Most product teams start with the founders. They manage product responsibilities until they can find product-market fit.
But as companies scale, founders must dedicate more time to externally-focused responsibilities and spend less time working with their design and engineering teams.
To make that possible, they need to leverage product people to execute their product vision. This means finding, hiring, and trusting the right product strategist.
Product Strategist Job Description
A product strategist can take over all the responsibilities involved in streamlining a product portfolio. This involves working cross-functionally to craft and implement a winning strategy to bring new features or a new product to the market.
For this reason, if you are making your company’s first product hire, you should look for candidates with experience product development and scaling teams. After all, this person will be responsible for setting the foundation of your product team from user experience to communication skills.
You must bring in a product manager who can learn and improve your processes, and in the long-run develop a team of builders who can execute on your vision.
13 Best Product Strategists to Hire
Finding a product manager who can dive into your current processes and optimize them is not a simple task. It involves a lot of searching until you find a perfect fit.
The ideal candidate has experience in your industry, proven track record optimizing product processes, strong leadership skills, ability to learn fast, and experience working cross-functionally.
Anything less than that might represent a hard-time making a transition of the product responsibilities ownership.
With that, I’ll share below a few exceptional product management professionals who might be good candidates for your company’s product manager role. I’ll start introducing myself:
1. Joshua Fechter
I’m a product and growth specialist with years of experience driving results to organizations in a vast array of industries.
In 2008, Product School named me the best Product Marketer in the world.
Also, Quora chose me as their top writer in both 2017 and 2018 respectively.
After founding and scaling several SaaS companies, I’m devoted to helping other business owners access the resources to do the same.
I currently partner with SaaS organizations to identify their needs and devise personalized product lifecycle strategies.
These are some of my latest study cases:
FutureFuel is a SaaS employee benefits company that streamlines student loan assistance as a benefit for HR leaders and employers to offer their employees. My team and I created 16 calculators for FutureFuel, as well as four extensive directories, among which you can find:
- Employee benefits directory
- Review phrase directory
- Student loan forgiveness directory
- 529 plan directory
Lumen5 is a SaaS company that allows video marketers to create videos seamlessly to market their brand, showcase their products, and reach new target audiences. We created 27 landing pages and their blog, wrote thirty blog posts, and acquired over 200 quality backlinks.
Squibler is a SaaS organization that we built from scratch to help writers practice and improve their storytelling, connect with each other, and write scripts for novels, screenplays, and short stories.
2. Erin Stewart
With over ten years of experience in Agile product management and product design, Erin Stewart succeeded in a variety of projects in B2B, B2C, and e-commerces.
She carries a background of working in pre-funding startups and in large Fortune 500 organizations. This gives her a holistic understanding of product strategy over every organizational stage.
Some of the companies that Erin worked include Custom Ink, YouMembership, Brazen Careerist, and CGI Federal.
If you decide that she’s a good fit for your company, she can certainly help you successfully achieve your product’s goals.
3. Greg Pinn
Greg Pinn has many years of experience devising and developing product strategy. His product expertise is focused on the financial industry.
His expertise goes from managing initial ideas through deployment -- including design, development, release, and go-to-market.
Greg worked at iComply Investor Services, Thomson Reuters, World-Check, and a few other organizations. His solid product background might represent an asset to your team.
4. Alex Bauer
Alex Bauer has experience helping companies streamline its product’s positioning, roadmap, and launch.
His product management career started at Flyreel, where he was responsible for compiling product specifications and documentation while tailoring solutions to the targeted audience.
He later joined Branch.io to work with product and growth.
His ability to simplify complexity to uncover what really matters in a product’s lifecycle can help your company streamline product operations.
5. Luke Lie
The next product management specialist on the list is Luke Lie. He is a veteran when it comes to product operations.
With experience in companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Delloite, and Uber, he knows how to scale global products.
Being a product manager at Uber indicates that Luke has proven ability to be constantly learning how to make the product evolve to delight users. That’s because Uber’s industry is a fast-changing environment, which makes quick adaptation a necessity.
Hiring Luke to be your company’s product manager can be a game-changer.
6. Ashley Higgins
Ashley Higgins is a product manager with experience bringing engaging consumer products to life for millions of users.
She was part of Reddit’s product team for more than four years, and today, she is a Product Manager at Clearbit.
One of Ashley’s colleagues at Reddit said “Ashley is result-oriented while maintaining a fun and personable attitude. She's entrepreneurial and will not settle for the success she has already achieved. She will always drive for improvement. She has rare business acumen and crisp decision-making ability.”
