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The dance of product and growth within a startup, from idea through acquisition into enterprise :: with Jenna Langer

In this episode of Ventures, my guest Jenna Langer (https://www.linkedin.com/in/langerjenna/) and I discuss the nuances of product and growth from the perspective of an early stage startup (Livefyre) all the through acquisition by Adobe. We talk about Jenna’s entrepreneurial story, wearing many hats, team composition strategies, the skill stack of a product manager, professional life in an enterprise, and lessons for startup founders.

You can watch this episode below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts (search for “Ventures”).

In this episode we cover the following:

1:10 - Jenna intro, journey from preparing for work with startups, through building a startup, through being acquired by Adobe, to now working again with startups.

5:59 - What was Jenna up to personally and professionally that prepared her for startups?

12:08 - Intuition around “why Livefyre” ?.. Why did Jenna choose to invest her time into the new startup?

15:40 - Wearing many hats. What was Jenna’s story of the hats she wore to help the company grow in the early stages?

18:51 - From an education standpoint, how does Jenna think about “product” vs. “design” vs. “product management”?

22:00 - re: Startup Rocket (appreciate the shout-out). The importance of learning from others. Team composition design and nuances. Where does Jenna see common holes in early stage startup teams?

26:44 - What did the support structure around the core team of Jenna’s startup look like? (investors, advisors, supportive customers, etc…)

28:36 - Thinking you are good at product and then realizing you aren’t. How do you “teach product”?

33:10 - The skill stack for a product manager. Worth re-listening to the previous section. How does Jenna think about the “growth” part of the product/growth dance?

38:09 - The concept of a “local maxima” - what if we are climbing the wrong hill? How does Jenna think about the dangers of climbing the wrong hill regarding product vision?

42:37 - The desire to “pause” and identity and solve problems. The pitfalls of running too fast that break things.

45:05 - Discussion about Jenna’s work in Adobe. What was attractive to Adobe about Livefyre?

47:56 - Was the transition into enterprise life like for Jenna after the acquisition?

51:21 - Holistically, from the frame of going from startups to enterprises, what are the things to learn? What can startups learn after going into enterprises after an acquisition?

55:27 - Learning from Jenna’s holistic story. What’s next for Jenna?

59:53 - Where can people find Jenna online? https://www.linkedin.com/in/langerjenna/ //  http://www.jennalanger.com/