Welcome to Amit Bhatnagar's Blog V4.0! :-)
I first started blogging in 2005 sometime in my final days at MNNIT Allahabad. This was on Blogspot and I just found that the blog still exists! Now the fact that I don't recognize my own voice in those posts is a different story. With time, not only does one's writing style change but so do one's tastes and perspectives on different things in life. The blog was somewhat on the same lines as most personal blogs in that era used to be: more or less like a public diary. Sometime in 2007, I migrated to WordPress (V2.0) and then in 2010, imported that blog to my own website amitbhatnagar.com (V3.0).
V3.0 had the longest run. From 2010 to 2015, I was fairly active on the blog. The purpose this time was very different: It was to showcase me as somebody who understands internet products, internet users and the tech industry in general. (This was the time that I moved from being an MBA candidate to a digital strategy consultant to a product strategy manager to finally a product manager!) I would write on everything ranging from my review of a new app to what new features Facebook can introduce to people's unwillingness to pay even a dollar for an app. One interesting source of topics to write about was: Quora. I would answer questions on Quora and then export those on my blog. I know that hurt SEO, but my purpose was to make an impression on those who would land on amitbhatnagar.com from my email signature or the link in my resume. You can find what the website looked like on the Wayback machine.
If you are an early career PM or a product aspirant, you should know that this really worked. I have got interview shortlists and invites to test app betas based on the posts on my blog. At Microsoft, my amazing recruiter had taken prints of some of the relevant posts on my blog and kept them in the candidate packet for the interviewer's review! However, nothing beats the experience of a random stranger at a crowded career fair in 2012 asking me "By any chance, are you "Amit Bhatnagar" from amitbhatnagar.com? I am an MBA student aspiring for a post-MBA career in tech industry and I read your blog regularly." At that moment, I knew that all my investment in the blog was worth it!
Other than these attempts of keeping my personal blog active, I have been regularly writing for the blogs of the institutes and the organizations I have been part of. I was on the core team of the Voice of Goizueta blog of my business school and the tech blog of OYO. But my proudest contribution to the blogosphere has been the Dineout Tech Blog, which was instrumental in building the Brand Dineout attracting some top-notch talent to the company.
So what can you expect from Amit Bhatnagar's Blog V4.0? You can primarily expect this version to hover around topics related to product leadership, product management and the tech industry in general, but I may occasionally write on other topics too.
Some of the product topics I intend to cover:
Product Culture: This is a topic very close to my heart, but very few people outside product management understand what this means. In fact, many folks with titles of product managers get reduced to project managers in absence of product culture. Product culture is something I have built, transformed, coached people on and delivered multiple talks on. Expect multiple posts on this topic.
Breaking into a product management career: Product Management is a glamorous role and looks like an easy one from the outside. Is PM really the CEO of the product? Is a PM career right for you? Is an MBA needed? How to beat the chicken-and-egg problem of "No PM experience" <-> "No interview calls for PM roles"? Will touch on some of these in my upcoming blogs. (Answering the first one right away though: The answer is NO).
Excelling as a product manager: Now that you are a product manager (or at least have the title), how can you be a successful product manager that does the right thing for the customer while achieving the business goals in parallel? How do you balance doing the right thing for your company and the right thing for your career? (If you handle things right, these are not at odds.) Is it better to specialize in a domain or an industry or be a generalist PM? Expect some posts answering these questions.
Transitioning from a product manager to a people management role: Being a successful product manager to a manager of product managers is not as natural a career progression as people think it is. Reforge has written a detailed blog on this topic, which I often share with new people managers. Can you be a product leader without managing people? For sure, you can be one. But if you really want to get into people management in product management, I will be writing on how to gear up for it. (Baptism by fire is something I ask people to avoid unless they are starting up.)
Non-product topics: Miscellaneous topics, which I may occasionally write on may include Books/app reviews, Quizzes, Cricket (Especially Cricket Stats) and Returning to India after a career abroad. People, who may know me, won't be surprised to see this list. :-)
What else would you want me to write on? Are there any specific categories from the list above or specific topics from any category that you want to know more about? Please let me know in the comments section.