No doubt that her experience in companies that scaled fast made her a more complete product manager.
7. Pratik Shah
Pratik Shah is a product manager with a strong engineering acumen but also with a deep customer focus.
With experience in companies such as Airbnb and Lyft, Pratik specializes in marketplace companies.
At Airbnb, he devised a company-wide incentive strategy to migrate key customer segments from casual to power bookers. This resulted in an enormous improvement in the retention rates.
Before starting his MBA program at the University of Cambridge, almost a decade ago, he worked with Product & Partnerships at Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading provider of news and information-based tools to professionals.
Pratik’s background is ideal for marketplace companies that need to streamline their products.
8. Simon Burns
Based in San Francisco, Simon Burns is a product manager specialized in growth and consumer.
Simon has a track record contextualizing customers’ expectations so that engineers, designers, and researchers can bring them to life.
A few years ago, he founded Wealthcoin, which was later acquired by an established enterprise.
In the last five years, he worked as a product manager at both Opendoor and Earnin. At Opendoor, a real estate SaaS, he was the PM responsible for Opendoor Mortgages from inception through to the inflection point of the scale.
Simon experienced the journey of early-stage startups becoming successful organizations. The knowledge that he gained with that might be ideal for companies wanting to scale fast.
9. Chintan Udeshi
As a certified Scrum Master, Chintan Udeshi can successfully lead a development team backed by solid processes.
Chintai completed a Product Management Executive Program at the Haas School of Business. He also holds a computer science Master and an MBA.
Besides his outstanding academic background, Chintai also has extremely relevant hands-on experience. He worked for world-class companies including Apple, Infoblox, and Cisco.
The combination of his academic background with his leadership skills can help your business engage customers with stunning products and features.
10. Vijeta Rastogi
With a technical background, Vijeta Rastogi is the ideal hire for companies looking for a PM to focus on the development aspects of the product.
Vijeta is a Software Product Manager certified by Product School. She also holds an MBA and a Software Systems Masters.
She currently works as a Technical Product Manager at Medneon, a healthcare startup. In this role, she works directly with engineers and developers bridging the gap between them and strategy-oriented teams.
Previously, Vijeta worked at Dell, Tech Mahindra, and Hundy, Inc. She certainly represents an asset for any company needing a product manager with technical expertise.
11. Kelly Eng
Kelly Eng has a strong product background, as she transitioned into different spheres of product throughout her career.
She is currently a Group Product Manager at AdRoll, a growth marketing platform built for D2C brands.
But before becoming a Group Product Manager, she held the positions of Product Specialist, Product Marketing Manager, and Growth Product Manager -- all at AdRoll.
Kelly also worked on Google, where she developed deep technical knowledge of ad serving and HTTP protocol.
As a business owner, you can leverage her excellent problem-solving acumen to streamline your product team.
12. Melissa Doerken
Melissa Doerken is a product manager with experience working in fast-growing companies in the Bay Area.
She is a product manager at Square, a FinTech unicorn. Melissa previously worked at Earnest Inc., Pivotal Labs, Good Eggs, and ThoughtWorks in different product roles. In every role that she held, she presented outstanding outcomes.
Melissa received her B.A. from Yale University with honors. She also completed a program at the Unversità di Bologna, in Italy.
She is known for mastering interpersonal interactions and communication. Melissa excels in creating a shared understanding among her team to optimize cross-functional processes.
Her focus on data-driven experimentation mixed with empathy can take your product to a higher plateau.
13. David Sokolow
David Sokolow’s product strategy knowledge comes from experience in every business size, from big companies such as Deloitte to developing startups such as Grubhub.
He founded WeFind, a company that builds simple tools for influencer marketing. As the company was acquired by The Outloud Group, he assumed the position of advisor.
David currently works as a product manager at Intuit. In this role, he focuses on coming up with solutions for small businesses to manage human resources.
Besides being an extremely skilled product manager, he is also a distinguished leader. This is the right combo for companies looking for a product manager who can scale the product team.
Choose Your Ideal Product Manager
The best product manager for your company is the one who understands your industry’s trends and challenges. And more important than that, who has the drive to execute your product’s vision.
Hiring the right person for the job requires digging into candidates’ backgrounds and evaluating their achievements.
If you have the chance, look at their study cases to set the right expectations before you make a decision.
Handing on your product responsibilities to your new product manager might be a demanding transition for you. But once the shift happens, and you see yourself with more time to focus on other crucial spheres of your organization, you will be glad you made this decision.