Innovators

The best product leaders and resources from 2017

Two years ago, we launched The Signal believing that people are better off when they learn from their data. Since then, we’ve spoken with dozens of experts who share this belief and have the evidence to back it up. This year, our community of builders shared lessons, tales, and rubrics from tech’s sharpest thinkers and creative problem solvers.

At The Signal, we’re committed to helping our data-driven community learn from the expertise of others and build products and companies people love. We’ve found that the greatest way to learn is by cultivating a community (virtual, or otherwise) of people who demonstrate a spirit of experimentation and insatiable curiosity. That’s why we’ve identified 17 product leaders and resources from 2017.

Follow, subscribe, and learn from the very best.

What (or who) were your favorite product resources from 2017? Tweet with the hashtag #VeryMerryMixpanel to share your recommendations.

Julie Zhuo, VP of Product Design at Facebook:

We’ve been following Julie Zhuo, VP of Product Design at Facebook, for the past two years and love her incisive advice on building a product career. The Dear Abby for builders and designers, Julie talks about the hard stuff and answers one question from her audience every week.

Ellen Chisa, co-founder of a new developer toolkit company:

Way back when, Ellen Chisa shared her slant on creating a different type of product roadmap with The Signal. Now, as a Kickstarter and Lola Travel alum, she’s co-founded a new company with Paul Biggar that can help people build a complete, scalable app in an afternoon.

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Morgan DeBaun, CEO of Blavity and creator of AfroTech:

Morgan is an emerging media mogul of Blavity, the internet media company created by and for black millennials. She’s also the founder and community builder of the conference AfroTech. Follow her monthly emails of her favorite tools, hacks, and articles. (Oh, and did we mention she was named Forbes 30 under 30 and Silicon Valley Top Women in Tech?)

Guy Raz, co-creator, How I Built This:

Building a company is not for the faint of heart. However, some of the greatest founder lessons on how to build a company rise out of moments of vulnerability. Guy Raz, famed NPR journalist and storyteller, interviews top CEOs and founders to uncover the origin stories behind the most notable companies from Airbnb to Instagram to Ben & Jerry’s.

Bo Ren, product leader, writer, and tech humanist:

Sure her product resume is impressive – hailing from Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and more – but Bo really shines as a storyteller and builder looking to humanize the next generation of tech. You can find her all over the web, but our favorite introduction to her point of view is her TedX on how curiosity drives careers.

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First Round Review/First Round Search:

When you’re building a product, some questions keep you up at night. But that’s why there’s First Round’s First Search: the go-to source for all your founder worries. This search engine surfaces words of wisdom & actionable advice from the seed stage VC.

Camille Hearst, co-founder and CEO of Kit:

Camille created Kit, a recommendation site where experts share their best combinations of resources to become a master in a subject. She’s a design-thinking Stanford grad who has worked as a PM at titans like Apple, Google, & Youtube.

  • Twitter
  • Follow her Kit for her favorite book and “tools of titans” resources.

Jake Knapp, The New York Times best-selling author and creator of the Sprint Process:

At Google & Microsoft Jake helped build Gmail, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Encarta. Brush up this holiday season with his book and seminars.

Fei-Fei Li, Professor of CS & Director of Stanford AI Lab at Stanford:  

Fei-Fei Li is the Professor of CS & Director of Stanford AI Lab at Stanford. She’s also the Chief Scientist of artificial intelligence and machine learning for Google Cloud machine learning. In her previous research, she’s been able to determine a geolocation’s most common political affiliation based on the cars people typically drive.

Andrew Chen, Growth at Uber:

This might be obvious by now, but Andrew Chen is the elder statesman of growth hacking. You only wish you got these emails from him in business school. His latest essay about billion dollar marketplaces, and what makes companies like eBay, Airbnb, Alibaba, Uber, and Shopify so integral to people’s everyday reality, is a can’t-miss.  

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Patrick McKenzie, Engineer at Stripe:

Patrick McKenzie, an engineer for Stripe‘s Atlas team, unfurled a tweetstorm so refreshing that The Signal team took a collective sigh of relief. “Things Many People Find Too Obvious To Have Told You Already” covers everything from go-to-market plans to Silicon Valley’s meritocracy.

Andrew Ng, Co-Founder of Coursera:

Andrew Ng is the Godfather of AI & co-founder of Coursera, where he just rolled out a deep learning course as a follow-up to his very popular machine learning one. Formerly at Baidu, Google Brain, we’re eager to see what he does with his new $150 million AI venture fund.

Parul Singh, seed stage investor at Founder Collective:

Parul Singh, a seed stage investor at Founder Collective (and a founder herself) offers sage advice to builders who break the mold. Follow her on Medium to find out the seven deadly sins of data-driven founders or how entrepreneurs can ace the seed round.  

Benedict Evans, mobile and digital media expert, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz:

Start your week off right with Benedict Evans, “interestingness” curator for all things on the web. His email is the one to depend on for your tech and product news. It just might be the best thing you get in your inbox every week.

Ben Thompson, Stratechery:

He’s the author and founder of what The New York Times calls, “one of the most interesting sources of analysis on any subject.” Ben is a key teacher for any product person, no matter the stage of their career.

Paul Yokota, Director of Product Management, Animoto:

One of the brightest minds in product, Paul helps teams build amazing user experiences. A Mind The Product and This is Product Management podcast contributor, Paul does his best tweeting, well, everyday. Get your daily dose by reading what he tweets!

Rose Yao, Director of Product, Google  

After 12 years of experience, Rose is building the next generation of Google Maps. Gaining notoriety in communities like Women in Product and Code Like A Girl, Rose is generous with her teachings to those navigating their product careers. This year, she walked The Signal readers through the basics of machine learning and how someone can use the discipline to improve a product.

Looking for a New Year’s Resolution? Start with reading these top tech and product newsletters from 2017. Mattermark Daily, Product Management HQ, SaaStr, and Data Elixir are some of our “favorite things.”

 

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