My name is Mitch Shulman and I’m a Product Manager at HG Insights.
The story of how I got to HG says a lot about the culture. One of my old coworkers called me out of the blue and told me I had to look up this cool new company he was working at. He was really excited to explain how they were rebuilding this product and it was an opportunity to get in on the ground floor and have a lot of impact because I would be the only product manager at the time, and get to build a team.
I’d always wanted to join an organization where I’d have a tangible impact and I could tell this was a great opportunity.
A Customer-facing Career
But first, a little more about me. Born and raised in San Francisco, I grew up in heart of the tech world. But I never thought I’d go into tech. My parents owned a flower shop, so I got to see what it was like being a small business owner in a big city. I went after school to help out every day, driving deliveries and setting arrangements, and I saw how customer-centricity is the foundation of any successful business.
Somehow, after college, I stumbled into the tech industry. I started in client-facing roles and even had a client success partner role, where I was quota carrying and meeting regularly with customers to help grow the business.
But I wanted to transition into product to have more involvement in solving the problems themselves. When I was on the client success team I would just hear the problem, I could not be engaged in the follow-through of delivering a solution. On the product team I could drive deeper into the problem space and feel invested in the solution.
So I jumped right in! I started teaching myself about product management (mostly by watching YouTube videos!), and loved learning in the workshops. At work, I transferred onto our product team, where I learned how to derive insights and problem statements from raw data and customer feedback. I started participating in ideation sessions and shaping our products.
Now I get to work through the problem alongside the customer — just like when I was working at the family business.
Every Day at HG
Product managers have to use a lot of creativity. One of my favorite aspects is that I’m frequently working on ways to improve how our customers get their jobs done. To help them, I have to get creative to uncover what the true problem is, the root cause, from a multitude of different requests. This is a big part of the job — product managers need to understand the real problem, deeper than the face value complaint. This is one of the most important skills for successful product managers — and one I’m still getting better at! The better you get at identifying problems to solve, the more successful you will be as a product manager.
Most of my day is split up into two main things: Understanding business needs and building cross-functional alignment. First, I meet with the engineering team to see how we’re progressing against improvements to the products or process — we call these Storytime Sessions — it’s an opportunity to introduce new work to the engineering team. These projects come from speaking with customers, understanding their issues, and getting into their ideas — customers inform what we want to build.
Then, of course, the engineers push back and poke holes, show us what’s viable and see if it provides value. We like to be harsher on ourselves than customers ever would be. The second part of my day is Requirements Gathering, and building cross-functional alignment, which involves meeting with customers and interviewing them to hear from them firsthand how we could improve our products. This gives me the feedback I share with the engineering, design, and marketing teams in Storytime Sessions and various other meetings throughout the week!
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
The team here at HG is amazing, we have honestly one of the best product teams I can imagine working with. Every day I’m surrounded by ambitious, bright, and very collaborative people! Even though we’re all working on different projects or products, we’re constantly messaging and sending the team all our Works In Progress (WIPs) to get feedback and alignment early on.
It’s a cool environment to be a part of — since I’ve joined HG I’ve never been bored a single day at work. No two days look the same, and no two weeks are alike. There are always new things to work on — with a neverending pipeline of cool ideas I get to work on and validate. Overall, HG is very dynamic and engaging.
Building a Career at HG Insights
HG is in a very competitive market. As a product manager, it’s important to create, and communicate, how our products are different. The main differentiator is how much customer voice we take into the product-related decisions we make. Beyond just product additions and cool new features, the underlying philosophy for how we collect data from each company is modeled on the most impactful information that our customers could receive.
As the industry leader in technographics (and originator of its evolution, Technology Intelligence), and thanks to many rounds of data QA and validation, both automated and human, we provide our customers with some of the most accurate data in the marketplace. So everything that’s produced for our customers is of the highest quality, and they have absolute confidence in us! And thanks to the quality of our data, it allows us to get creative in insights we can show — like our Market Reports.
That’s to say, we’re the best at what we do by a long shot… but I’m biased!
That’s why I joined HG. And you should too.
When my friend, the HGer, called to recruit me I was very interested in his explanation of what HG did. I didn’t know anything, didn’t know SQL, didn’t have a background in data or anything, but I knew I wanted to get involved because I could work on interesting problems with exceptional people.
And now I couldn’t be happier. I joined HG because of the career development they supported in me, the collaborative culture, and the market-leading products. I’m still here because it’s a great place to work.
That’s why I joined HG, and you should too!