Product management jobs in fintech and how to handle them
One of the more coveted roles in fintech is the product manager, capable of earning up to $830k at the right companies. If you're a so-called 'mini CEO' expecting total autonomy over your product, however, Jx Lye, a product veteran in fintech, has some bad news.
Lye, founder and CEO of Acme technologies, was formerly a partner and CPO at Samuel Rhee's Endowus, and held product roles at Dropbox and Lyft during a stint in San Francisco. Speaking on the BRAVE podcast, he says, "the manager in product manager is fake; you don't manage anyone or anything."
Following up with eFinancialCareers, Jx specified that PMs "own the product vision [and] drive the product" but advises them to remember the engineers and designers "don't report to you. You work in a team." Attempting to boss your contemporaries about will get you nowhere: "you might think you're the CEO, but you're not."
Most of your role as a product manager will be motivational. Lye says product managers should "spend a lot of time working with your engineers, your designers, trying to sell the vision." He says, "the core skill set of a product manager is the ability to execute, GSD" (Get S*** Done). The key to excelling at this is understanding both your vision and your strategy, "where you see your product and how you're going to get there." A measure of success for a product manager is their ability to "make sure you're getting everyone on the same page."
He also posits a unique aspect of product roles in fintech. "Sleek user experience" is actually the easy part to Lye, "you should be able to do it almost with your eyes closed." Instead, it's the "platform and infrastructure that supports it." Startups in finance much more than traditional institutions "encourage experimentation within a pre-agreed set of guardrails." Because of their innate differences, Jx says the TradFi definition of a product manager is "very different to how a Silicon Valley style tech company does it. Fintech PMs take a tech focused approach, but also own more aspects of the product, "from the user experience to the strategy and sometimes even the PnL."
Product roles are very different by location, too. Lye spent some time working in China at TikTok owners ByteDance, and was told "you should take a pay cut before joining," as he would have to "unlearn what [he] learned in the US in order to excel as a product manager" there.
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