May 6, 2024

The Effective Manager, How to Pivot, Thick Skin, Team Alignment and Ship First

Key Takeaways #1

#1 The Effective Manager

Take care of your team, set goals, and help them achieve those goals.

The definition of an effective manager is one who gets results and keeps their people.

Your first responsibility is to deliver whatever results your organisation expects from you. Your second responsibility as a manager is to retain your people.

The Effective Manager by Mark Horstman

#2 How to Pivot

A successful pivot often leverages existing expertise and builds on prior knowledge. You don't necessarily need to have that experience to pivot before starting the company; it could come from trying to build the company.

Successful pivots often build on prior knowledge and experience. The founders of Retool had experience with similar internal tools when building Cashew, a Venmo competitor. When Cashew failed, their familiarity with analytics and strong opinions on the topic due to their prior experience sparked another idea that eventually became Retool. You don't need to necessarily have that experience before you start the company; it could come from trying to build the company.

Read more: 10 Insights from Lessons Learned from 1,000+ YC Startups with Dalton Caldwell

Usually, a successful pivot gets warmer instead of colder from what you're an expert at and somehow builds on what you learned on the prior idea.

In the case of Retool, it was the same thing. They had built similar internal tools both at their internships as well as for Cashew. They had all these dashboards they built to operate their Venmo competitor. And so they knew a lot about what to build in the case of postprod, pivoting and through idea, they knew a lot about analytics and had strong opinions about it. And so it was much closer than what the original idea is.

A good pivot is like going home. It's warmer, it's closer to something that you.

Dalton Caldwell

#3 Thick Skin

This good advice from Danny Postma is not only valuable for founders but also for anyone in Product/UX, as your execution will be challenged by customers, peers and the leadership team. Nevertheless, push forward and make it happen!
Thick Skin Danny Postma

#4 Team Alignment

Don't forget to periodically check

When the team understands the goals, the users, and the reasons for the original decisions, each member can make better decisions in the moment, rather than relying on the product manager or designer to answer every single question.

Build Better Products by Laura Klein

#5 Ship First

When testing a new feature or product, it's usually better to launch it in a good enough state to get user feedback and learning opportunities. You can optimise it later if the concept works. Exceptions include regulated verticals, high-risk areas, and/or enterprise clients.

Ship First


The key points for effective management, successful pivots, resilience, team alignment, and product launching strategies.
The Effective ManagerFocus on achieving results and retaining your team by setting goals and helping them achieve them.Mark Horstman
How to PivotLeverage existing expertise and build on prior knowledge. Successful pivots are closer to your area of expertise and learnings.Dalton Caldwell
Thick SkinBe resilient and push forward despite challenges from customers, peers, and leadership.Danny Postma
Team AlignmentEnsure the team understands goals and decisions to make better independent decisions.Laura Klein
Ship FirstLaunch products/features in a good enough state for feedback, optimizing later if successful, except in regulated/high-risk areas.General Advice

See Key Takeaways #2
About Max Antonov
Head of Product @ Backpocket and a Product Coach. I write about product management and random topics that are on my mind. You can find me on Twitter, Substack, LinkedIn or Goodreads