My First 60 Days As a Product Manager at OpenGov

This post outlines what I've learned and experienced as a consultant product manager for OpenGov—a high-growth tech startup in Silicon Valley. When Peak Democracy merged with OpenGov in October, I found myself transitioning into a new role as Product Owner and Manager for Open Town Hall—Peak Democracy's flagship product. The mission of Open Town Hall is to build public trust in government for the good of society. We do this by building tools for local governments to receive input from their residents on community issues. By creating a constant stream of structured communication between people and their

What Does a Product Manager Do at a Silicon Valley Tech Startup?

In Silicon Valley and other tech hubs, Product Management ("PM") is referred to the leadership role whose responsibility it is to manage the intersection of business, technology and design towards the fulfillment of specific objectives. Image Credit: Tech In Asia — What we learnt about Product Management in Silicon Valley I have been really fortunate in my short career to have gotten just enough experience in each of these domains to enable me to dutifully fulfill this role at OpenGov for a product called Open Town Hall. I worked as a Ruby on Rails developer for a few months as I

My Journey at Peak Democracy: From Design Leadership to Product Management

The purpose of this post is to outline my journey at Peak Democracy, to share what I’ve learned and express my enthusiasm at the next stage of my career as I take on a new role as Product Manager & Lead Designer at Peak Democracy (now a part of OpenGov). Backstory In March, I began consulting for Peak Democracy—a company on a mission to build public trust in government. Their business centers on a web-based product called Open Town Hall, which is widely considered to be North America’s leading online civic engagement platform. Open Town Hall was

UX Help! Advice For Switching Careers into User Experience Design

Over the past two years, I've gotten a lot of emails from people that go something like this: Hey John, I stumbled on your site from [source]. I appreciate what you've done and how you share your process. I am looking at starting a career in UX and I was wondering whether you might be able to give some advice. Here's my background: [Background Story] Cheers, [Kind Career Switcher] I've written similar responses to such kind career switchers that I thought it would be useful to publish one as a blog post so that other people might benefit. Here it

My Migration From Digital Life

The substance of my decision churned in my stomach. I forced myself to rationalize the thoughts flooding into my mind, "I've just thrown away my digital career—turned down two dream opportunities with fantastic companies. What have I done?" I decided to write this post as a reflection for myself but also as a milestone for anyone else who might be struggling to find a fulfilling vocation and lifestyle amidst all the possibilities of this beautiful and broken world. Backstory About six months ago, I left a top UX Design agency in order to explore how I could help

10 Steps to Becoming a UX Designer

When I first set out to become a User Experience Designer, I had no college degree, and very little money—but I had a burning desire to learn and incredible life experiences. I had no roadmap for the journey that lay ahead, but I set out with all my heart, mind and soul and never looked back. This is the roadmap I wish I had from the start. These steps should provide a high-level overview for anyone interested in what it takes to become a UX Designer. 1. Understand & Articulate Core Concepts The most important task when approaching a