Q&A with Expert Product Managers: Denise Law from The Economist
Welcome to the ninth installation of our product management interview series, where successful product managers across various verticals share where the PM industry is going, how to overcome challenges, and general advice. If you missed our last interview with Dane Eppler from Concur, we recommend giving it a read, as well!
As mobile engagement continues to increase, companies across all industries have shifted product strategy to push their mobile experience toward the top. The product management world has gone mobile, and PMs have had to adjust to strategic changes big and small.
To explore what’s changed and what’s next for product managers, we’re bringing you the best minds in product management to share their thoughts on what’s top-of-mind, and where the industry is going.
Today, we’re excited to bring you thoughts from Denise Law, Head of Strategic Product Development at The Economist. Here’s what Denise had to say!
Q: How did you get into product management?
Even though I began my career as a journalist, I was always interested in coming up with new and innovative ways to repackage and deliver stories across all platforms and devices. So my transition from being a journalist to a product manager always seemed natural. I’ve also really enjoyed working with people to solve problems, which lends itself nicely to a career in product management.
Q: How do you think mobile product managers’ roles in the organization are changing?
Everything is now mobile. Thinking about product from a device-first perspective feels wrong; I’d like to believe that product managers today should aspire to be customer or subscriber-first, focusing on the problems they hope to solve, before translating their vision into a specific device or platform.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you face as the Head of Strategic Product Development?
My biggest challenge is getting people to focus on doing a few things well, i.e. getting the basics right, before committing to big bang ideas that may never prove their worth. There’s still a misperception within companies, particularly established ones, that digital transformation is doing more digital stuff, when in reality digital is merely a means to an end: that end being a better customer experience across all platforms.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you want to give to your peers?
Focus like hell.
Q: What are you looking ahead to in 2018?
Getting the (right) stuff done.
Q: What’s your favorite way to stay up to date on all things mobile?
I tend to use Medium to stay on top of product-related news. I also like to read Marty Cagan’s blog and the Mind the Product newsletter. Axios’s daily tech and Recode’s newsletters are good source of tech-related news too.
Q: With no resource constraints, if I could work on any app, it would be [fill in the blank]. Why?
The Economist’s new app :)
Q: I feel [fill in the blank] without my smartphone.
Pretty calm, safe and happy… believe it or not!
Q: Android or iOS?
Q: What does customer love mean to you?
Being a good listener.
A huge thank you to Denise for taking the time to share her thoughts. Stay tuned for the next interview soon, and check out our first four interviews from these expert PMs: