22 min

Interview with Pei-Chin Wang, Senior Director of Product at Redfin Managers Club, Interviews and Resources for Engineering Managers

    • Management

Vidal: Good afternoon, Pei-Chin. Thank you. Well, welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me today.







PEI-CHIN: Thank you.







Vidal: Could you maybe introduce yourself, say a little bit about where you’re located and what your current role is?







PEI-CHIN: Yeah, so I work at Redfin and we help people buy and sell homes. Currently, I’m a senior director of product at Redfin, leading our consumer facing products, so this includes acquiring new customers, thinking about how we evolve our search experience and converting more site users into customers that use Reston to buy or sell homes.







What’s your background and how did you get into management?







Vidal: That’s great. I mean, that’s a big market, real estate. Could you tell me a little bit about your background and how you got into management?







PEI-CHIN: Yeah, so I am an engineer turned product manager. I started out my career as an engineer working at Google, worked on Google search infrastructure. And then after a few years I wanted to tap into my, I guess, inner superpower, which I think is connecting different ideas and really strong empathy to human beings. And I thought I’d try out product management. And it’s been, I think I’ve been the product manager for probably close to 10 years now. And I started managing, I think, five years ago. I was in a startup after I left Google. And as the company grew, I had the opportunity to manage, starting with one person, and that was a really great experience, and now at Redfin I manage a much bigger team.







Vidal: Okay. I think that’s great how you said you were an engineer turned product manager. Can maybe talk a little bit, I haven’t had too many product managers on the show. Maybe, is there anything that engineers, engineering managers maybe don’t understand about product managers, or might be helpful for them in working better with product managers?







PEI-CHIN: I think maybe one thing is to understand, at least this is my personal point of view, that it is by design to have healthy tension between engineering and product and design. And engineering often thinks about what is the best way to build something in a scalable way or what might, because engineers, like code, are touched by many different people. And I actually think, I really admire that engineering partners tend to think about how to make components more reusable, scalable over a long term period of time. And a product manager, oftentimes they want to bring the product to the market sooner. They want to test the hypothesis as fast as possible. And so there’s a healthy tension between getting to the market sooner or slower.







PEI-CHIN: And then, product manager also plays a role of like being the voice of the customer, who’s the only person that’s not in the room, but the most important person for us all to serve. And so I think that healthy tension is helpful, and I actually really enjoy a lot of engineering partners that work with so we can have that healthy debate and tension. It really brings out the best of all of us.







What are the biggest challenges you face?







Vidal: I think that’s well said. Yes, you have to balance it. Could you describe, maybe what are some of your biggest challenges as a manager?







PEI-CHIN: Yeah, it actually evolved as my team got bigger. I think at the beginning when I was managing a few people, the biggest challenge is to think about how do I help them grow and consis...

Vidal: Good afternoon, Pei-Chin. Thank you. Well, welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me today.







PEI-CHIN: Thank you.







Vidal: Could you maybe introduce yourself, say a little bit about where you’re located and what your current role is?







PEI-CHIN: Yeah, so I work at Redfin and we help people buy and sell homes. Currently, I’m a senior director of product at Redfin, leading our consumer facing products, so this includes acquiring new customers, thinking about how we evolve our search experience and converting more site users into customers that use Reston to buy or sell homes.







What’s your background and how did you get into management?







Vidal: That’s great. I mean, that’s a big market, real estate. Could you tell me a little bit about your background and how you got into management?







PEI-CHIN: Yeah, so I am an engineer turned product manager. I started out my career as an engineer working at Google, worked on Google search infrastructure. And then after a few years I wanted to tap into my, I guess, inner superpower, which I think is connecting different ideas and really strong empathy to human beings. And I thought I’d try out product management. And it’s been, I think I’ve been the product manager for probably close to 10 years now. And I started managing, I think, five years ago. I was in a startup after I left Google. And as the company grew, I had the opportunity to manage, starting with one person, and that was a really great experience, and now at Redfin I manage a much bigger team.







Vidal: Okay. I think that’s great how you said you were an engineer turned product manager. Can maybe talk a little bit, I haven’t had too many product managers on the show. Maybe, is there anything that engineers, engineering managers maybe don’t understand about product managers, or might be helpful for them in working better with product managers?







PEI-CHIN: I think maybe one thing is to understand, at least this is my personal point of view, that it is by design to have healthy tension between engineering and product and design. And engineering often thinks about what is the best way to build something in a scalable way or what might, because engineers, like code, are touched by many different people. And I actually think, I really admire that engineering partners tend to think about how to make components more reusable, scalable over a long term period of time. And a product manager, oftentimes they want to bring the product to the market sooner. They want to test the hypothesis as fast as possible. And so there’s a healthy tension between getting to the market sooner or slower.







PEI-CHIN: And then, product manager also plays a role of like being the voice of the customer, who’s the only person that’s not in the room, but the most important person for us all to serve. And so I think that healthy tension is helpful, and I actually really enjoy a lot of engineering partners that work with so we can have that healthy debate and tension. It really brings out the best of all of us.







What are the biggest challenges you face?







Vidal: I think that’s well said. Yes, you have to balance it. Could you describe, maybe what are some of your biggest challenges as a manager?







PEI-CHIN: Yeah, it actually evolved as my team got bigger. I think at the beginning when I was managing a few people, the biggest challenge is to think about how do I help them grow and consis...

22 min