From Software developer to PM
I talked with products and specialists from other markets
Word of mouth helped me a lot. I got the contacts of a good research agency from a product working in retail, and I learned from a colleague in the industry that cheap places for stands at one of the industry exhibitions are placed where no human foot steps, so you need to go to that exhibition either at an expensive tariff, or in no way.
I also tried to find out where good specialists in the right areas are “found” (for example, designers live on Dribble and Behance), joined a couple of professional chat rooms and groups on Facebook and Telegram and made sure that it was faster and more efficient to search there than in search engines or freelance databases.
The opinion of users is something that should not be forgotten
When you start working with a product, your eyes quickly “blur”. I remember that we spent a long time improving the product description section on the landing page, I drove a freelance copywriter and forced him to do ten iterations, we could argue with the designer for twenty minutes about the location of a text block on the third screen… Finally, we came to the ideal, as it seemed to me, option — but a month later, the statistics on the site and on customer feedback have not changed.
I looked at the metric and the click map, asked several acquaintances from the potential target audience to look at the site in front of me — and realized that people looking at the main page did not catch either the essence of the product or what it could give them, and left. Although it seemed to me (a person who has worked with the product since the idea was created) that everything was “already clear”. As a result, we worked on the main one, and the number of those who do not look beyond the first screen has noticeably decreased.
I began to be creative and try different methods of interaction
The product needs to be creative. Of course, many working mechanics and techniques should be learned from books and articles (“just reading” without implementation is not the best occupation), but you can come up with your own.
I constantly monitor market news, and used to do a newsletter once a week-a review with links that, of course, almost no one opened (links, of course, I pre-flash). After that, I began to make a short digest (a paragraph with a retelling plus a link to the article), at least someone began to look through it, but still valuable information did not reach many. As a result, I asked the authorities to give me five minutes a day, began to prepare a short presentation, turn off the lights at the same time (we have an open space) and arrange a mini-movie screening with the main news. This attracted more attention, but still many did not turn their heads. I made the last change — I moved the review from Monday morning to Thursday evening, when everyone was already pretty tired, but still in no hurry for Friday fun — it worked!
Do I regret changing my profession?
No. Firstly, it pumped me up as a person, and many product skills help in my “non-working” life. I noticed that I solve issues more effectively outside of work, I negotiate better with people. Communication and business have benefited from the new position.
Secondly, I really like the feeling when something valuable is created “out of nothing”, I liked this in coding. When you are not only a performer, but also a “leader”, then this feeling is a hundred times stronger.
Thirdly, such work is more dynamic, it has more diversity, more communication, more diverse tasks, it broadens the horizons.
Now the product is at the pilot launch stage, this is the “heat” for the product, since there are a lot of things to do at the same time and to finalize (bugs are detected not only from the inside, but also from the outside, which means they need to be fixed faster), and to bring them to the market (these are meetings, many meetings, the schedule of the day is constantly “jumping”). I am glad that I am not joining the project at this stage, otherwise it would be much more difficult for me.
Have I left the idea of my own startup? No. However, now I understand what a ton of OSes like meetings with very important potential clients, signing a daily increasing pile of papers and the need to delve into 1000 and 1 question in one working day lies on the shoulders of the CEO, and while I’m wondering if I really need it. Moreover, I feel more than comfortable with the product.
To all who read — thank you, to all who were inspired to repeat — good luck! If anyone has similar stories of transition to another direction — share in the comments what helped you, how the adaptation period went, it will be very interesting to read about such experiences from other people.