{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Recruiting for my first PM job- does it matter more what you do in a role or the company brand name? Comparing between FAANG super boring internal tools PM role and an exciting startup role", "post_id": "6024805ba2cd4c0021ff5dc0", "reply_count": 13, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "5d27c2f046b581001b2fae8f", "bowl_name": "Product Management" }

Recruiting for my first PM job- does it matter more what you do in a role or the company brand name? Comparing between FAANG super boring internal tools PM role and an exciting startup role

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It’s tough, but overall my opinion is that in the long run it should be more about the work you’re doing. Brand name will get you interviews, but you need meaningful experience to progress further. The name brand might get you in the door but if you can’t back it up with the tangible examples, it hurts in the long run.

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What you do in a role. You’ll be more engaged and will actually want to learn things, rather than be told to take full ownership over a radio button on an internal employee referral system sub-menu

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Since this is your first PM job (assuming I read that correctly), then I’d say go for Brand. For a few reasons: 1. Brand names open doors. Unfortunate, but true. Having been on the other side of the table, multiple times I have seen this play out. 2. Brand names have a higher likelihood of having a strong support system. They are more likely to have experienced PMs who can guide / mentor you, etc. in a smaller startup, you are much more likely to be fending for yourself, or at least having to chart your own course to a large extent. (This is a double edged sword, and usually my advice is the exact opposite for this exact reason. But for first-time PMs, I make this exception) 3. “Super boring internal tools PM role” sounds like a myopic view to me. It can be very exciting for other reasons - e.g. much easier to get feedback from stakeholders and users, much more exposure to a broad base of internal customers - you get to see the inner workings of a large number of organizations, etc. of course I am making a bunch of assumptions here, my intention is to point out your own. All this, UNLESS you feel passionate about the field that the startup is in, and can see yourself spending a significant portion of your career in that domain (even if it’s not that startup, you can always leverage domain expertise).

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Hey this is a really good take, PM2. Thanks for sharing.

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What you do in a role for sure. Many different PM specs that index on slightly different take on what a PM does. You may need highly technical vs more biz oriented. I like to dig into what kinds of problems they’ve solved and who they work with to solve them. The corollary to this is that with certain brand names you know what a PM does in their role automatically. I think that’s the only signal brand gives. It also gives you the lens of “how much scale did they work on.”

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Whoops just realized you’re looking for PM gigs vs interviewing others for them. 100% about the work. Above all, I’d interview the manager of the role and ensure that’s someone you’ll respect and learn from. Also, if you’re early in this journey, you may want to go to a shop that has strong product structure and a lot of best practices in place. Gives you a great product management foundation that you can take elsewhere. These tend to not be earlier stage startups.

If the startup is exciting and could go big, then take the more impactful role. It’ll be a better story later on for your next job and allow you to better test your vision as a product leader

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100% what you do in a role

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For someone starting out, go for the startup and the things that excite you, and focus more on the responsibility. No matter where you are, it's always going to come down to what you're really able to do. That will get you much farther in the long term, and you'll have a lot of people along the way who will want to help you get in with the big names at that point.

Agree with following your passions and think you should go for startup. But as a former googler that type of brand name will open doors to you that would normally be closed. Similarly, your brand education has an impact. The first thing hiring manager from Google said to me was how he like my education from Stanford... For better or worse, these are simple filters that means you had to pass their admissions bar. Not so different than the flawed interview process, it’s still just a filtering mechanism. That being said, if you are passionate about consumer product and design, you’ll be lacking that if you are focused on internal tools. Keep in mind product is hugely competitive so half your battle is getting past the resume screen. A Google pm background will get you there. If you’re a former consultant and only pm experience is startup, you may be screened out.

You will also likely get more support and structure at a large company, which could be valuable for a first PM role

Large branded organization like a FAANG or similar ones if you get the opportunity to build something ground up even like internal tools will leave you with lot of clarity on the End-to-end process related to product lifecycle or supply chain and that would help you immensely in building the Product expertise. Startup always has it’s edge to offer depending on the domain it’s offering. My 2 cents

Depends on your end game but the work you do on a day to day matters and affects your livelihood and happiness.

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