Path to product management
Kevin Washington is the Director of Product Management for Experimentation & Customer Feedback Experiences at Best Buy and has a broad background of experience at omnichannel retailers.
He is also an Adjunct Professor at Morehouse College where he teaches Product Management to Business and CS students. Kevin’s passions are deeply rooted in creating equitable opportunities for students and that has led him to sit on the board of two annual hackathons that target historically Black colleges & universities and Hispanic serving institutions respectively.
Marc: How are you doing today, Kevin?
Kevin: Doing really well. I really appreciate y’all taking the time to watch out today.
Marc: We’re glad to have you. Where exactly in the world are you calling from?
Kevin: I’m calling from Atlanta, Georgia currently.
Marc: Nice. Is it cold weather yet in Atlanta or not?
Kevin: It’s right in between. We’re halfway between. Some days it’ll be 70. Other days it’ll be 40. It just depends. You know how that goes.
Marc: Yeah, right now you’re kind of lucky. I’m in New York right now. I already got the big cold out. So enjoy the nice weather while you can.
Kevin: I gotta do my best.
Marc: I know the audience would love to learn a bit more about you. So to kick it off, I just have some questions regarding your background. You know, where were you born and raised? What was childhood like? What was your family dynamics? You know, feel free to answer me in any order you want.
Kevin: For sure. I mean, I guess to kick it off, I was born and raised in San Jose, California. Mom, dad, pretty much the regular lower middle class family. Grew up in East Side, San Jose. My father was a carpenter and ended up building models for NASA. These days he’s a big part of why I have the mentality that I do because he worked his way up from being a carpenter. I think he ended up getting a contract with Next Computers when Steve Jobs was doing that and built some models for him. And then ended up at NASA building the models that they actually use in the wind tunnels to test and see, hey, what would this actually look like if we launch this and put it on Mars, right? For some of the rovers.
And now he has a desk job where he’s over one of the wind tunnels as a project coordinator. So yeah, great guy. That’s nice. Is it safe to say your father was one of the figures in your life that motivated you to pursue the career you’re in? What’s really funny, he was happy as long as I wasn’t in jail or on drugs, realistically. So he wasn’t, no one in my family ever went to school, right? My grandma lives in Kentucky, grew up extremely poor, made it out to California. She worked in invalid homes as a nurse. My father grew up one of more. And I mean, he was a carpenter.
He worked with his hands all his life. And even when he did get to the point where he could go back and get a degree because NASA was paying for it, it wasn’t something that he pushed really heavily on to me. He didn’t have like a goal in mind for where my life or my career should go. He just wanted me to be healthy and happy. And so he was always extremely supportive of anything that I wanted to do. When I told him that I wanted to go to school in Mississippi, after already having, you know, had already had, I want to say an extensive career that already put six or seven years into working in startups and working in retail and do it, do it a bunch of stuff where it’s like, yeah, you could make a career out of any of this.
And I think I’m just going to leave all of this and go back to school in Mississippi and start over see if I can get where I really want to be. He was always super supportive, meant the world to me because not a lot of people were because it sounds crazy on paper. I definitely get that. And then can you walk me through, you know, the start of when you started getting interested in technology innovation, you know, what was your finding a road to get here? Or what were the challenges you were facing? I know, I saw a lot. So if you could start off, you know, the start of your career, you know, how did you get here? Yeah, I guess take it all the way back to the very beginning. Like shout out to Eastside Union High School District.
And the fact that they had a magnet program, because it meant that I got to go to a school where the focus was business and technology. And so they taught me how to do graphic design, I got to get my hands on Illustrator in design, Photoshop, and learn how to use those in high school. And then same thing with web development classes, like learning how to build a web pages. There’s a game design class like things that got my hands on technology really early in my life. And I think that really set me up for success. But it was actually interesting.
