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What it takes to lead product at Square

What does it take to lead product at Square? A company famously focused on the details, with products that are supremely simple to use. Like its flagship credit card reader that has empowered millions of small businesses to start acting like big businesses. Plus, the company is lead by an iconic product person, Jack Dorsey, who has successfully grown Square into a public company worth billions (while also running Twitter for the past year!).

A good person to ask is Rohini Pandhi, Product Lead at Square and speaker at INDUSTRY, the Product Conference happening in Cleveland this September 15th and 16th. Rohini, who moved to a small town in Ohio from India with her family when she was three years old, always had the fascination with technology required for a modern day product person. She’d excite in taking apart computers and building web pages when she first jumped on the web.

Building on this, Rohini went on to study Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan and then later, after 4 years traveling the globe as a Citrix Consultant, Finance and Entrepreneurship as part of an MBA at Chicago Booth School of Business. At this point she was primed to take on the industry she loved — early stage startups, and in the place where it was all happening — Silicon Valley. For several years she moved from small startups that would be acquired, like Nodeable, to bigger tech companies like Rackspace.

Throughout this time, her role was focused — she was a product manager. Despite the practice being a relatively new one (at least by its modern definition), Rohini worked on developing the kinds of skills that make your presence in a company a crucial one. For instance, prior to Square she lead product for PubNub a data delivery startup. There, Rohini managed all product lines, developed both strategic and tactical plans and helped grow the company from 15 people to a team of 65.

At INDUSTRY, Rohini will delve much deeper into topics relating to this question, based on her experiences of going from product lead at a startup to something the size of Square. Such as how your PM responsibilities shift as you grow and have more people/resources at a company, how feature validation and prioritization processes change, how communication strategies change, and what doesn’t change.

Come join us at INDUSTRY to hear from Rohini Pandhi and other product leaders from places like Google Ventures, Slack, Hilton and others.

Paul McAvinchey
Paul McAvinchey
paulmcavinchey@gmail.com

For over 15 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast-growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. He's a co-founder of Product Collective, a 10,000+ strong worldwide community of product people. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.

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