Jul 18 • 1HR 1M

Nickey Skarstad (Airbnb, Etsy, Shopify, Duolingo) on translating vision into goals, operationalizing product quality, second-order decisions, brainstorming, influence, and much more

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Lenny Rachitsky interviews world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.
Episode details

Nickey Skarstad is a Director of Product Management at Duolingo, where she is leading a stealth 0 → 1 product. Prior to Duolingo, she was VP of Product at The Wing, Product Lead at Airbnb, where she led much of the Experiences product team, Product Lead at Shopify, and Director of Product Management at Etsy.

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for making this episode possible:

Mixpanel: https://mixpanel.com/startups

Dovetail: https://dovetailapp.com/lenny

Unit: https://unit.co/lenny

In this episode:

[3:32] An overview of Nickey’s career

[7:39] What she learned from building product at Airbnb

[8:42] How to maintain and operationalize product quality

[9:44] Metrics that help you maintain quality

[20:08] Which company has most informed her product development approach

[21:57] How to structure your product org

[24:47] Should you go GM vs. functional

[27:18] How you set vision, translate that into goals, and then execute on it

[32:30] Brainstorming advice

[35:04] How to use OKRs effectively

[37:57] How to get better at influence as a PM

[41:23] How to know if a decision is a one-way or two-way door

[42:29] Second-order decisions, and second-order thinking

[46:35] Operationalizing principles

[47:17] Getting your team on board with your strategy

[49:39] Designing a product review meeting

[54:08] Tips for working remotely as a PM

[56:44] Lightning round

Where to find Nickey:

• Newsletter: https://nickey.substack.com/

• TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@nickeyskarstad

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

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


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Anne Helen Petersen