A lot of this started in high school, because the first black entrepreneur that I ever met, I met because he came to speak at my school. And that kind of became the kernel of influence that changed my life, where I started following him around and figuring out, hey, what did you do to get to where you are, and started acting as his assistant when he would do events. And then he needed a marketing coordinator. So I started figuring out everything I could about marketing. And then I started learning about SEO and SEM and working with other founders. Once he had kind of moved on to write his next book, I kind of moved into just whatever I could find in technology.
And I loved it. Didn’t pay the bills. So I also worked retail for about seven years at the same time. But yeah, it was a fun. It was a fun period of my life for sure. It sounds like you had some great mentors within your life. Was there ever a point in time where you doubted if this was the path you wanted to go on? I mean, I would be lying if I said that I knew exactly that this is what I wanted to be doing. I think I had to get to a point in my life where I needed to be able to answer the question, who do I want to be? Right? What do I actually want to do? And what I was looking for was, how can I use the things that I enjoy the most about what I do today, but also keep learning new things. And I thought I’d honestly be in marketing, sales and marketing was some things that I was very good at. I didn’t like the culture of sales, really. But marketing was where I found a lot of my passion. And I just got really lucky, honestly. And people will say luck is just timing and preparation.
But I ended up getting an internship where I sat behind a senior product manager as their ITDA at a company called Nuvasiv in San Diego. Shout out to Aaron Engel, who was the senior product manager at the time. And I didn’t really know what that role was 100%. I’d heard product marketing managers from my time in the Bay Area, but I hadn’t really worked with a product manager before. And, man, the rest is history. I was like, yes, I want to do this. This is exactly what I want to do.
Marc: You know, it’s funny how you say, you know, you got lucky to me seems like, you know, you were putting the work in since day one, finding the right people you needed to talk to, essentially, that got you to where you are. Can you talk more about that reflective phase? You know, a lot of times people find it hard to really dive deep and really, you know, talk about the issue. Who are they? You know, what do they want to do? How they want to do it and trying to figure out that next phase of your life can be like scary. How did you go about it? I mean, it was terrifying, right?
Kevin: It was a difficult time for me mentally. I think I had just started at Warby Barker. I had stopped working with Eddington. So the entrepreneur that I was working with for a while, his name was Eddington Barriola. Huge fan, look him up if y’all haven’t heard of him. But he had gone to write his next book. And I was kind of just doing odd jobs, picking up things where I could, maybe biting off a little bit more than I could chew. I just started over as a store manager at Warby Barker. And I kind of had to make a choice. Like, do I want to, you know, where do I want to invest all of my time? Because I was spread way too thin. I was in not the best mental state, let’s put it like that.
And I had a choice to say, hey, well, do I take over a Warby Barker in San Francisco, maybe? And make 75k and deal with what comes of that and just do this retail thing? Or I interviewed at Facebook and Google, and they more or less said the same thing where you don’t have any enterprise experience, you don’t have a degree, we don’t really know of the companies that you’ve worked at. So it’s too much of a risk, even if you do sound like you know what you’re talking about. So I’m like, well, I know I can get a degree. And I know I can get enterprise experience. So where can I go just sit down in somewhat solitude for a while and figure that out. So what it led to was what’s the opposite of California. And it’s like, oh, you know, Mississippi is another one of my mentors.
I’ve been blessed with amazing mentors, man, and people that have been in my life decided to pour into me. But Brandon Jones was one of my professors. And then later when he was my advisor, when I was in the NAACP for a long time, he went to Alcorn. And he every day for years was telling me you should just go man, it’ll be a good experience for you. I’m like, you’re crazy. That sounds like a terrible idea. And that terrible idea, you know, six years later, when I really hadn’t gotten to where I wanted to be, sounded like a much better idea. And so I went and sat down in Mississippi and I got a 4.0.
