Reflection on 2019 or How to Build Habits

In my college, there was a culture of junior year giving seniors farewell. One of the question, which I was asked by my juniors was, that what would be one thing they should not stop doing and I said — ‘learning’ I have always hedged for learning, knowing from the life that money nad happiness follows if you keep learning. 2019 was a year where this truly got tested. I moved out of my comfort zone. I took a one-way ticket with my family and left Bangalore, my ‘real’ home, where I had a support system, had friends. It was on the belief that as long as you keep learning and keep building new things, life will take care of itself. Now I am working in London, with a belief that it will give me an opportunity to be a part to build a new category.  The other large victory I had in 2019 was in a way I re-wired my brain to think about goals and habits in life.  It started with an exercise I do at the beginning of the year. Every year, I set up personal goals, and take feedback fr

My top 5 books of 2019

While last year I had announced the top 10 books I read; based on the feedback I got, I realised it makes more sense to rather zero into my top 5 books this year. Few patterns emerged, when I started reflecting on my reads this year : My top 3 books were written by women. While this happened organically, I see this as a reflection of my reading which has opened to diverse voices. Three of my top 5 books were authored/co-authored by prolific bloggers who share their learnings every week for free and yet have managed to write a book which sells. I subscribed/read/shared their blogs long before I read their books, helping me understand first hand the power of building a network by sharing your thoughts for free. With my 5-year-old son picking up reading this year, I started reading a lot more children books, some read to him as night time stories while others recommended by him so that we can share notes on these books. It is refreshing to have a child’s perspective on book

Serendipity and London

Shweta, Ansh and I have moved to London. In 2012, I had a great job at ESPN and was establishing myself as a Product Manager in Bangalore. Out came the offer from a much smaller organisation called Nivalink to move to Mumbai. It was pure serendipity! Shweta and I had gone to Mumbai for the first time in 2009. Then we had decided that one day we will come back and live the life of Mumbaikars. I was getting the chance to live the dream. The trade-off was going to a smaller org. It was a brilliant decision in hindsight. Working with a great team, I had a white canvas to paint and got an opportunity to build teams from scratch. Mumbai is also where our son, Ansh was born, and our lives were never the same. While building products at Goibibo, I was happy and really loved the team and the vision I have built over time. Along came another serendipity, this time from London, and our lives are changed. I have been resisting to move outside India since 2011 because of the opportu

Professional & Personal Update

Today marks my last day at Goibibo and MakeMyTrip. It has been an eventful journey of 4 years. I was very fortunate. I worked with the smartest people on the earth, built multiple lines of business and learnt lots during the course. Here were my top takeaways: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish : When I had heard this line at Steve Jobs commencement speech, I only understood its meaning metaphorically. Over the last 4 years, I have worked in at least 6 different lines of business of Goibibo, more often than not working at 2 of them simultaneously. Every time I started leading a team, I learnt something new there, about product management, leadership, managing teams and being productive. Leaders like Ashish and Rajesh at Goibibo and MakeMyTrip taught me to keep looking forward and keep creating a vision of “Think about the way it’s going to be.” instead of “Remember, how it used to be?” Always be ready to unlearn: When I joined Goibibo, I was already one of the experienced PMs in the co

How to crack that Product Manager Interview

This post has been long due. Around a month back, I did a talk on "How to Play & Win the Product Management Career Game" which was my way of saying "How to crack that elusive Product Manager Interview". Now most of us end up reading, Cracking the PM Interview , because everyone else has read that and it is a lovely book. But the challenge with it in the Indian context is, that well, it doesn't really fit in. To crack Indian company interviews, every good PM ends up making his own "Cracking the PM Interview". The attached presentation is mine. I am kind of open sourcing it so that more people can benefit off it. Please do let me know your feedback and share it with others who you believe are preparing for PM interviews. Anyone who needs further help can reach out directly. Will be happy to help in person. How to play & win the product management career game from Ankur Sharma

Lessons from Cirque Du Soleil

Last year, Cirque Du Soleil , came for the first time to India. For the uninitiated, Cirque Du Soleil, is the largest theatrical producer in the world and renowned for their shows all over the world especially in Las Vegas. It is a 34 year old organisation and has been a pioneer in terms of live stage show innovations. When they came to India, they especially designed their 43rd show, Bazzar , comprising Indian performers and even a performance based on Indian traditional sport called  Mallakhamba I went to see them with the family and it was revelation watching them. I learnt a lot about running a show and making sure the experience stays with the audience even after they leave the performance. Sharing some thoughts. Teamwork works best with things at stake for team members  : Almost all of their performance were team bound. They were such a marvellous piece of teamwork despite being dangerous, that each one can be taught as case study. What really worked in my op

My top 10 books of 2018

I am a voracious reader and by experimentation have figured out that books and longreads are always better in ideas sticking longer with you than blogs, since they help reinforce the ideas with structure. Also, with them, you have the liberty to take pauses to deliberate on the idea and come back.  This year, 2018, I ran an experiment via books. I went deeper into specific themes and ideas via books. In 2018, my themes to understand ideas were Crypto, Behavioural Psychology and Greek Mythology. The reason I chose these themes were varied but primarily to understand the long term impact on I being a product person and parent of a 4 year old. Apart from these themes, I also read Autobiographies/Biographies which have remained my constant companion for over 5 years now, considering they help me peek into people mind - People who are/were successful in their respective fields.  Without further ado, here are my top 10 books. I am adding Goodreads link instead of A