AI in Product Management: 3 Powerful Takeaways From Our Christine Itwaru Interview

January 3, 2024
Christine Itwaru Podcast Episode - AI in Product Management

Most of what I love about hosting our podcast are the insights I glean from conversations with my guests. My chat with Christine Itwaru about AI in Product Management is no exception.

We talked about many things, but three parts of our conversation stood out to me.

Zac’s Episode Takeaways

#1. Get Comfy NOT Being Right as a Product Leader

As a Product Leader, you have to be comfortable not being right. In my experience, this shows up in a few ways, but your mileage may vary; this is not exhaustive.

  • Sometimes, you interpret the data wrong. As we’ll see in the next point, data is really important, but how you interpret that data is even more important.
  • Sometimes, another team member’s idea is better. Ego can be a hard thing to let go of – this is especially true for me at times. I’ve learned that I’m no less valuable when my ideas aren’t the best. Product development is a team sport.
  • Sometimes, you make a bet that just doesn’t pan out like you hoped. You read the data right, the idea was sound, the implementation was flawless… and yet your customers just didn’t use it/buy it. That doesn’t mean you did a bad job; keep making those bets.

Listen to Takeaway #1

#2. Importance of Balancing Your Gut with Data

The importance of balancing your gut with data. I am naturally an intuitive decision-maker, but I’ve learned over the years that data and deeper thinking is really important to have balanced decision-making. Sometimes your gut is right, and I believe you should listen to it. And at the same time, it’s gotten me in trouble. What I’ve learned is that it’s great to combine the two. Have a position based on intuition (remember, anecdotal data is feeding that gut of yours), and then force yourself to look at data to see if it backs up that intuition. Two words of caution… one, be careful to avoid biased data that just supports your position. Two, sometimes it’s okay to go against the data; just be careful not to overdo it.

Listen to Takeaway #2


#3. Considerations for AI Solutions in a Product

AI was a very hot topic last year and will likely continue forward in some way. Try to find some middle-ground in integrating it into your product. For me, I seemed to find folks in one of two camps. The first is a deep fear of AI, which tends to be avoidant altogether. The second is more cavalier in their approach to integration into products. I think there’s wisdom in having some caution, but I also see some very cool benefits. In a recent interview, I really liked how Sam Altman characterized how they approach this balance at OpenAI. To paraphrase, there is a committee that reviews features/techniques, and at times, they have held back releases out of some caution for their potential negative impact, all while moving forward as a company.

Listen to Takeaway #3


Get the Complete Episode

In our full conversation about utilizing AI in the Product Management Lifecycle, we dive deeper into the subject as our discussion takes a few unexpected turns.

Listen to the Full Episode »

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