David London, senior director of product management and user experience, Marketron
Talk us through an average day in your role.
My day regularly follows a “normal” schedule. Each day we’ll typically have our daily standups and sprint meetings across product, user experience, engineering, and QA departments. Outside of these responsibilities, it’s about balancing all the work of a product manager and managing a team. We frequently meet with customers and internal stakeholders to gather and process feedback on our existing products, test new functionality, and identify new problems to solve. Then we’ll have separate sessions to work through feedback and define the work that needs to be done. Also, as a manager of both product managers and our user experience team, I hold weekly one-on-ones and collaboration sessions. Throughout the week, my team will work to track user data and evaluate the progress of our initiatives.
How did you get started in the media industry?
I started my journey by coming to work at Marketron! As an experienced product person, I really enjoy helping to solve problems through technology. There is an incredible opportunity in the media industry to help evolve the new era of media sales while also improving and optimizing old workflows and processes that have been crippled by a lack of effective tools designed to simplify and streamline workflows.
What training did you have before entering the industry?
I come from a business and product management background. I got into product management immediately after leaving business school. I’ve worked for Fortune 200 companies and Series A startups, B2C and two-sided marketplaces, hardware and software products, etc. I think that seeing how products are built and how users’ problems are solved in a variety of environments helps bring different practices into the media industry. For example, people are so used to consumer products and apps now that they are much less willing to settle for a cumbersome tool just because they are at work. With this in mind, we leverage all best practices to help solve problems in the media industry, particularly for the sales teams. I think that my lack of media industry background has helped me be successful here. Because I’m not comfortable with the status quo, I’m able to ask questions from an outside perspective and wonder if things can be done differently.
Why do you enjoy working in the industry?
It’s fascinating, especially for someone without 10 years in the business. The industry is going through many dynamic changes but still relies on traditional revenue streams that aren’t changing as fast as others might think. I love solving problems, and there are many to tackle here. I know that because I see Excel spreadsheets being used for daily work activities. I call that a workaround, and those usually exist because the available tools just don’t solve everyday problems.
What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours?
Know your craft and be very open to new learning experiences. Many people who apply do not have strong product and industry experience. That’s okay. We hire for our biggest needs and then train around the rest. It’s okay if you don’t have a media background (I didn’t), but you better learn it fast. Everything is learnable and coachable; you just have to want to grow.