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100 Product Managers Interview with Jim Semick from ProductPlan

Jan 17, 2017

Episode 23: “Founders are Product Managers, Too” with Jim Semick, ProductPlan

By: Suzanne Abate @suzanneabate

When I first walked into ProductPlan's Santa Barbara office - on the second floor of a converted warehouse in a hip wine bar enclave known as the "funk zone" - I had a quintessential startup moment.

Co-founder Jim Semick appeared to be surfing at a standup desk right by the front door. He met me with a proper handshake and an ear-to-ear grin. Within seconds, the rest of the small team were also up from behind their desks (all pneumatic adjustables) offering more smiles, more greetings. These "surfboards" were everywhere. A gift from their neighbors, FluidStance.

But it turns out ProductPlan is not the "quintessential startup" if that definition implies loads of misspent VC money on Macs, snacks and games culminating in a crash and burn finale.

It's the result of four and half years of calculated customer development, deliberate self-funding, and commitment to delivering a quality product that benefits Product Managers across the globe.

I think it's a really great time for product managers, but there is so much more for product managers to have to make them more efficient, so many more processes for them to understand, like customer development and some of the basics around product management to make them more effective and be more strategic. - Jim Semick

Jim took a break from standing to sit down with 100 PM and talk about his product management journey - from the early days of hikes and beer with co-founder Greg Goodman, to conducting interviews with over 70 product managers to "prove" the concept, to today's global reach spanning fifty countries.

Also in this conversation:

  • What is Customer Development and why it's critical
  • The benefits of bootstrapping your business
  • When Founders need to hire Product Managers

Would you like to hear my full chat with Jim Semick? Tune in below or listen on iTunes.

Want more good stuff?

  • Meet Jim Semick and Greg Goodman live in LA on January 31 with the product teams from Pivotal Tracker and Notion for Product Stack LA. RSVP here.

  • Check out this article on the Kano Model of features prioritization, referenced in this episode

  • Head over to "Entrepreneurs are Everywhere" and hear Jim in conversation with the Godfather of Customer Development, Steve Blank


ProductPlan - Create Beautiful Roadmaps

ProductPlan is the easiest way to plan, visualize, and communicate your product strategy. Roadmaps are essential to create organizational alignment and ship successful products and ProductPlan has all the intuitive features needed for building, managing, and sharing roadmaps to help teams across the globe convey the big picture in one place.

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.