I’m Ankita Bhosle, a Product Manager at a growth stage company, a builder and a novice angel investor. I’m currently focused on building products in the Identity and Access Management space, dealing with authentication and fraud mitigation.

I write about top-of-mind topics in navigating my day-to-day as a PM, share experiences, tools, techniques, experiments, strategy and learnings while growing as a product manager, and inject a bit of humor here and there!

You can read more about Decaf Product in this welcome post, but before that..

A brief history

I started my tech career in a tiny startup in Pune, my hometown and a city that is to the Indian tech industry what Seattle or Boston are to the US. 

After a few years of learning the basics of software development in a niche domain (data storage) that can hardly be considered cutting edge, even for the time (2010), the itch to expand my intellectual horizons brought me across the globe to the United States for a second, shorter stint in academia at UC Berkeley where I dabbled in a broad spectrum of topics such as behavioral economics, UX research/design, ML/data science and business, to name a few.  

The vast majority of my peers at Berkeley had a much more structured initial experience from working at the largest IT services companies in Asia, that are recognizable logos in the west. I had to my credit, my experience in a 20+ person offshore development firm in a tier-2 city, building some very bespoke stuff I couldn’t imagine where I’d ever apply again. But it taught me a lot. I started making sense of the role tech plays in society, in our every day lives, and the world. I came to terms with my desire to continue growing my career in tech, learning the ropes of its business, and working on things that directly change the lives of people around me, for the better.

In 2015, happy serendipity brought me onto the rocketship that was pre-IPO Twilio. We had just raised our series E, propelling us to unicorn status, had gained a ton of street cred as the developers’ darling and had a massive opportunity ahead of us that I wanted to be a part of. I started my journey as a Sales Engineer, and it was these initial 3.5 years in technical sales that gave my PM aspirations a solid footing. Decaf Product will draw heavily from my experiences at Twilio in two very different high stakes roles.

Why am I writing this substack?

I want to talk about my reasons and goals for writing this substack. 

  1. Creating value: I’m driven by a persistent need to create value in the world - customer, business and social value. I get to do a lot of the first two at work, and I now find myself in a point in my career where I have useful things to share and create tangible social value. There’s something to be said about the gratification in expressing yourself while creating value for others. That’s what I’m after.

  2. Documenting my journey: Chronicling my adventures, experiments and hacks in growing as an early in career PM and in trying to product-manage my own life.

  3. Improving as a writer: Writing is a powerful tool for self expression and for cutting through barriers to create teams of missionaries around a compelling vision. With the amount of writing my job requires of me, I want to continue up-leveling as a writer and storyteller. This is a start.

  4. Beating Imposter’s syndrome: I grew fairly fast as a PM. I stepped a level up (instead of laterally or down) when making the Sales > Product move and got my first promotion within a year. Sounds sexy, but the truth is, I live with a nasty bout of Imposter’s syndrome, that makes me indulge in an endless, unhealthy, self-critical internal dialog, manically compare myself with other PMs, doubt whether I truly deserve it, and generally am a dick to myself. Understanding that this doesn’t serve me and I’m no longer willing to just ‘live with it’, this is my endeavor to channel that angst in a constructive way.

Check out this intro post to learn more about me, this substack and why I’m writing it.

Find me on LinkedIn, and don’t hesitate to say hi!

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