How to Recover from a Hard Pivot

Bettina Shzu-Juraschek, Product Manager at Babbel, speaking at Product Leaders 2017, just got interviewed by our colleague, Steliana Moraru, Event Manager. 

Read on to discover her professional experience, lessons learned and challenges met along the way. 

 

Steliana: We are curious about you and your background. Having a diverse cultural experience – how this influenced your professional path?

Bettina: Since I grew up in Texas, studied in New York and Paris, and now live in Berlin, I chose to work at Babbel, a very international company, with colleagues from 39 nations. More broadly speaking, my experience integrating into French and then German cultures while learning their languages also honed my observation and empathy skills. These two skills I use daily as a product manager to work with colleagues and customers.

Steliana: Why did you choose a career in product management?

Bettina: Before product management, I was an account manager and responsible for recurring sales from galleries and auction houses on a digital art market platform. I really enjoyed the business aspects of account management, but I wanted to build and grow products, so I learned how to code on the side. Only after getting a foundation in coding, did I discover the product manager role, which to me is an ideal combination of building digital products that serve customers so well that they pay for it.

Steliana: One of your articles has the title: How I Learned to Code, Quit My Job, and Changed the World. Can you also share with the Product Leaders audience how and why did you choose this?

Bettina: I wrote this article to share the story of how learning to code gave me not only new hard coding skills but also a new mindset, which empowered me to create new things.

Steliana: What do you think is one of the most challenging things as product manager?

Bettina: Product challenges differ depending on the team, the product, and the market. One of the challenging things for me right now is how to inspire situational leadership from all my team members.

Steliana: Share with us a little more about the experience that inspired your talk at Product Leaders (un)Conference?

Bettina: The organizational, process, and mindset changes I’ve pushed for and lived through while working at Babbel in the past 9 months inspired my talk for the (un)conference. Since Babbel is no longer really a startup with 450 workers, how do we grow up and mature as an organization and as a team? I think many organizations will need to grow and adapt over time, so I hope sharing my experience will be helpful for other product managers.

Steliana: Is there any advice you would like to share with the audience from Product Leaders?

Bettina: Even though there are a lot of challenges for a product manager, I try to remind myself that there is at least one solution for every problem. As long as you are willing to inspect and adapt, you will find a solution that works…eventually.

Want to meet Bettina and ~200 tech product practitioners? Join today Product Leaders (un)Conference, 8-9 June, Bucharest, Romania!

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