Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Building minimum lovable products, stories from WeWork and Airbnb, and thriving as a PM | Jiaona Zhang (Webflow, WeWork, Airbnb, Dropbox)

Building minimum lovable products, stories from WeWork and Airbnb, and thriving as a PM | Jiaona Zhang (Webflow, WeWork, Airbnb, Dropbox)


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Jiaona Zhang (JZ) is a product leader with a strong background in consumer products and extensive hiring and management experience. She is currently SVP of Product at Webflow as well as a lecturer at Stanford, where she teaches a graduate-level course on product management. Before Webflow, JZ was Head of Product for the Homes Platform at Airbnb and has also led product teams at Airbnb, WeWork, and Dropbox. In today’s episode, we discuss:

• Building a “minimum lovable product” rather than a minimum viable product

• How to create better roadmaps through storytelling

• Top lessons from Dropbox, Airbnb, WeWork, and Webflow

• The importance of setting ambitious OKRs

• JZ’s first 90 days playbook: how to succeed in a new role

• Advice for early-career PMs

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, and YouTube.

Find the transcript at: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/building-minimum-lovable-products-stories-from-wework-and-airbnb-and-thriving-as-a-pm-jiaona-zhang-webflow-wework-airbnb-dropbox/#transcript

Where to find Jiaona Zhang:

• Reforge: https://www.reforge.com/managing-your-pm-career

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jiaona/

• Website: https://www.jiaonazhang.com/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) JZ’s background

(04:22) Common mistakes new PMs make

(06:44) Why Airbnb Plus didn’t work out, and takeaways from that experience

(10:51) Executing big dreams step-by-step

(13:45) The right way to push back against founders

(16:54) Minimum lovable product vs. minimum viable product

(20:53) What makes a product lovable

(22:20) Advice on roadmapping and prioritization

(28:04) Tips for new PMs to accelerate their career

(29:16) JZ’s top skills and how they have evolved over her career

(31:37) Designing crisp OKRs

(36:09) Lessons from WeWork

(43:01) Winning the first 90 days at a new company

(48:34) Why trust is crucial

(51:48) High-level lessons from Dropbox, Airbnb, WeWork, and Webflow

(56:38) The one piece of advice that transformed JZ’s career

(58:39) Lightning round


• Mike Lewis on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikelewis/

• “What working at Figma taught me about customer obsession,” VP of Product Sho Kuwamoto: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/what-working-at-figma-taught-me-about

• WeWork: https://www.wework.com/

WeCrashed on AppleTV+: https://tv.apple.com/us/show/wecrashed/umc.cmc.6qw605uv2rwbzutk2p2fsgvq9

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days: https://www.amazon.com/Sprint-Solve-Problems-Test-Ideas/dp/150112174X

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You: https://www.amazon.com/Making-Manager-What-Everyone-Looks/dp/0735219567

Tress of the Emerald Sea: A Cosmere Novel: https://www.amazon.com/Tress-Emerald-Sea-Brandon-Sanderson/dp/1250899656/

Arcane on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81435684

• Snoo: https://www.happiestbaby.com/

• Midjourney: https://www.midjourney.com/

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.

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Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Interviews with world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.