I mean, pretty much went from class to my room, did a lot of writing, did a lot of reading, tried to figure out and define for myself, like, this is my philosophy on life. This is who I am now. This is who I want to be. And here’s the gap. And then let me try and do things to get myself closer to who I want to be and who I’m perceived as. I definitely love that. You know, I feel like it takes a lot to self reflect. And throughout your whole self reflection, it was never trying to be like anyone else. It was being your true self, being authentic, which I think nowadays is lost. So that’s something I praise you on.
When looking throughout your career, you’ve definitely done a lot. So talk to me about your biggest wins over the course of your careers. And what exactly made them, you know, essentially your proudest moments and biggest wins? Man, I’ll talk to you about two. The first one is when I was in college. Oh, there was an event called HBCU Battle of the Brains.
Marc: And I’ve heard of it.
Kevin: Oh, yeah, you have. That’s amazing. So I competed in that in 2017, 2018. I think 2017, I get the years mixed up. It was the second ever HBCU Battle of the Brains. To be fair, I did not actually want to go because I had already gone to Thurgood Marshall Leadership Institute, Thurgood Marshall College by Leadership Institute a few months before and I had like six job offers. And I was like, you know what, I’m good. Like I got my job. I’ll be all right. But my dean really wanted me to go. So I put a team together and we went down to Austin, Texas, South by Southwest, which was a phenomenal experience.
And we competed. And that’s where I met Gregory Gibson, who is the founder of HBCU Battle of the Brains. And the title sponsor was the Home Depot. And I think that that event and that one decision to go and do that and give it my all changed my life in ways that I can’t even. It took me a long time to fully comprehend how that event changed my life. And I say that because Home Depot being the title sponsor, when they would come into the rooms to coach to say, Hey, how are you guys doing on this project? How’s the hackathon going? How are you thinking about things? I got to show how I was using product management techniques to try and get us to this win, right? Because I think there was like $30,000 on the line. And I didn’t even realize it.
But that whole event really is an interview. Some of the people that came into the room that were talking to us were, you know, taking notes there. Okay, cool. This Kevin guy seems like he knows what he’s talking about. So it’s a longer story. And I won’t I won’t talk about it at length. But it’s a 24 hour case competition where you’re stuck in a room, grinding. And the way that they did it there was, you went to sleep at like 7am. And then you’re presenting at 3pm that same day. It’s not like that anymore. If they switched it up, because that was a little intense. But so we go home, go to the hotel, crash, get up, suit up, nobody knows who’s presenting, they’re going to pick the top five teams, we go in there, and my team didn’t get picked. So I was crushed, devastated.
But I’m talking about this is one of my biggest wins. Because while I was in the middle of my self loathing, uh, George Boone from the Home Depot walks up and goes, Hey, Kevin, can I talk to you for a second? And I thought he was gonna, you know, say something about me looking very upset over in the corner. But instead, he was like, we want to offer you a job. Do you have any offers now? But I told him where my offers were, and how much money it was for. And he went and grabbed one of the recruiters. And she said, laughed in my face even and said, Oh, yeah, we can beat that offer. And they did. Spent the next three years working at the Home Depot. And that has gotten me to places that I’ve never expected, like being the director of product management at Best Buy. And a lot of that is really thanks to going to that event. And now I’m proud to say that I sit on the board of HPCU Battle of the Brains and HSI Battle of the Brains.
Marc: And both are phenomenal events that only get bigger every year. At one competition, you said you give it your all. And you know, someone’s able to see that and kind of change the trajectory of your life. You know, you kind of answered the second part of my next question. So you know, this podcast is called fail faster. So you know, we talk about failures in your careers. But as we all know, failures are never failures, if you learn from them. Besides the competition, what would you say was another essential learning lesson you had to learn within your career?
Kevin: I mean, I think I think going back to why I ended up going to Mississippi, I mean, I felt like a failure, I felt like everything that I tried to do, consistently failed. The only thing I was really good at was, you know, customer service, working in retail, that type of deal. I realized, and in my reflection that I had a bad habit of taking on way more than I could handle, because I was comparing myself to people. And I think you said that earlier that, and kind of that really stuck with me when you said that, that, oh, yeah, you weren’t comparing yourself to people once you got to Mississippi, and you were thinking about stuff.
