If I had to summarize the responsibility of a product manager into a single phrase, it would be: decide what to build.

Put yourself in the shoes of the product manager for Spotify Premium. She could invest in making song playback smoother, make following artists faster or develop new perks for members. What does she build and how does she choose?

The answer lies in creating a product strategy. This is a framework that helps answer tough questions like “Should we build feature X or feature Y?” or “How can we improve our product?”

The key components of a product…

A simple principle to maximize learnings and results

This article was first shared in my weekly newsletter where I write about product management, navigating your career and frameworks for solving life’s ambiguous problems. Sign up here for articles right in your inbox. 😊 🚀

tl;dr without executing a plan religiously to the parameters set at the outset, you will never know if the strategy worked. This principle is known as Perfect Execution. Applying it can help you learn quicker and move closer to your goals.

Imagine this: you set a goal to lose 15 pounds. Your friends have been raving about Keto (a low carb, high fat diet)…

Doubling down on self-control, deliberate actions and the offline world.

I went on a hike a few weeks ago and it started to pour. Fortunately, I brought my rain jacket so I tossed it on and put my phone in my pocket to protect it from water damage. Unfortunately, “waterproof” doesn’t mean “moisture-proof” and my phone was out of commission. No amount of uncooked rice was going to save it this time.

My four-year journey of personal growth, career pivots and life lessons

August 27th, 2014, I received my first salaried job offer to become a Sandwich Artist at Subway. Just over four years later, I accepted my offer to join Facebook as a Product Manager in their Rotational Product Manager Program. Even writing that down, I still can’t believe it and I’m so excited to get started.

I wanted to share the story of the last four years for two reasons:

  1. To share the lessons I learned at key parts of the journey, and
  2. To show the work that went on behind the scenes of something I’m really proud of

It wasn’t…

Source: Michigan Daily

My journey to define a modern masculinity through hip-hop

When I was growing up, some of my favourite artists were Sean Paul, Kanye West, and Eminem. These men became role models for me, as their larger than life personas addressed topics that I didn’t often talk about with other men in my life. Sean Paul showed me how to be the life of the party, Kanye taught me to aggressively chase my dreams and Eminem showed me how to be strong even when you’re struggling inside. Together, these artists (and hip-hop more generally) fed me the well-accepted version of masculinity that society largely accepts: bravado, womanizing, and the ability…

A guide for those in business, marketing or strategy roles in tech.

If you want to work in tech, you’ll be surrounded by tons of data, be it marketing campaign open rates, in-App user activities, or network performance. According to The Economist, data has become the new oil, with companies ramping up their data collection and analytics teams in order to optimize their platforms and create “data-driven strategies”.

I became a part of this trend during my internship on the Global Growth Strategy & Brand team at Tumblr. I needed to understand how our users interacted with the platform internationally in order to move the needle on user growth, retention, and monetization…

Two weeks ago, I finished my four month internship in the Microsoft Garage program. The unique format of this internship found teams of six interns — 5 developers and 1 UX Designer — working on an experimental project for a Microsoft sponsor, like Azure, Hololens, or Cortana. Over the course of 4 months, we were responsible for scoping our project, building it from scratch, and having fun along the way. That last part was probably the easiest one…


I think my Instagram page is pretty damn cool.

Recently, I have been posting a lot of pictures from my summer internship at Sunteng in Guangzhou, China as part of the Cansbridge Fellowship. A friend of mine recently commented on a picture of one of my adventures saying:

Your life is so cool!!! #goals

This comment made me realize how much of a hypocrite I’ve become.

In my last post, I spoke to the tourist mindset; one that goes to scenic spots, takes a neat picture and leaves without truly understanding cultural depth. This mindset has always seemed shallow to me and in my travels I have purposely tried…

If you’ve ever been on Facebook, you’ve probably seen amazing pictures of your friends travelling; pictures of them petting a tiger, tanning on the beach or at a world-famous landmark. This is exactly what I anticipated for my four-month journey to China this summer. But once I was on the plane from Vancouver to Guangzhou, I knew that it wasn’t going to be the case. Those pictures are from tourists; my experience would be as a local.

The journey I am currently on requires me to buy fish from the gory fish markets, learn basic Chinese to haggle with vendors…

Will Lawrence

Product Manager @ Facebook | I like tech, video games and asking tough questions Moving writing to substack: willlawrence.substack.com

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