January 27, 2022

Seek Out People You Can Learn From – Product Science Journal #27

The people we seek out and surround ourselves with can make such a huge impact on us. What have you been doing to seek out and connect with people you can learn from?

Seek Out People You Can Learn From – Product Science Journal #27
Written By:
Holly Hester-Reilly
Holly Hester-Reilly

Hi friends,

This week has been full of exciting things for me, and I’m thinking a lot about how the people we seek out and surround ourselves with can make such a huge impact on us.

Over the holiday weekend, I had a new experience – a post of mine made the front page of Hacker Noon on Medium and got over a thousand views in the first few days. And I owe the inspiration for the post to John Cutler, whose writing inspires me to build my own habits to ship content instead of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

This week I also have the great pleasure of sharing my podcast conversation with Catherine Ulrich, who is the best product leader I’ve ever worked for. She talks in the interview about how she sped up her learning curve when she first stepped into a Chief Product Officer role by cold e-mailing people she wanted to learn from. She got a 10% response rate, but the ones who did respond made a huge difference. The risk paid off.

Finally, I also began a new client engagement this week which started with a great strategy workshop. Like a lot of my work these days, the client came to me through a referral from a product leader that I would have not thought to reach out to earlier in my career. I’ve gotten much more comfortable asking for chats and intros and even sending cold e-mails. And that is paying off for me too.

So my question for each of you is, what have you been doing to seek out and connect with people you can learn from? If you haven’t been doing this yet, what’s holding you back? Hit reply and tell me about it.



Work Like a Unicorn: Understanding the Real Value of Agile Sprints

Hacker Noon

In this post, I argue that Agile is not easy, but it is worth it. If you can learn how to work like the unicorns, regardless of what pressures you feel from everyone around you to revert to comfort, you can create unique products and find untapped market opportunities.

How to Prioritize Your Networking


Dorie Clark is a wealth of knowledge building a network of successful professionals. This article resonated with me for its prioritization and focus – skills all good product managers already apply in other areas.

This 1 Piece of Advice Could Make Or Break Your Career


I love this article from Steve Blank, especially the way he describes how focusing on execution over learning and growth led to these students missing major opportunities. This “I just need to get it done” mindset affects us in more ways than one!

Join Me for an Upcoming Workshop to Learn How to Find Growth Opportunities in any Company

At my workshops, we walk through my step-by-step process for finding the best growth opportunities and, critically, building support and buy-in with stakeholders who have their own ideas about what you should build. So if you haven’t yet snagged the best product leader boss, come join me to learn how to do great product work with or without one.

Danielle Diamond, a brand storyteller for companies including Drift and Bumble, had this to say about it recently: “A few months ago I was lucky enough to sit in on Holly Hester-Reilly’s Data-Driven Product Decisions workshop, and I just HAVE to spread the word about this! Every company wants to be ‘customer driven’ but it’s easier said than done. Holly and her team have created a fool-proof system for building great products and working with stakeholders. I left the workshop energized and full of ideas and new perspectives, which has helped my business grow exponentially in 2019. This workshop will pay for itself.”

Learn more about the workshop

Recent Podcasts

We’re 17 episodes in now, and nearing the end of season 1. We’ll keep releasing episodes in June, take a break for the summer, and be back with season 2 in the fall. Check out these recent episodes:

Brought to you by H2R Product Science

Our team at H2R Product Science partners with startup founders and product leaders to share The Product Science Principles and the accompanying framework, the Product Science Method, which I’ve developed over my time in tech startups. Through our coaching and consulting work, we help our clients figure out which product growth opportunities they should pursue and build the product management skill to deliver on their goals.

Reach out if you’d like to explore working together.

Thanks for reading. Want to get this in your inbox? Sign up below.

More Posts