And I think that’s because I spent my entire life doing that. It’s an interesting experience growing up half black. And that’s been talked about at length in other media. So I won’t, won’t go into that. But it’s an experience of trying to figure out like, where exactly do you fit in? Like, what are your heroes look like? Where do you belong? And I kept comparing myself to people like Steve Jobs, like people that had achieved such high heights, and had constantly talked about the grinding and the effort and the hustle culture. And that was what it was all about. And so I was burning the candle at both ends, I was taking on jobs that I really had no business accepting. And I think it was when I took a contract to build out some data pipeline automation from some random CRM company. And I was working over a Python for dummies book.
I realized that, okay, I think I’m doing too much. And maybe I need to sit down for a minute. And I think what I learned from all of that experience is that sometimes slowing down is the best way to go faster. As well, the reason I picked Mississippi, because I want them to sit down and articulate, like I said, who I am and who I wanted to be. I like that, you know, the common phrase I hear a lot is, you know, slow motion is better than no motion. So, you know, when you talked about trying to find a space where you said she could fit in, and like, I guess, feel included, you know, sometimes being one on one, it can be hard to, I guess, fit in. What did you do in terms of to, I guess, create your own space, you know, it’s, it’s an interesting, that’s a very interesting way that you phrase that. I read a book, it’s got to be right before I left for Mississippi, by Adam Grant called Originals.
And that helped a little bit to change my perspective on why I felt like I didn’t fit and that that was okay. I’d been told that by people previously, but kind of seeing it there, and it finally all started to click for me around, you know, 2015, 2016. Creating my own lane and showing up authentically is something that I think has become part of my brand, to the point that I think if you ask anyone that I’ve worked with over the last five to 10 years, they would say, Kevin always shows up as the same person, no matter who you’re talking to, no matter who, like what’s happening, like, oh, yeah, that’s the guy that says peace at the end of every meeting. Like, that’s, that’s the guy that shows up in the Jordans to events with the CEO, right?
Like, that’s, it’s just who he is. But I think a lot of folks don’t see that the confidence to have to be able to do that, is because I’m standing on shoulders of people that showed me, showed me that it was okay to be that. I’ve had so many amazing mentors and so many amazing people that have shown me that, hey, it’s okay to be yourself, it’s okay to do what you do. And just personally, like growing up, and hustling and trying to work all these different odd jobs to get to where I wanted to be, I’ve never really had a fear of failure. I’ve always looked at it as, okay, cool, this didn’t work. How do we salvage? How do we move on to the next thing? What did we learn? How do we get better?
So when you put that, that confidence, that’s built over years of grinding with the heat, once you get rid of the imposter syndrome, I guess, when you do get into that big job that I got over by having great people around me that I could consistently go and ask questions to, who had done it before, who had gotten over it before. The combination of those things led me to where I am now, where I can be exactly who I am, and I can show up exactly how I want to show up. Not just not because I want to get somewhere, but because I want to be the same person I am at home, at work, because I’m trying to avoid that cognitive dissonance, right?
Marc: I get that completely. My next question, I usually like to ask guests is, you know, just based on times now, I always feel that sometimes, you know, people are, are kind of just going with the flow. And like, they’re doing jobs they necessarily don’t want to do, they’re waking up hating themselves, hating their career, hating their life choices. You know, are you passionate about the work you do now? And if you are, when did you realize you were passionate about it?
