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A Summary of

3 Types of Product Managers: Builders, Tuners, Innovators

by
Sachin Rekhi
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Product management specializations are emerging

  • Hiring managers look for product managers with skill sets depending on the specific product stage and challenges they are solving for

The 3 main specializations are:

  • Builders: drive the roadmap for an existing product in order to build ever more useful, usable, and delightful experiences. The recommended first step for product managers. Super powers:
    • Customer empathy
    • Ruthless prioritization
    • Sweat the details
  • Tuners: have an unwavering focus on a specific north star and do everything in their power to move that metric. Super powers:
    • Analytical ninja
    • Hypothesis-driver
    • Relish moving the needle 
  • Innovators: tasked with the incredibly challenging job of finding product/market fit for a brand new product. Super powers: 
    • Product intuition
    • Market understanding
    • Comfortable with ambiguity 

How to find the right PM specialization for you:

  • All of these types of product managers exist
  • At smaller startups, product managers’ specialization depends on product’s stage
  • Every product manager does work embodied in all 3 roles
  • Junior product managers should seek out experiences in all 3 roles to round out their product expertise
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