Sponsored by Audible
Photo courtesy of Audible.
Myriam Kruse started her career in product management through “a series of intentional decisions and happy accidents,” she shares.
“First, I hold a Master’s Degree of Industrial Engineering and Innovation, which has given me expertise in leading complex projects and implementing innovation processes in organizations,” Kruse explains. “At school, I was also passionate about product marketing, user research and strategy, so I signed myself up for a few internships in marketing and consulting firms over a few summers. I immediately loved the idea of listening to customers, translating data into insights and inventing on their behalf. I then found out that career was called product management. And so began my career in product.”
Using this as her goal, Kruse set out to find the “perfect first job,” which would combine her interest in understanding customer intent with her skill at building products with people. This led her to Audible three and a half years ago, when she started at the company as a senior product manager in the global expansion and growth product team. Now, she’s a senior director of product management and leads the same team she started on.
Here, Kruse shares more details about her role as a product manager, as well as advice for entering this field yourself! Read on to learn more…
The global expansion and growth product team is a small team, but we cover a lot of ground. My team’s mission is to ensure that we deliver exceptional experiences to our customers globally.
Most of my day-to-day is spent on strategizing and operationalizing the international rollout plan of our products and on providing product insight to support regional decisions.
The multicultural environment has always been a strong driver in my career choices. I grew up in France, and also lived and worked in Germany and Spain, and now in the U.S. In my day-to-day, I get to work with a wide range of stakeholders from different backgrounds and cultures, from engineering, UX design, BI, legal, finance, marketing and more.
At Audible, we innovate to help enrich the lives of our customers around the world. I joined Audible as a customer about seven years ago; I had just become a mom and suddenly found myself with no time to sit and enjoy a good book, which had been such a big part of my life for the longest time.
I’ll never forget that stroll in Central Park NY, with my newborn, when I hit play on Audible for the first time — it felt like revisiting a lost part of my identity. I often think about people’s personal connections with Audible and the way we support them in achieving their full potential in life. This motivates me to give the best of myself at work.
The most rewarding aspect is to launch products! Launch days are the ultimate best; there is the adrenaline, the close-knit team, the bittersweet end of a project and the beginning of a new adventure.
I think the best PMs have strong product chops and high emotional intelligence. In my experience, those are the ones who create products that customers love and inspire peers to reach their full potential.
Good PMs have solid competencies; they are good at defining, shipping and iterating on products. They start with the customer, leverage data to make informed-decision and have a bias for action and simplicity.
Great PMs have a high emotional intelligence that manifests itself through an ability to communicate effectively, empathize, and diffuse conflicts. It is the intelligence that drives relationship building and maintenance, which is crucial when having to influence without authority.
Pause and go back to the problem you are trying to solve for. This simple technique is actually a demonstration of an effective approach to problem solving that promotes deep thinking through questioning. Sometimes, when the problem is very complex, the stakeholders particularly difficult, or when the pressure is high, it can get overwhelming enough that you could end up spending energy on solving the wrong problems.
I have always felt valued, supported and empowered by my managers, mentors and sponsors at Audible.
I have met people who have trusted me and helped me stay motivated to do my best work. I have had ongoing conversations with my managers about where I am at in my career, where I’m headed and the steps to get there. I have also been promoted twice during my time at Audible, and moved from individual contributor to people manager.
Over the years, I have also invested in building my personal board of directors, which is a small group of people who have diverse perspectives and experiences (some of them work at Audible) that I go to for advice on advancing my career.
Over the past two years, I have led important evolutions of our product offerings for the Audible service for the UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, and Japan, dramatically increasing the value of Audible membership for customers in those countries.
In 2020, my team led the launch of the Audible service for Spain (audible.es). This significant achievement excelled at elevating the local culture and content to make the Audible experience look and feel authentic for our Spanish customers.
I’m part of Audible’s women in tech group, which supports the growth and development of the women in tech community at Audible.
Outside of Audible, I mentor at Build By Girls, which is an organization that prepares the next generation of female leaders, builders and creators to step into careers powered by technology. I also teach a Digital Leadership & Innovation course at Brainstation, a global leader in digital skills training.
Audible is a great place to work; it is a mission-driven company that genuinely cares about its people. As a result, we get to work with some of the most talented and inspiring people out there.
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