Kevin: You know, I love it. I gotta say, I’m very lucky. I know that not everybody’s in a position where they can do something that they truly love, that they truly enjoy. But actually, this, this gets back into product management. I realize I’ve been talking about myself this whole time. But to talk about the technology part and the product management, I always say that there’s about two lanes that you can pick when it comes to product management. You can either be a subject matter expert in thing that you’re doing. If you’re an expert in payment platforms and credit platforms, and how that world works, you’re a subject matter expert, you can be a phenomenal product manager, if you can apply product principles to that subject matter expertise that you have. And you can you can get all the way up to a principal, you could you could do a phenomenal job.
I know, one of my very, very good friends at Nordstrom is doing that currently. On the other side of it, you can be a subject matter expert in product management. And for me, I love product management, man. It’s so much fun. Like it’s, it’s a way of thinking. It’s one of the only jobs that I’ve found where you get to question everything, where the first question that you get comes out of your mouth when someone says that they want you to go do something is why. And for me personally, I need that. I need something where I can not say challenge, but something where I know that what I’m doing makes sense. And it’s extremely fun. And it doesn’t really matter so much the industry for me, retails where I’ve been, because I’ve got over a decade of experience in this space. So it comes a little bit more naturally and easily, it allows me to, you know, do things like be on this podcast instead of reading books on how an industry works. But it’s fun. And I mean, it gets to be different every day.
Like right now, I’m the product director for experimentation and CX feedback measurement, right? What does that even mean? Every single experience that gets A-B tested on the Best Buy digital landscape is run through my experimentation platform. And what that looks like, how many different types of experimentation you can do, what kind of tests, what systems get used for all that? How does AML and machine learning and AI fit into that framework? That’s all I’m dealing with right now. And it’s extremely fun, but also super different, right? Like I’ve done A-B testing for the last 10 years, sure. But not, not this deep, right? Not having to be an expert in exactly how do you do a t-test? What’s the difference between that and a sequential model when it comes to analysis? Like how do you take, do observational analysis using a causal inference and k-nearest neighbor and all that type of stuff where I had no idea what any of the last few things were prior to being in this role, but you get to learn new things and apply your expertise in product management to that space.
And it’s extremely rewarding. I’m glad you brought up product management. So that brings me on to the next topic. Essentially, so you work in various type of projects and building many impactful products during your time. I’d like to know your opinion on what makes a great product? What are some of the factors that contributes to, you know, getting into a product that has that wow factor? Man, it all comes back to the customer. It’s what problem are you solving? How simple are you making the product for the customer? And when you’re talking about wow factor, you’re talking about the customer being wowed, right? Your first thought can’t be, how am I going to monetize this? It has to be, how am I going to make the best possible product for the customer? And that, that’s what makes a good product.
Any company that you’ll ever look at, that’s always where they start is, how am I going to keep making this experience better and better and better? And then what you’ll see with a lot of companies is the experience after it’s gotten super good, and they got you hooked. Now the experience is going to start to deteriorate as I add monetization to it. So the best products to me are customer first, customer back, whatever you want to say. And they’re solving an amazing problem for that customer in a way that’s super easy for them to access.
Marc: I like that the customer first approach. Can you talk a little bit more about a product strategy? What does it mean? How does it help you be successful?
Kevin: Yeah, I mean, product strategy is definitely a buzzword. Because a lot of people are looking for product strategists and people, a lot of companies will sell you on product strategy. What it really means is how are you connecting the problems that you’re solving for the customer that you’re going out and you’re recognizing that these are the customer problems that you have to solve? How are you connecting that to what the business is trying to drive from an impacts perspective, right? Like, whether that’s my key metrics, like this is exactly what I’m trying to do, this is who I’m trying to be, or what their mission is, which is more than who I’m trying to be of the company, right? And you take those two things and figure out well, how am I enabling this with technology?
