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Technical product management, architecting a growing product team, and deeply understanding your customer’s needs :: with David Pierce

In this episode of Ventures, my guest David Pierce (https://www.linkedin.com/in/daviddpierce/) and I dive deep into the technical side of product management through his personal story. In a growing startup, not only is “product” relatively misunderstood, but embracing the nuances between the growth and technical sides of product management is often completely missed. In our conversation, we talk at length about how founders and enterprise managers alike can best elevate their technical product operations to achieve business success.

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:

2:00 - David intro, background, extended professional journey, jumping into engineering, program management, and ultimately technical product management at Moz to help solve business problems and drive desired outcomes.

26:44 - Questions about team responsibilities and composing the players of a growing startup. "Discoverers, stabilizers, and scalers" as general values among engineers you'd find at a growing organization. He early formation of these ideas he writes about here: https://www.thedahv.com/blog/thinking-about-your-next-job/ 

27:57 - What David did as a kid, his international journey, his education (https://raikes.unl.edu), and his preparation for getting into the tech world.

39:06 - The need for “product” professionals in a growing startup. Why are “technical” product managers necessary? outcomes vs capabilities. See more at: https://www.thedahv.com/blog/product-compositional-atoms/ 

48:55 - Is it overly simplistic to say that the more “technical” a product is...then the more the need for a technical product manager is?

54:17 - The story of helping to build out https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/ with Walter Thorn and collaborations with WA Dept. of Health, Microsoft, Starbucks, and other enterprise partners.

1:01:47 - Shout out to Walter Thorn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/walterthorn/), and a question for David: What are helpful and not-helpful things that David sees with people he reports to? (the value of RACI into stakeholder management, David has also written about a tool he developed to use in conversations with his manager here: https://www.thedahv.com/blog/maintaining-product-manager-project-portfolio/ )

1:06:14 - How is David thinking about the future? What questions is he pursuing these days? Note from David: “Aforementioned post about career planning with "values triangle" https://www.thedahv.com/blog/thinking-about-your-next-job/ // And something that really helped me that I failed to say in the podcast. Someone asked me "do you want to be a software engineer that leans product, or a product manager that leans software". I realized in the former, dealing with customers would only be an extra-curricular activity and never my job. So I chose product.”

1:10:03 - What roles/responsibilities does a CTO have that are less exciting to David personally (and why does he prefer the technical product manager role)?

1:13:04 - Where can people find David online? https://www.thedahv.com/ // https://www.linkedin.com/in/daviddpierce/ (also @thedahv on most of the socials)