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Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Lessons on building product sense, navigating AI, optimizing the first mile, and making it through the messy middle | Scott Belsky (Adobe, Behance)

Lessons on building product sense, navigating AI, optimizing the first mile, and making it through the messy middle | Scott Belsky (Adobe, Behance)


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Scott Belsky is an entrepreneur, author, investor, and currently Adobe’s Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Design and Emerging Products. He founded Behance, an online platform for creative professionals to showcase and discover work, and served as CEO until its acquisition by Adobe. Scott is an early advisor and investor in several businesses at the intersection of technology and design, including Pinterest, Uber, Warby Parker, Airtable, and Flexport. He is also the author of two nationally bestselling books and founded 99U, a publication and conference focused on productivity in the creative world. In today’s episode, we discuss:

  • How to strengthen your product sense

  • Why you should only do half the things you want

  • What it takes to build a successful consumer product

  • Why you are probably underinvesting in onboarding

  • The future of AI and how to prepare for it

  • Advice for founders and PMs who are feeling stuck

  • Why resourcefulness will take you further than resources

  • Adobe’s current priorities and their exciting path ahead

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

Find the full transcript at: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/lessons-on-building-product-sense-navigating-ai-optimizing-the-first-mile-and-making-it-through-the-messy-middle-scott-belsky-adobe-behance/#transcript

Where to find Scott Belsky:

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

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

• Blog: https://www.implications.com/

• Website: www.scottbelsky.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) Scott’s background

(04:50) Why Scott shifted roles at Adobe

(08:29) Advice for PMs looking to build product sense

(10:43) The first mile

(13:18) How to develop more empathy

(16:33) How to build consumer products that work

(20:42) Scott’s philosophy that you should “only do half the things you want to do”

(26:15) Scott’s optimism about how the world will look in five years with AI

(29:44) How AI will impact product teams

(32:55) How the PM role will change as a result of AI

(35:09) How Adobe is leveraging AI tools

(36:59) What the term “golden gut” means

(38:15) Advice for PMs to stay ahead of the new AI trends

(41:02) How to start writing more

(41:49) The messy middle

(47:03) What Scott looks for as an angel investor 

(50:16) Why resourcefulness will take you further than resources 

(52:41) Adobe’s current priorities and the path ahead

(54:58) Lightning round 


• Adobe: https://www.adobe.com/

• Behance: https://www.behance.net/

• Casey Winters on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/thinking-beyond-frameworks-casey-winters-pinterest-eventbrite-airbnb-tinder-canva-reddit-grubhub/

• Crafting The First Mile Of Product: https://medium.com/positiveslope/crafting-the-first-mile-of-product-7ed25e8f1027

• Shishir Mehrotra on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/the-rituals-of-great-teams-shishir-mehrotra-coda-youtube-microsoft/

• Scott’s tweet on only doing half the things you want to do: https://twitter.com/scottbelsky/status/1441469886975279109?s=20

• Matt Mochary on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/how-to-fire-people-with-grace-work-through-fear-and-nurture-innovation-matt-mochary-ceo-coach/

• Adobe Firefly: https://www.adobe.com/sensei/generative-ai/firefly

• Howie Liu (CEO at Airtable): https://www.linkedin.com/in/howieliu/

• ChatGPT: https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt

The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture by Scott Belsky: https://www.amazon.com/Messy-Middle-Finding-Through-Hardest/dp/0735218072

• Adobe Express: https://www.adobe.com/express

Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making by Tony Fadell: https://www.amazon.com/Build-Unorthodox-Guide-Making-Things/dp/0063046067

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on Netflix: https://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/Cosmos-A-Spacetime-Odyssey/80004448

• Vinod Khosla’s prediction: https://futurism.com/80-of-it-jobs-can-be-replaced-by-automation-and-its-exciting

• Queue: https://www.queue.co/

• Tome: https://tome.app/

• Kevin Kelly on The Tim Ferriss Show: https://tim.blog/2014/08/29/kevin-kelly/

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.

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.