This is part 1 of a multi-part series in which I tell the story of how I left the corporate world and a six-figure salary to pursue becoming an entrepreneur.

In the past, I’d never left a job without another one lined up. I’d never even taken a vacation between jobs. For seven years.

But in February 2020, I decided to leave the corporate world and a six-figure salary without a concrete plan.

This is an account of what led me to do something so (seemingly) erratic and the turbulent journey that followed.

Golden Handcuffs

After graduating from university in 2013, I…

“I’m going to self-publish my first book during a global pandemic!” said no one. Ever.

But before I get into the nitty-gritty of why I wrote the book, how I wrote it, the mistakes I made and why that darn chicken crossed the road… I’ll share the stack I used to self-publish my book, The Making of Product Managers.

My product stack

Product ideas are overrated, execution is underrated

Image of a toy hippo.
Image of a toy hippo.
Image by author — The inspiration behind the name “Hippokite.”

Product ideas are overrated, execution is underrated.

But what’s even more underrated than execution is getting started on a product idea—any idea—to practice how to execute.

Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of taking a long time to pick the best idea to work on. As a result, they delay learning how to put themselves out there and launch something they’ve created.

This is an account of how I built and launched my first ever product idea, Hippokite. …

My LinkedIn profile
My LinkedIn profile
Image by author

I used to think that my work experience was just a collection of my past jobs. I just assumed that my work experience was disjointed because I’d worked in a variety of different roles and industries. So I never bothered to try and connect it all together in a cohesive way.

But when I quit my full-time job a year ago to pursue entrepreneurship, I realized I could no longer define myself by my current job—I didn’t have one! And my last job no longer defined me, only my former (and rather transient) self.

I had to find a way…

This is a free sample story from my book The Making of Product Managers.

Negar studied marketing in university and later worked as a Marketing Executive at a professional association. Then she decided to acquire technical skills in web development to get closer to the product development process. After attending a web development boot camp and working as a web developer at a small startup, she got the opportunity to become a product manager.

Early Career in Marketing

Negar studied Marketing at the undergraduate level at a university in Vancouver, B.C. After graduating in 2013, she moved to London, U.K. and began working as…

This is a free sample story from my book The Making of Product Managers.

It is unusual that Michael’s first brush with product management was during his master’s degree in systems design engineering. After his master’s degree, Michael discovered that he no longer wanted to be an engineer. He spent a few years working in business analysis and account management while searching for a job in which he could use his unique combination of engineering, design, and analytical skills. …

Many of us are fluttering through our careers, unable to move past the short-term as we whisk through a myriad of tasks on a daily basis. We rarely stop to reflect on what we have done and instead leave our future up to chance, and blame everything else for our lack of success.

We need to snatch back control of our future by pushing ourselves to make small, regular investments towards the long-run. One way to do this is to track all our accomplishments on a regular basis. …

We are at risk of only listening to what we want to hear. The main lesson I learned from conducting almost 100 customer interviews for product discovery over the last six months is that there are many ways in which we can become biased during customer interviews.

I have read many books, articles and blog posts as well as listened to podcasts about how to effectively talk to customers, but doing a large number of customer interviews myself was how I realized just how easily we can be led astray. …

How it all started

Ever since I quit my full-time job in February 2020, I’ve kept an eye out for opportunities to work on new business ideas with other people. I was very vocal about this with my friends, acquaintances and mentors.

In late August 2020, an acquaintance of mine introduced me to two experienced entrepreneurs who had an idea for a marketplace in the e-commerce space. They were looking for an early collaborator to join them to validate the idea and build the business.

Here is a summary of the overall project:

Lena Sesardic

Product Manager turned Entrepreneur, Creator and Writer. I write about product management, customer discovery, entrepreneurship and audience building.

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