Bing is a New England transplant who has been calling Colorado home since 2001. He’s a versatile product manager with a broad range of experience including building products in online education and automotive software. He loves working with entrepreneurial people to turn their strategic visions into working products both inside and outside the office. You’ll find him speaking and volunteering at a variety of tech events across Colorado and may catch him writing some code, for fun, in the pre-dawn hours.
What makes Bing a unique PM is his ability to understand and interpret the goals of both technical and non-technical clients. Before taking up programming, Bing was part of an online education company that was a customer of an agency much like MojoTech. Fast forward to the present, Bing’s efforts to learn Ruby on Rails on nights and weekends has paid dividends, making him an exceptional PM across all client demographics.
1. Where’d you get educated and/or what jobs led you to your new job at MojoTech?
Prior to joining the MojoTech team I had been the VP of Product at a venture-backed startup, Managing Director at a software development firm, employee of a bootstrapped online education startup, small business consultant at a non-profit, and owner of a small business. I earned my degree in Economics and Engineering from Brown University and my MBA from Babson College.
2. Before your life at MojoTech, what was the most interesting project you ever worked on?
The most interesting project I’ve ever worked on was completing a 7 month, 2,100+ mile thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. In the process, I learned quite a bit about wants versus needs, when to plan or when to be spontaneous, and how to keep heading in the right direction. I’ve applied many of these lessons in my approach to product management. It’s not for everybody but it was the best vacation I ever took.
3. What do you enjoy most/least about engineering and PM?
As a kid, Legos provided a way for me to build things; as an adult web and mobile development also does that, with the added bonus of giving me the opportunity to constantly learn. I love product management because it lives at the intersection of strategy and tactics in an engineering context. The only downside is that I don’t have enough free time to build all the things I want to build.
4. What personal characteristics do you feel are necessary to be a successful engineer? How about a PM?
The best engineers that I’ve worked with and around have an insatiable curiosity, an understanding of how technology does and does not drive business value, a sense of pride in their work, and an ability to reduce complex concepts into simpler ones.
The best PMs that I know have an appreciation for strategic analysis as well as an appreciation for the crafts of design and development. Being fluent in several languages - English, MBA, and Developer - is a huge plus.
5. What do you get out of this line of work that you couldn’t get from any other kind of work?
Engineering and product management marry creativity and logic in a way that resonates with me, more so than any other line of work that I’ve been exposed to.
6. Describe a time when you confronted a problem that really tested your know-how.
At one point in my career I worked at a non-profit providing workshops and consulting to help local owners advance their businesses. With over 800 requests for help a year, our staff of two (including me), was in dire need of a system to efficiently handle the workload. The triage system that I designed to match business owners with the resources they need is still in use years later.
7. Now that you’re at MojoTech, what are you most excited about?
I’m most excited about collaborating with entrepreneurs to bring their wide variety of ideas to reality, something that I had stepped away from as a member of a startup focused on a single idea.
8. Which professionals do you turn to or what blogs do you read for inspiration?
Too many to name individually, as I read a variety of biographies and blogs, which I typically discuss with others interested in startup topics at Boulder Open Coffee Club and Denver Open Coffee Club.
9. You’ve been banished to a deserted island with—gasp—no wifi, but lots of power outlets. What one piece of technology would you bring?
A homing beacon.
10. What technology is going to take over the world next?
Affordable and effective data security.
11. If you weren’t in this line of work, what occupation would you choose?
I would probably start another small business. Or be perpetually unemployed.
12. What is your idea of happiness?
Creating a reality for me and my family that has minimal obligations related to geography or schedule.
13. The red pill or the blue pill?