fabio Rosado

I didn't expect that it would take me so long to edit an episode, I'm going to be honest.

Pradip Khakhar

Yeah,

Fabio Rosado

and last episode I had an issue with my audio I still don't know what happened, but my blue Yeti was on but it wasn't going to OBS. So there was a lot of issues so then I had to start using the camera and the audio wasn't great. But the main reason why I wanted to start landing in tech is because I really enjoy learning about other people and learning how they got started, and learning through their experiences, I always put myself in their shoes. And I kind of always go through what they've been through. And that's such a good thing, and I can imagine, new, let's say, back in a little basement coding something and doing something, and struggling, looking back at myself and say yeah, I've been through the same sort of thing. struggles the same problems. And when you start talking with other people you start realising that you know we are just people, everybody's still going through the same things everybody has similar problems or similar, fears, and it's okay. The thing is, with the landing in tech, I've also really enjoy podcasting, because I created this impossible list. It's sort of to do list all the things I want to do when I become old. So all the things I want to do

Pradip Khakhar

A bucket list.

Fabio Rosado

Yes, exactly. So it's. Have a podcast, have a book. Learn lockpicking because it seems cool going on a balloon ride, skydiving all these kind of things and weirdly enough. I didn't really think about turning it into a podcast. I just thought I would like to have some guests on my stream it should be. I think it would be cool. And then, that kind of evolved into becoming a podcast and say well you know i have the audio. And I'm paying for the Creative Cloud so might as well just take time out, and turn it into the podcast, and it's been really really fun. I've been getting some good feedback with the episodes that I've been recording. This is also the third episode I just didn't expect it will take this long to edit a podcast, even yesterday I was finishing off the transcript, I'm using otter.ai.

Pradip Khakhar

Okay.

Fabio Rosado

And you can just add a audio file. It gets you all the text, and it's amazing. And then you can start press play it goes through all the words in your text and you can change them and adapted. so working on every transcript, it took me three hours and a half, so it's... the episode is one hour and 10 minutes and it took me hours and a half, just to check through all of that.

Pradip Khakhar

I believe that I can, I can believe that it takes it takes a long time.

Fabio Rosado

Definitely, let's say, imagine that you are looking at a 16 year old Pradip.

Pradip Khakhar

Yes.

Fabio Rosado

What kind of piece of advice would you give him?

Pradip Khakhar

build online presence earlier, because I didn't build my online presence, I mean I had LinkedIn, but other than that I was relatively unknown online until 2018, so no portfolio, you know, I had a bunch of notes and I didn't really have an online presence, until 2018 so work in public have an online presence, build your network online, because, you know, for me, I've been a little bit more old fashioned in that sense where growing businesses and shaking people's hands and doing that kind of stuff, whereas online, you know you can meet so many people that are not in your local area right when you go out and meet people are limited to your local area. Online I've met people from all over the world. And it's something I wished I started out

Fabio Rosado

makes a lot of sense already but like to thank you so much for taking the time of your Sunday to speak with me, and to share your journey and knowledge, and everything about project management. I definitely took a lot from this talk, and I've understood a little bit more as well. What is the role of a product manager, and like I said I didn't think that I could just be one so hopefully if someone is listening they might say, Oh, cool. I might not want to go through all the thing maybe I can bring some other assets to a company so maybe I can start doing what you've done, was started working as a product manager straightaway. And it was fine.

Pradip Khakhar

Like I said, build your own path.

Fabio Rosado

Thank you so much and I hope you have a good Sunday.

Pradip Khakhar

Thank you, you too.