Office Hours: I am a product manager at Quibi and former director of product at Disney and ESPN. I'm Katie Tomezsko.Featured

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Thanks so much for joining us @KatieTomezsko!Elphas – please ask @KatieTomezsko your questions before Friday, September 4th. @KatieTomezsko may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hi Katie! Thanks for joining. It would be great to learn about your journey into PM- it seems many PMs follow a similar route in, namely, engineering/computer dev. I’m personally from a commercial/financial background. What key skills or experience would you suggest aspiring PMs develop to be both noticed (not ghosted!) by prospective employers and be able to excel in the role? Thank you!
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Hi Aurelia211!Thanks so much for the great question! In order to get noticed by prospective employers, I’d recommend highlighting the ways that some of your current responsibilities are similar to that of a PM. Do you deeply understand a particular market or industry? Do you work cross-functionally, even if it’s only on a smaller project? Have to make decisions with incomplete information? How do you leverage available data to inform your strategy? In what ways do you put your end users first? Another way to get noticed when you're applying to new jobs is to tailor your resume it to the job to which you're applying. It's may also be helpful to be narrow your search for a new role on a particular industry. If you’re already in commercial/finance, it might make sense to focus on e-commerce, fintech, ads, or marketing rather than just trying to be a PM in any area.When you first start out as a PM the best way to excel is to become the subject matter expert - know the product or part of the product you’re responsible inside and out, backwards and forwards. This doesn’t just mean how it’s built, it means how it’s built and designed, and utilized by users, and how it generates revenue. You want to be the person that people can count on to be able to represent your product well in any room. So that means when you’re talking to Eng, you have to be able to represent your users, designers, and the business, etc and when you’re talking to the business you have to be able to represent Eng, QA, PJMs, design, etc.One common hesitation I've seen is from folks who don't have a technical background, and if that's the case I'd highly recommend Harvard’s CS50. There’s the full course (https://cs50.harvard.edu/x/2020/), or the “business professionals” version (https://cs50.harvard.edu/business/2017/) - both are free.Best of luck in your journey!
Quibi launched at an interesting time, to say the least. How have you and your team reacted or changed course due to the impacts of the pandemic?
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Jeffrey Katzenberg famously told the NY Times "I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus." How do you explain the fact that Netflix's popularity skyrocketed simultaneously, and how does the disparity in content length and format inform your strategy and product during the pandemic and beyond?
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I have heard some great things about the culture at Disney. How was it on the tech side? What are some unique things that made Disney successful according to you?
KatieTomezsko's profile thumbnail
Hi VS! Disney was a fantastic experience! Given the size and scope of the company, it’s a great place to learn as well. Because there are so many different facets to the technology and the applications of technology there is always something new and exciting to learn, and the collaboration across the various tech groups was always improving. I think the most unique thing about Disney is the passion that everyone has for the company and the brand - it’s not uncommon to find people who’ve been there 25 years or more, and who are still as passionate about Disney as the day they started. That passion channels well into creating great products and experiences, which I think can often be seen and felt by users. It really is a magical place.
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Thanks for answering @KatieTomezsko! I wish I can experience the magical work culture sometime myself :)
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Hi Katie! I currently work in Customer Success (specifically training and on boarding) but am looking to pivot forwards product someday soon. Specifically UX design to start. Do you have any advice or suggestions on resources to start learning?
KatieTomezsko's profile thumbnail
Hi Piper! Sounds like your experiences in training and onboarding will lend itself well to Product or UX Design! In terms of best places to learn, dribbble (https://dribbble.com) is an amazing online community - and while not specifically a learning tool, I think it’s great to get a sense for latest trends and where design is going. As a UX person you’ll need to understand the platforms you’re designing for, so reading technical design docs like the HOW'S IT GOING? (https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/) and Material Design Guidelines (https://material.io/design/guidelines-overview) can be really instructive. Additionally, there’s a ton of great podcasts - UI Breakfast (https://uibreakfast.com) is one of my favs, and hosted by a woman! I would note though that those roles are in most places probably fairly different. As a UX designer, you’ll spend a lot of time with product and user research, and probably some time with eng and marketing, but it will likely be less cross functional and less product strategy. In Product you’ll spend your days with more varied groups, determining strategy, making decisions about the product based on data, user research, and intuition, etc. So, as you consider your next move, make sure you’re heading toward something you’ll really love doing, as it’s always easiest to do great work when you’re happy doing it.Best of luck!
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Hi Katie -- thank you for doing this! Your experience sounds like quite the journey! 1. What technologies are you excited to incorporate in product management? What technologies have not failed you in the past? 2. Why did you choose to get into entertainment?3. What is Quibi or your team doing to help systemic racism within the industry?
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Hello! What are some adjacent roles that an experienced product manager might find interesting? I have 10 years of startup PM experience and am wondering what else I should explore. I’ve learned that I’m probably an introvert, as meetings wipe me out. Are there other non-technical job functions with fewer meetings and more IC time?
Hi Katie!What would you say to a new MBA candidate deciding between CPG brand Management or Product Management? They are so similar but SO different. It’s hard to know what will be the better suited position.
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Hi Katie! Do you have advise on how someone can become director of product from an experienced creative director / head of product design background? Thanks so much!
Hi Katie! What advice would you give to establishing a shift towards a “product mindset” within an existing, large organization?
Thank you Katie! Excited to hear your story :) What are the most rewarding and most challenging parts about being a PM?
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I just want to know- what mind-altering substance led to the creation of Golden Arm?! More seriously, what is the creative process like at Quibi and how do you decide which content ideas are on brand?
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Product has changed quite a bit since the launch, from disabling screenshots to accessing videos on mobile only. How has the initial 90-day trial given you insights to refine and adapt? Also, what's it like working with Jeff and Meg?
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Hi Katie!! In streaming, content is a big factor in so many of the metrics such as acquisition and retention. Do you find that items the product team executed on are driven more by the content or business teams or does product strategy influence those teams? How do those 3 parts of the business work together at a media tech company?
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Hi Katie! I would love to hear how you apply a combination of your past experiences (product, sports & entertainment) in your current role. I have a background in live streaming, product ops and worked in ad tech for 5 years. I'm working on combining them begin a new phase in my career path. There are a lot of people rebranding and updating their resumes. I hope this resonates with other Elphas too!
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Hi Katie, thank you for taking the time here!Would love to hear what unexpected challenges you face as a newer entrant to a streaming industry that is being dominated by incumbents.
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Hi Katie, Great to meet you virtually. Would love to hear what Quibi is doing on the side of monetization and if there is an interest in shoppable contextual commerce?Lori