Dear SaaStr: Do My VP of Eng and My VP of Product Have to Be Technically Excellent?

Yes.  This has been pretty much my experience

A Great VP of Engineering must either:

  • Either have been a truly great IC engineer; and/or
  • A pretty good IC who still is a hacker and enjoys coding in their free time

And a Great VP of Product must:

  • Have managed a dev team of some sort (even just an outsourced) one at some point in their career, AND
  • Truly owned bringing critical features into production.

If not — pass.

I know a lot of folks will disagree. They’ll say a VP Product doesn’t have to have managed at least a small group of engineers. But if they didn’t — how will they know? How will they be respected?

And I know some folks will say a VP of Eng doesn’t have to be a great dev themselves, or still enjoy coding. Well later you’ll see, those that are neither, can’t hire and retain a truly great team.

The best only want to work for the best.  And those that are either still elite, or were elite, and now are helping the next generation be elite.

A bit more here:

What a Great VP of Product Really Does (Video + Transcript)

Walk a mile image from here

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