Vikram Madan Uber
Vikram Madan is an Uber Product Lead. He is working on expanding Uber’s investment capacity and using Machine Learning to expand capital across Uber’s Marketplace efficiently.
Before this, he was a Principal Product Manager for Amazon Web Services, in charge of the Amazon SageMaker Ground Truth product.
Before that, Vikram completed two MBA internships in Partnerships and Product with W Venture Partners and IFTTT. He collaborated with developer teams and advised the CEO on which growth levers to focus on. Furthermore, Vikram earned his Bachelor of Science and MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
Product Decisions with Uber Product Leader: Design vs. Functionality
Vikram Madan, Product Lead at Uber, visited Product School this week for a special #AskMeAnything session. Vikram explains how to balance design and functionality, the transition from engineering to product, and navigate the PM landscape.
Get to know Vikram
Vikram is an Uber Product Lead. He is working on expanding Uber’s investment capacity and using Machine Learning to expand capital across Uber’s Marketplace efficiently. Before this, he was a Principal Product Manager for Amazon Web Services, in charge of the Amazon SageMaker Ground Truth product.
How do you choose between Design and Functionality?
It is an excellent question but challenging to answer in practice. Numerous considerations depend on whether your company is B2C or B2B. The following factors will influence your decision:
Time-to-market: Do you essential to get your product out as soon as possible, or do you have time to perfect it to make the best first impression?
Opportunity to learn: Launching an MVP to learn from customers and improve your product quickly is standard practice.
Technical difficulties: You should work with your engineering/science teams to determine the feasibility of the proposed design/functionality.
One/two-way doors: Always optimize for two-way door technical designs early in product development. If you take a one-way flight, This decision will limit your ability to adapt to the customer’s needs.
What is the release strategy for Uber’s Marketplace?
We plan in half-year increments: (1) January to June and (2) July to December.
Define the OKRs for each half (at the end of the last half, for example, Dec 2021 for H1 2022) and execute against those OKRs. We give ourselves the give to identify features during the half that will help us meet the set-out OKRs. Still, we also recognize some big-ticket items we will execute before the next half.
What advice would you provide to someone looking to learn about the PM Landscape of a Specific Company/Team?
Generally, reading news/blogs/Twitter is critical to understanding the company’s current opportunities/challenges. For example, Facebook heavily invests in AR/VR while addressing major data privacy concerns. These are significant headwinds that should influence your product hypotheses. In general, first principles thinking is a valuable skill for project managers. Still, an effective PM also integrates first principles thinking with the larger context of a company/organization.
What resources were you most useful when interviewing for your client position at Uber?
It is critical for these “Bits to Atoms” companies to consider:
The business’s dual nature and the real-world consequences of your decisions
(1) for example, there are Riders and Drivers. Both are Uber’s mission-critical customers.
(2) significantly increasing Demand (i.e., more Riders taking more rides) will significantly impact the marketplace – both the Rider and Driver experience.
Also read: How much are 36 Celsius?
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