image of Fear, Anxiety, and Product Management - Stephen Grillos, SiteRx
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Fear, Anxiety, and Product Management - Stephen Grillos, SiteRx

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Podcast information


Episode Details

In this episode, Stephen Grillos and Sergey discuss the emotional side of product management. They explore how to navigate stressful moments when presenting to your CEO, how fear and anxiety can ruin even the best products, how to deal with your ego, and how fear can make you build the wrong product.

Show notes

Fear and anxiety can derail excellent products. This episode is all about how not to fall into the anxiety trap or become a prisoner of your fear as a product manager. Our guest, Stephen Grillos, shares how he stays strong even in contentious moments with CEOs.

0:00 | Who is Stephen Grillos?
01:57 | How martial arts and product management are connected
03:40 | Fail fast, NOT ship fast
04:39 | How fear can make you build the wrong thing
07:21 | Your job as a project manager is entirely based on influence
08:58 | How most projects fall apart
10:49 | How often should you talk about vision?
13:38 | 3 principles for shipping great products every time
20:17 | Not letting your ego dictate how you ship your product
23:36 | How to get out of a moment of anxiety (when presenting the product to your CEO)
26:49 | The #1 reason why frameworks don’t work
29:15 | Focusing on why we build more than on how we build
31:00 | The easiest way to ask better product questions
31:13 | Stop adding new features
31:30 | More snappy fireside questions (personal and professional)
32:35 | Book recommendations

“People just say fail fast and really mean ship fast and they don’t actually learn from the thing that they’re shipping.”[04:09]
“I don’t care if it’s the first line of the spec, if people didn’t know it was in there that’s your fault. You know it is our job to drive clarity. It is our job to drive focus.”  [09:40]
“I want to ship products that empower my users to do their job while also delivering value to the company, right? My ego has nothing to do with that, my ego can only mess that up.” [23:12]
“Look, we’re all humans here. I want to be seen, heard, and understood. And as a product manager, your job is to see your customer, to understand your customer, and show them that you understand them. Not just tell them oh yeah, I’ll get to your thing in the future and blah blah blah.” [25:33]
“The thing about these frameworks though is - they’re frameworks. You have to actually believe them.” [27:52]

About Stephen Grillos
Stephen Grillos is an aspiring rockstar turned product manager. He is the Senior Director of Product at SiteRx and a Krav Maga instructor. Heavily influenced by his martial arts training, you’ll notice that Stephen prioritizes emotional intelligence in his actions when building and presenting a product. He is very cautious about how ego and the progress your make on your product can get entangled and disrupt your flow. He shares 3 principles that empower him to stay sharp and put his ego in its place when it matters most.

Resources we mentioned:
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (FBI negotiator)
Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton M Christensen
The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

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What is Product Innovation Series with Aram Melkoumov?

Product Innovation Series is an in-depth interview series featuring product & innovation leaders from small startups all the way to Fortune 500 behemoths. Our guests share their battle-tested perspective on what prevents teams from shipping a great product. The show is hosted by Aram Melkoumov, the CEO of Crowdlinker.

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