And as the product manager, if you’re on a product team, your job is really to help facilitate conversations between the three of those groups while at the same time, crystallizing, this is what you’re all trying to say. And this is the goal that we’re trying to achieve. So this is the best path forward. And so when you start to get into these higher levels of product strategy, like I spend most of my time at now, it’s about taking all of the inputs possible and getting to the best answer that you can for what to do next with the information that’s available. So it’s about making the best next decision. It’s not about making the best decision possible, because there’s a saying where you don’t want to let a great get in the way of good. And so product strategy, when you’re purely talking about what is product, it’s how do you have that intuition of given all the things I’m saying now, this is the direction that we should go.
And then consistently and constantly iterating on that vision, and that opinion, because there’s not a huge fan of the way Amazon does everything, but one of their tenets is have strong opinions that are loosely held. So that’s what that’s what product strategy is all about. It’s about pointing the way forward and then being able to point different directions based on new inputs that come in.
Marc: And then how do you stay updated with those new inputs? So with the industry with the market trends, how do you adjust?
Kevin: I mean, that’s what it’s all about. It’s about keeping your ear to the ground. So whether it’s from Gartner, or whether it’s from Forrester, or whether it’s from at Home Depot, we used to hear you a lot, keeping your ear to the ground, really, like what is the market doing? What’s the market saying? I spent a lot of time reading articles on experimentation. I’m on the blogs for Optimizely and StatSig and Eppo and all these companies, right? To try to figure out, hey, how exactly are they iterating on their platforms? How are they thinking about experimentation?
On the CX side, it’s learning about the difference between NPST and NPSR and OSAT and CSAT and all these different things, right? So staying really in depth with your industry from a business standpoint, that’s where you’re at. But also taking inputs from what are your customers actually saying about your product, they’re not always going to be able to tell you the next thing to do. But they can tell you where the pain points are. And that’s what you should be using also to inform what you do next. And then you’ve got usually if you’re talking about enterprise, the skill that I’m at now, you’ve got people that have been doing this for like four years. And I see a mistake that a lot of product people make, especially younger product people, is that they just ignore all of that history, because they all want to do it in Excel.
As soon as they say that they want to do all the stuff in Excel, you disregard all of their experience, because you think you can do it better. And that doesn’t make any sense. So trying to figure out the best way to extract value and work together with those people to to move towards the thing that makes the most sense also for the company, given the history, because the historical context of what you’re building, especially these enterprise companies, is important, because especially talking about things that have internal tools and are internal basing, people have to now go use this data, or you’re gonna have a new operational cadence, based on some technology that you want to go and use, you need to take that input into consideration, so that you can build something that everybody’s going to be able to align on and get behind.
Technology is the last piece of, not the last piece to say the last people you involve, but you should already be working very heavily with technology. I really like working with XD or UX partners when you can, not every company has them, not every company has the bandwidth or dollars to have them embedded on every team, but huge fan of working with UX researchers and UX designers and UX content people, because there’s just a plethora of information and so many places that you can get information from. So yeah, I guess it’s a very broad question. Everywhere is the answer.
Marc: I get it. I get it. Believe me, I understand. Within your role right now at Best Buy, you know, what are the challenges you’re going through? You know, what exactly is keeping you up at night?
Kevin: Oh man, that’s a question. I think I’m still relatively new, right? So it’s really learning everything I can about the context for, so maybe I’ll put it like this. I spent my first 90 days, let’s say 60 to 90 days, at any company. It was using this technique that I think comes from the military originally, but it’s called seeing the front. So I more or less ignore what anybody has to say about what’s happening, what the problems are, what’s going on. I go straight to the customer. I go straight to the operators, and I go straight to what’s actually happening on the battlefield, let’s say, just try and figure out, okay, now that I can see the problems, right?
Like I want to get in, I want to use the tool. I want to try to figure out what we can be doing given zero context. And then I want to form my own opinions about what we potentially should do to alleviate it. What would I do given no context? And then I start to layer in the context from the organization, whether it’s historical context, whether it’s a people context, whether it’s organizational context, and then, and that’s kind of where I am now, where I’m continuing to reshape the solution and where we should go for the next 12 to 24 months based on the additional context and I’m continuing to get every day.
