Hiring too junior a resource to own product is almost always a huge mistake — 9 times out of 10.

You can take a lot of “stretch” risk in sales. Sales breeds leadership.

But what I’ve seen time and time again is junior individual contribution “product managers” who haven’t actually owned anything. And who certainly haven’t owned enough.

A VP of Product should be a transformational hire. Someone to take over the informal, unscaleable way you pick, track, and rebuild features; to drive engineering to get there; and also, to live at the intersection of sales, customer success, and dev.

A junior hire just hasn’t done it, and can’t command the respect of the team (nor often the customers).

A “head” of product that sales, engineering, and customer success won’t respect … can’t get the job done.

A “head” of product that hasn’t done at least some of it before won’t command that respect.

You can’t go too junior here.

Better to spend an extra $0Xk a year here, and a few more shares, to get the hire you really need.

(note: an updated SaaStr Classic answer)


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