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100 Product Managers Interview with Chris Brereton from Cornerstone OnDemand

Aug 22, 2016

Episode 4: “Lessons from the Enterprise” with Chris Brereton, Cornerstone OnDemand

By: Suzanne Abate @suzanneabate

Chris Brereton got his start in product management as the lead screamer for the band Avarice.

“The process for me is very much the same [as being in a band], where you’ve got multiple people with multiple talents that have to somehow come together and work on their instruments or their talents in harmony and come out with some product, or song, or record, and hope that somebody enjoys it enough to buy it.”

Chris tells me this with a softer voice, in concert with the sound of barking dogs and decorative water fountains. We’re in Santa Monica, just beyond the mega office of Cornerstone OnDemand — a cloud-based learning and talent management solutions company with nearly 2,000 employees — where Brereton works as Senior Product Manager.

But Chris wasn’t always a “cog in the big wheel.” He started his tech career as a web development consultant before pivoting his way into product management as a founding partner of a too-soon-for-its-time photo sharing platform.

The big appeal for me was to learn from the CEO. Adam is about thirty feet away from my desk, and he’s obviously built a company way larger than I ever did. I figured in the interim of figuring out what I’m going to do next, this would be a really good place to learn from somebody who’s done it on a grand scale. — Christopher Brereton

In this episode of 100 PM we cover:

  • How even a team of thirty-five product managers still find themselves short on resources
  • The “seasonality” of stakeholder demands and the politics of corporate life
  • Why it’s hard to be lean when you’re big
  • The pros and cons of outsourcing product management
  • A true tale of pivot, pivot, pivot

I so much enjoyed meeting Chris. He’s talented and generous and funny as hell. And, he’s bursting with recommendations for great product management resources — which you can check out at the 100 PM Reading List. I hope you’ll give our conversation a listen below, and be sure to give Chris a follow on Twitter!


Cornerstone OnDemand

Cornerstone OnDemand helps organizations to recruit, train and manage their people. They work with hundreds of the world’s largest companies—from Walgreens and Starwood Hotels & Resorts to Deutsche Post DHL and Xerox—and thousands of smaller ones to help them engage their workforces and empower their people.

100 Product Managers began with a mission to interview one hundred active product managers in Los Angeles - from startups to enterprise. We didn't realize we were also pioneering the web's first consolidated and comprehensive resource for product management topics.