So the things that keep me up at night right now are just wondering where I’m missing something, and trying to come up with the right way to get to the best solution that we can, right? I’ve only got, let’s say, through holiday really do have a very firm, hey, this is what we’re building now, now that we’re through holiday, right? And this is what the next Q1 through four look like.
Marc: You know, you talked about looking at the battlefield and analyzing the problem, kind of gave me two questions, you know, first, what are the problems? And then, you know, second question was, you know, looking, say, 12 months from now, what exactly needs to happen in order for you guys to be like, Oh, my gosh, we pulled this off, like, you know, major transformation, if you can walk me through that.
Kevin: Yeah, I can’t get too specific on what we’re doing. On the Best Buy side, unfortunately, I can get them, but I can give, I can give an example. Maybe that’s more from like Home Depot that would work from a previous role. That works for me. Yeah, I think, I think what happened during COVID was the best example, defining the problem of, hey, this is a $2 billion tool that I own. There’s and primarily, it’s people that are going into stores that are using the tool, because there’s no way to use this tool digitally today. Even though we had just migrated it to a cloud based platform, it still wasn’t available online. So if we have $2 billion going through this tool, now, we’re seeing a 70% decline in store traffic.
Let’s just extrapolate that out to say we’re looking at 70% of the value of the space going away. So how do you fix that? That’s how you define the problem for the business, right? And that’s I think the key difference, you have to define the problem for the business and the problem for the customer. So what the business was facing was, hey, we’re about to lose 1.4 bill versus a customer’s like, hey, I can’t get into the stores because there’s a line. And I have to wait and you can only have so many people.
So I’d rather just do this some other way. So once we define that it was like, okay, cool. So could so the demand is still there from what we can see, and talking to partners and actual customers, and especially our pros, the pros really are coming to the stores. And it’s actually more that the person that sits at the desk that helps them to configure the product isn’t there, because they’re typically older and at risk. And we had given a lot of time off to anybody that was an at risk group during COVID. So we said, Oh, okay, cool. Well, what if we just gave those at risk folks, laptops, and let them work from home. And we’ll just let them, you know, VM into the store to sell like that.
And it was a bit of a scrappy solve. But you know, we ended up making, we might have spent 500 grand getting it all stood up over about eight weeks. And I think we made our money back from a bottom line perspective, after about 12. That was a success. It was it was it still exists. If you ever, if you go on homedepot.com, right now, you can see, if you go to the doors and windows section, Millwork virtual apron, or Millwork virtual assistant program. So then you can now call and have a door window customized for you.
Marc: Honestly, I gotta check that out. And my last question to you would definitely be, you know, looking at your whole career, your life, what’s one piece of advice you like to leave the audience with?
Kevin: Put yourself first. And I say that, and I mean, think about who you are, think about who you want to be, especially if you’re talking about someone and starting out in their career. When you start at these companies, no one knows who you are, you have the opportunity to own your own story. And I’m an extremely big advocate of owning your narrative. If you don’t know who you are, or who you want to be, you’re going to be vulnerable to someone else coming in and telling you who you need to be. And that’s where that imposter syndrome and some level of cognitive dissonance like I talked about earlier comes from. But I mean, the difference between who you tell yourself you are every day, right, you wake up in the morning, this is who I am cool, what that person does, in most situations, versus the person that you are at work, and the decisions that you’re making there.
In my experience, that leads to a lot of pain for people. It did for me. And my whole life now is really centered around being myself and showing other people that person. And I would always say, let’s try to leave everybody with just try and get 1% better every day, whether it’s in product management, whether it’s in life, as long as you’re getting 1% closer to the goal that you’re trying to get to feel good about what you did today. I love that. And that makes me say that the phrase again, slow motion is better than no motion.
Marc: 100%. Kevin, it’s been absolutely amazing to have you on today’s episode. You know, thank you to you. Thank you to the viewers.