Episode 8: And Then I Went Ice Skating

Episode 8

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In this episode of “Productly Speaking”, we talk about what happened when Karl went ice skating for the first (and last) time and how this became lived experience that led to truly understanding the importance of accessibility in product design. This type of lived experience and a strong desire to tinker are key to product management. After this discussion, we delve into empathy, contrasting emotional empathy with empathic concern and addressing the challenges of burnout. We discuss the criticality of having a healthy work-life balance and the need to value self-empathy and avoid self-gaslighting. We highlight some of our favourite learnings from the season, including understanding customer feedback, picking the right customers, and figuring out how to achieve product market fit. We then touch on imposter syndrome and the importance of authenticity in leadership. We also talk about teamwork, remote work, and using the two-hour design sprint to help bring people together. If that weren’t enough, we also talk about the ever-present but elusive inspiration and readiness required for product managers to seize opportunities. Lastly, we discuss the critical role that product managers play in understanding the jobs to be done and bringing value to the table. Enjoy this whirlwind journey as we look back on Season 1 of “Productly Speaking”.

Key Points

00:00Introduction 01:15Episode Introduction 01:31The ice skating story 04:19The importance of accessibility in your products 05:01Lived experience and a desire to tinker as keys to product management 06:04Empathy 07:49Empathy, burnout, and being emotionally empathetic versus having empathic concern 10:09Work-Life Balance 13:22Having empathy for yourself and not self-gaslighting 15:40Customer feedback, separating the signal from the noise, choosing the right customers, and product market fit 19:10Imposter syndrome and authenticity 21:27The value of teamwork 22:04Remote work, teamwork, the two-hour design sprint, and focus 28:21The unreliable muse and always being ready 30:48Jobs to be done 31:48What a product manager brings to the table 33:43Episode Wrap Up 35:21Outro

Call to Action

“Let us know what your takeaways were — what comments made you think? What new thoughts did you have listening to the podcast?”


“Life is short and it’s a great honor to get to help people. It’s really kind of the whole point of the product manager job. It shouldn’t be about ego stroking or about who can get ahead the fastest. It’s really about going out there, finding problems you care about, finding the people who have those problems, and solving them.”

Karl Abbott

“The value of teamwork and the value of bringing people from different segments of the organisation in order to do this together [is key]. It’s not one person’s responsibility to open the pickle jar. We are all having to kind of get a hand on it, get a finger on it, get an understanding of why the jar isn’t opening itself. And then we’re not frustrating each other because we’re all working in the same direction.”

Danielle Kirkwood

“If you can find something to get excited about, something to get interested in, then that can help you and sometimes that’s as easy as just going and talking to other people on your team that maybe you haven’t talked to as much before.”

Karl Abbott

“[Product management] should be fun. Work on a problem that intrigues you, that you can be curious about — because if it’s fun, then it’s not as tiring.”

Danielle Kirkwood

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Season 1Episode 8