This post was inspired by the “Day in the Life” series of Tech in Asia where personalities in the Asian tech community recount what they do on a typical day.
CONTEXT: I am the senior product manager for financial services at Ayannah, one of the world’s top fintech companies specializing in payments and remittance in the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. Recently, the company has entered the lending, investments and insurance space. I am currently leading the development of the country’s first credit scoring engine for the unbanked using artificial intelligence.
As a product manager, I feel like the Avatar who needs to master all four elements to manage the chaos and complexity of developing a new product. By four elements, I mean the customer, the business model, the technology and the relationship of the team. Instead of linking the mortal and spiritual world, I link the commercial and technical aspects of the product.
Some people would agree with me if I say that it’s the most exciting job in tech. Think of the position as a mini CEO of the product. It requires too many skills to learn that’s why it helps that I’m a geek who tries to learn as much as I can. Although the work is too diverse to be reduced to a simple set of daily activities, I tried to give it a shot in this post.
7AM The alarm goes off (which gets snoozed for 30 mins). I shower then take my time eating breakfast while watching the news, reading articles or catching up with the latest family or neighbourhood chismis from our yaya. I have to kill time until 8:45AM when our driver takes me and my uncle to work at Ortigas. Because of the traffic, I usually read a book or listen to a podcast. I’m currently reading Ambeth Ocampo’s Rizal Without the Overcoat.
9:30AM I arrive at work, settle down and continue sending the emails that I started composing while traveling. Important meetings are scheduled in the morning whether it’s a face-to-face meeting with a lending company, a video conference from a partner investment house or a call from one of our data partners. I try to finish all external communications in the morning so it can be addressed by our partners immediately.
12:30 I usually take lunch with different people but the constants are with our data scientist and graphic designer. They’re at the extremities – logic and creativity so I get different perspectives on issues. Lately, we’ve been frequenting a place where we can play Jenga and Uno Cards during break.
1:45PM People are slower post-lunch so I tend to do non-technical work. I meet with our marketing team and give my some ideas and directions for our campaigns. I may also schedule a call with advertising agency to check the performance of the ads – looking at key metrics and customer feedback.
3:00PM We schedule our standup meeting with developers and QA at this time where each gives an update on what they did, what they plan to do and if there are any impediments that needs to be addressed. This usually lasts for 15 minutes, but there may be times when I need to spend an extra time with someone to resolve the issue.
4:00PM Meetings with external parties still happen at this time of the day. If none is scheduled, I start working on the requirements needed for the next Sprint – summarizing validations with partners, detailing product features, designing the user interface and workflows, creating the mockups, etc.
6:30PM Work hopefully winds down by this hour so I meet with another colleague to discuss the bigger picture – the roadmap of other financial service products, how to differentiate with existing competitors, market penetration strategies for Indonesia and Vietnam, other products we can develop.
8:00PM I should be out of the office by this time. If I don’t have to meet friends for dinner, attend a family gathering, go to tech events or spend some time in the gym, I go straight home. There may also be volunteer work or competitions that I join with some friends so I still manage to squeeze it during this time.
10:50PM I’m usually settled by this time. I take a warm bath, read through the articles I stored on the app Pocket, send more emails, share more articles with my team then fall asleep by 12MN. If I’m in the mood, I’ll even try to finish one article for this blog like what I’m doing now.
Picture from https://blog.count.ly