Today’s guest is Christopher O’Donnell, SVP of Hubspot Product and songwriter/guitarist for the band The Providers. He shares with us today his role as a product manager and how he relates it to culture management, both in his music and tech career.
Leading and Supporting Teams
Christopher is a technologist, musician and public speaker who has built dozens of web and mobile products. Today, Christopher serves as Senior Vice President of Hubspot Product, which he led from startup ($50M in revenue) to successful publicly-traded company ($600M in revenue).
Moreover, Christopher has become a staple in the product management community and was recently named one of the Best Product Leaders of 2019 (via Comparably). As an experienced leader, he is passionate about leading and supporting teams to build anything, from developing tech products to creating rock & roll records.
Software and Music Production
Outside of his day job, Christopher spends his time as a songwriter and guitarist for his band The Providers. He actually majored in Electronic Music in College and has been enjoying collaborating with producers and his bandmates. He excitedly shares the similarities of creating music and creating software.
“It’s just amazing how many of the dynamics that we’re after are similar to making software. Our people have roles, who’s in charge of which piece of the puzzle. Building trust and having relationships, celebrating these little wins, getting excited about a project together.” – Christopher O’Donnell
Moreover, Christopher stressed the importance of creating a psychological safety environment that encourages different ideas, both in his workplace and in his music collaborations.
“To try to make something really amazing and really great, you have to have the security, culturally, to push each other. Find a way to say things like: ‘how about we try this other way?’ or ‘we’re not happy, it’s not good enough or ‘we need to go back and re-do this from the ground up.’ I see those both in the studio and also everyday here at work.” – Christopher O’Donnell
Christopher considers himself as someone who alleviates his team’s anxiety. He admits he is in continuous search on how he can effectively spend his time to address issues if his team.
He further encourages leaders to introspect on how effectively they can manage their time to spend it with people. This holds true not only with teams directly reporting to him but those who are on other departments as well.
“I am the Product Manager, which is like the record producer of software. These are the people who are not necessarily gonna play the instrument, not writing the code, but they are the ones in-change of shepherding the creation of a shared vision.” – Christopher O’Donnell
Download and listen to Why Product Management is Highly Relatable to Culture Management to learn more. Remember to let Christopher know you heard about him on Culture Eats Strategy with Jaime Jay!
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