Who amongst us hasn’t dreamed of having one of those jobs that, when you tell people where you work, their eyes widen and they say “WOW, you work there?! That’s so cool!”
In the tech world, this reaction mostly goes to the big name brands that everyone has heard of. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. People imagine that because these companies make so much money, and are so incredibly widespread, that to work there you have to be some kind of genius who can build apps in your sleep. Because these are the dream jobs!
…are they though?
Where do Product Managers actually want to work?
We asked our community what their dream companies to work for were. They told us what companies they want to work for, what type of business practices they look for, and what they want to build for themselves. True to form, the answers were varied, interesting, and sometimes surprising…
The Companies Product Managers Want to Work For
Being in product means being able to get behind big ideas. And is there any idea bigger than space?! SpaceX needs no introduction, but they summarize their mission as ‘making humanity multiplanetary.’
While they may be building digital products in the traditional sense, they certainly do have Product Managers. SpaceX build and manage their own internal business software, known as WARPDRIVE, which manages the company’s engineering design, supply chain, manufacturing, mission, and costing activities.
To work as an Applications Product Manager at SpaceX, you need to have a technical background as you’ll be working with new and complex technology. You’ll also need at least 5 years experience as a Product Manager within software development.
Working for SpaceX would be unpredictable day-to-day and very fast paced. But if you’re driven to help humanity reach the stars, you’ll thrive off of the challenge.
You might also be interested in: Lessons from SpaceX for Product Managers in 2020
Another name that popped up a few times when we asked our community where they want to work is Stripe.
Stripe is a payments infrastructure for online businesses, used by Deliveroo, Booking.com, and OpenTable. Stripe processes hundreds of billions of euros each year, and have a huge customer base including everything from startups and non-profits, to huge household names.
Stripe offers their employees “ unprecedented opportunity to put the global economy within everyone’s reach while doing the most important work of your career.”
You might also be interested in: Unpacking Fintech: Impactful Product Management
Disney refers to their tech teams as Imagineers, and plenty of Product Managers want to get it on that! With multiple digital products and platforms (the most notable new addition being Disney+), there are new opportunities for product people popping up every week.
Disney Streaming Service PMs still have the opportunity to work on platforms which support a number of the world’s most beloved IPs. And while Product Management roles in the resorts are rarer, they’ll give you the opportunity to work on the park’s digital portfolio, including the website and guest apps.
Check out: Building a Product at a Media Company by Disney’s Director of PM
The Industries Product Managers Want to Work For in 2020
“A Fashion-Tech company like Farfetch or even a beauty-tech company. I think it would be interesting applying technologies like AI and machine learning to really drive and transform those industries and the user experience.”
Fashion-tech almost gets forgotten when conversations around disruption and innovation are happening, but it’s a massively thriving industry. Companies like FARFETCH keep adding new and innovative technologies to revolutionize the industry and change the way fashion meets its users.
As a FashionTech PM, you’d be working on products that have a massive amount of data to work with, and an enormous pool of customers. Fashion-forward PMs have a whole host of products to choose from, and endless opportunities. From digital try-on rooms to
Check out: Product Strategy Must Be Like Water by FARFETCH Product Lead
“I spent a good few years in EdTech and it had the feel good factor other businesses don’t.”
EdTech is another rising star in the technology sector, particularly thanks to the latest wave of remote learning. Zoom is trialling an all new AI virtual classroom experience, and language learning apps like Duolingo experienced massive growth (some up to 90%) over the summer of 2020.
Where there is high demand, and high potential for innovation, you’ll find Product Managers. Product Managers wanting to work in this space don’t necessarily need an extensive background in education, depending on the company of course, so it can be the perfect industry to transition into.
“ My dream company is any company that will help people in sports or fitness. “
With Apple’s Fitness+ making waves at this year’s show, and wearable tech fast becoming a staple of modern life in many markets, this is a great space to get into in 2020. Much like EdTech, the situation this year has seen a huge boost in home workouts and gym-alternatives. (Has anyone else noticed that dumbbells are sold out everywhere?) When we spoke to Nike’s Principal Product Director, Kalpana Berman, she told us all about how Nike’s free fitness apps (Nike Training Club and Nike Run Club) have enjoyed massive growth in 2020.
That being said, wearable tech and digital fitness products still have a lot of room to grow. At the moment, they are still seen as very ‘exclusive’, and are considered to be maturing but still outside of the mainstream.
Bringing wearable tech and fitness products to emerging markets has the great mission of making this technology more accessible to more people, and poses a great challenge for driven PMs.
Check out: Falling In Love With The Problem Statement by Nike Sr PM
“Eco-focused, small to mid size companies. So I can feel like I’m making a positive change. Environmental, local food, etc…”
Environmental concern has increased across the world, not just in Product Management. Even last year, when we conducted our report on the Future of Product Management, climate change was one of the main causes that PMs wanted to contribute to solving.
Within EnviroTech/GreenTech/CleanTech, there are so many different paths to take. You could go into corporate based tech like renewable energy or consumer digital products like Ecosia or Too Good To Go.
It’s definitely a worthwhile mission. For some positions you may need a more technical background (mostly if you’re aiming to work in the renewable energy space) but for B2C products, many will not require a specialist background. So long as you can demonstrate your passion for the environment and your awesome Product Manager skills, you’ll be good to go!
Product Managers Want to Work at Startups
Overwhelmingly, our community told us that where they most want to work is not a specific brand name, but simply at startups in particular. On the surface, startups sound cool because we assume they come with all the trappings; a younger workforce, cool office space, craft beer fridges…
But actually, there are some very good, more practical reasons, why Product Managers want to work at startups.
✅ Fewer silos, bureaucracy, and red tape
✅ Things move more quickly, with fewer processes
✅ More individual ownership when you join a startup early
✅ Opportunity to work on something brand new
You don’t have to have previous experience within startups to get into one, as sometimes startup teams appreciate having someone with big corporation experience to bring a fresh perspective. However, startup culture is definitely different to that of Big Tech, so PMs entering this environment for the first time need to be prepared.
Product Managers Are Mission-Driven
“A company where I actually listen to users to solve their problems instead of building a feature for the first priority to monetise.”
The best Product Managers are customer-driven above all else. Does that mean listening to everything they say and giving them everything they demand? Not at all! Being customer-driven means thinking about the customers best interested in balance with your business interests. (For more clarity on this, we recommend checking out Gibson Biddle’s talk on providing value and delighting customers in margin-enhancing ways.)
Product Managers don’t just want to work for a company, they want to work for the company that will help them achieve their own goals. Whether that be professional goals, like working for a company that invests in its users and truly values its customers, or larger goals like making democratizing data or making an impact on global social good.
Does this sound like you? Check out our guide on how to change the world for Product Managers.
Product Managers Want to Build Something Themselves
Being the perfect blend of art, business, and technology, it’s no wonder many Product Managers are also infused with the entrepreneurial spirit to build something for themselves. A significant portion of our community told us that they want to build something for themselves, or start their own company.
What can begin as a simple side project, can grow into your day job over time. Product Managers are perfectly positioned to start their own companies, or build their own products, because they have such a varied skillset. Product Managers have a broad knowledge of tech, design, marketing, and business. A perfect storm for an entrepreneurial spirit!
What about you? What’s your dream company? Join the conversation in our community and land your dream job!
I’m Carlos González, CEO at Product School, and I enjoy sharing weekly tips for Product leaders!
This article was also published on The Product Management Blog.