Ski week in Bend, Oregon

This is a vacation week, so I'm doing a Top Ten list of the top upvoted questions, along with answers I shared over the last month.

Last Saturday, my wife and I drove eight hours from San Francisco to Bend, Oregon. We are downhill, backcountry, and nordic skiing this week. While I am on vacation, I’m sharing answers to the top-voted questions I answered in the past month.

I had five hundred new readers this week— thanks for subscribing— so this is a way for you to discover my past essays. If you’d like to ask a question or help me to decide which questions are most relevant, click the button below:

Ask & Upvote Questions

Top Ten Upvoted Questions & Answers

1) When is it time to move to a new company to advance your career? What do you lose by staying at the same company for a long time? (100 upvotes)

Short answer: Make a change when your current job satisfaction is low, and you expect that your job satisfaction at the new company will be substantially higher. Click here for the complete answer.

2) How do you best prepare for Head of Product/Product Director roles? (92 upvotes)

Short answer: Understand the product and leadership skills required to do the job and how they develop as you climb the leadership ladder. Click here to learn the specific skills you need to develop at each rung of this ladder.

3) How do you tie the company strategy with your product strategy? (77 upvotes)

Short answer: The "GLEE" model helps you form a product vision that connects the company and product strategy. Click here to learn more about GLEE, along with lots of examples.

4) How do you handle CEO "pet projects?" Especially when they are clearly bad ideas? (77 upvotes)

Short answer: Find the balance between obstinance & indulgence, and learn to debate, decide & do. Click here to read my complete answer.

5) As a PM, how do I best work with other department's bosses? Sometimes, they'll push the decision based on their "power/ego" and not "data/objective" thinking. (69 upvotes)

Short answer: Assume the best in people and ask questions to uncover the disagreement's assumptions and intent. Then learn to debate, decide, and do. Learn more here.

6) What books do you recommend to learn more about product management and product strategy? (55 upvotes)

Short answer: I list my favorite strategy, product management, and startup books, plus additional online resources here.

7) In your experience, what differentiates good product managers from exceptional PMs? (40 upvotes)

Short answer: Required PM skills differ, depending on category, stage & role. I've outlined characteristics common to the role and the stages PMs grow through to become exceptional. Click here to see the skills and stages.

8) How do you build up skills in product strategy? (27 upvotes)

Short answer: Through practice. Learn to apply the Strategy/Metric/Tactic framework to your product, no matter how small, or large your product area is. Click here to learn more about the SMT framework.

9) I have an offer for a job with a lower-level title but a significantly higher salary. How much should I care about the title? (25 upvotes)

Given that titles are non-standard from one company to the next, focus on total compensation and the long-term growth opportunity. Click here to learn more.

10) What do you recommend to a PM who is strong on product skills but weak in leadership skills? (23 upvotes)

Answer: Leadership is a practiced art. There are lots of ways to exercise the skills before you take on your first formal leadership role. Click here to learn more about leadership skills and how to practice them.

Kristen and I will be back in San Francisco (Burlingame) in time to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday. I will publish more answers Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of next week.



Gibson Biddle

PS. Since Monday, I have had 500 new sign-ups! I’m working to jumpstart a virtuous cycle: More readers >> more questions >> more upvotes >> more relevant content>>more readers. If you’re not a subscriber yet, here’s your chance: