Marty Cagan from Silicon Valley Product Group and author of Inspired and Empowered, generously gave his time to answer questions about product — from breaking into product, doing well when you start, changing careers into product, and being a better product leader and coaching execs.

Here’s notes from the session:

What makes you a great product manager if you don’t have experience?

Extra years isn’t automatically good…

Pretend Product is a series of musings on a product that should exist in the world or improvements I’d offer to an already existing product


  • Press spacebar to play / pause what’s on like Netflix does.
  • Hover a tile to add to list instead of having to click the tile and get sent to a new page just for a single action.
Imagine a plus button and other actions here instead of just the movie thumbnail


  • Only count towards my limit if I actually read the piece instead of…

It’s really simple and you’re overcomplicating it to procrastinate on getting started

People mention to me all of the time about how engaged I am on LinkedIn even though I am honestly not doing that much.

My engagement comes down to the same 4 responses: Thank you for sharing!, <copying a line that stood out to me from the post in quotes>…

Impostor syndrome is typically associated with high achievers. So, if you feel like a fraud, the chances are that you’re more capable than you think.

Impostor syndrome will have you thinking that you got to where you are because you managed to fool someone else into thinking you deserve something that you actually weren’t qualified for.

Imagine yourself telling all the people you think you have fooled about how you tricked them. …

Winners and losers have the same goals

My notes are in italics, grouped by topic, with some context provided underneath the quotes.


The mere act of tracking behavior motivates you to change it

People don’t lack motivation; they lack mental clarity. Make a specific implementation plan.

MAKE IT (the new habit) NORMAL

You can’t stick to positive habits in a negative environment.


It has a lot of hype and as with every product, it could use a lot of help


I asked that question every day when I continued to see people on Slack requesting invites.

I describe it as ‘interactive podcasts’ where you get to be a fly on the wall as people speak about topics you care about. …


Product manager | Leading with empathy.

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