Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Mastering product strategy and growing as a PM | Maggie Crowley (Toast, Drift, Tripadvisor)
Mastering product strategy and growing as a PM | Maggie Crowley (Toast, Drift, Tripadvisor)

Brought to you by Productroadmap.ai—AI to connect your roadmaps to revenue | Composer—the AI-powered trading platform | Eppo—Run reliable, impactful experiments

Maggie Crowley is VP of product at Toast and previously vice president and head of product at Charlie Health, senior director of product management at Drift, and a PM at TripAdvisor. She’s also the host of Build, a podcast dedicated to product and product management. In today’s conversation, Maggie shares:
• The value of building a broad-based PM skill set
• Three qualities of the best product managers
• A step-by-step guide for crafting a product strategy
• How to break into PM
• Why great writing is often just simplifying your writing
• Why being too data-driven is a red flag
• The impact of content creation on Maggie’s career

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

Find the full transcript at: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/mastering-product-strategy-and-growing-as-a-pm-maggie-crowley-toast-drift-tripadvisor/

Where to find Maggie Crowley:

• X: https://twitter.com/maggiecrowley

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maggie-crowley-42a97112/

Where to find Lenny:

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

• X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

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

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Maggie’s background

(04:06) Three common traits among the best product managers

(09:33) Strategy is an important but small part of the job

(11:14) How to get better at simplification

(13:39) Tips on simplifying your writing

(15:13) Ownership as a PM

(17:53) Examples of simplifying your work

(19:39) Maggie’s Slack support group

(21:37) How to improve on following up on your work

(23:23) A realistic time horizon for PMs

(26:31) Staying in your role vs. trying a new opportunity

(27:37) The importance of “carrying the water” 

(28:56) Pros and cons of the PM job

(31:42) Advice on landing a PM role

(34:36) Maggie’s step-by-step process for writing your product strategy

(39:55) Not every feature needs a strategy

(46:29) The value of working through the process

(48:09) Maggie’s one-pager doc 

(54:16) Contrarian corner

(55:44) The worst product Maggie ever shipped

(58:33) Why being “data-driven” is a red flag

(1:01:10) Content creation as a career accelerator

(1:14:27) Closing thoughts

(1:15:17) Lightning round


• David Cancel on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dcancel/

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction: https://www.amazon.com/Writing-Well-Classic-Guide-Nonfiction/dp/0060891548

• Notion: https://www.notion.so/

• The Minto Pyramid Principle and the SCR Framework: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/minto-pyramid-principle-scr

• Drift: https://www.drift.com/

• Maggies Top 5 Product Lessons for 2021: https://www.drift.com/podcasts/build/?wchannelid=hg0p3zf4yx&wmediaid=nxrdvmotr3

• Unpacking Amazon’s unique ways of working | Bill Carr (author of Working Backwards): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/unpacking-amazons-unique-ways-of-working-bill-carr-author-of-working-backwards/

• Inside Linear: Building with taste, craft, and focus | Karri Saarinen (co-founder, designer, CEO): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/inside-linear-building-with-taste-craft-and-focus-karri-saarinen-co-founder-designer-ceo/

• Adam Medros on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amedros/

• How Figma builds product: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/how-figma-builds-product

• Strategy Document Template: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1frggEj_gfFD4--8eNkkyY-zHryXbN5uIS8uiMDCYVes/edit

• Shreyas Doshi on pre-mortems, the LNO framework, the three levels of product work, why most execution problems are strategy problems, and ROI vs. opportunity cost thinking: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/shreyas-doshi-on-pre-mortems-the-lno-framework-the-three-levels-of-product-work-why-most-execution-problems-are-strategy-problems-and-roi-vs-opportunity-cost-thinking/

• Einstein quote: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/albert_einstein_122232

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience: https://www.amazon.com/Presentation-Secrets-Steve-Jobs-Insanely/dp/0071636080

Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Dont Have All the Facts: https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Bets-Making-Smarter-Decisions/dp/0735216371

Scaling People: Tactics for Management and Company Building: https://www.amazon.com/Scaling-People-Tactics-Management-Building/dp/1953953212/r

• Slow Horses on AppleTV+: https://tv.apple.com/us/show/slow-horses/umc.cmc.2szz3fdt71tl1ulnbp8utgq5o

• Future: https://www.future.co/

• Ladder: https://www.joinladder.com/

• Pump Log: https://pumplogapp.com/

• Huckleberry: https://huckleberrycare.com/

• Toast: https://pos.toasttab.com/

• Careers at Toast: https://careers.toasttab.com/homepage

• What differentiates the highest-performing product teams | John Cutler (Amplitude, The Beautiful Mess): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/what-differentiates-the-highest-performing-product-teams-john-cutler-amplitude-the-beautiful-mess/

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.