What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Product Manager at CreateMe?
We connected with Joe Rein to find out!
Interested in learning more about CreateMe and their job openings? Make sure to check out their company page on VentureFizz!
Where did you grow up? What did your parents do for work?
I grew up in upstate New York near Bear Mountain, in a small suburban town. My parents were civil servants at the local Hospital and College.
Where did you go to college? What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?
I went to Florida International University for my first undergraduate degree in Accounting. Then 9 years later, I went to The New School for two additional undergraduate degrees; A Fashion Design degree from Parsons and a Media Technology degree from their School of Public Engagement.
I'm currently doing my Masters in Media Technology concentrating in Immersive Media and have plans on a second Masters in Systems for Non-engineers.
One of my first jobs was at a hedge fund for a prominent Black investment banker on the top floor of the HSBC private bank here in Manhattan. I knew this was only one of the first stops of my career. I also worked at Yahoo! I left towards the end when they were being sold to Verizon and changed their name to Oath.
What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?
Similar to some of the folks in the Black in Tech features, I am a person of color; LatinX, first generation immigrant, and I sought out support through associations and mentors that valued diversity, equity and inclusion. I was accepted into an honors internship program during my first undergraduate degree, where I was able to get exposed to corporate culture and the demands of an enterprise finance and accounting department.
I am the youngest of four children and I have always had a sense of responsibility to prove to myself and my family that I can reach to do more. I have always had an innate sense of curiosity to understand how things work and how to collaborate with folks from different domains of expertise.
The path that has propelled me to land a Product Management role at CreateMe is as diverse as the company itself. There are three stages of my professional experience that have given me the expertise to apply vision, innovation, and business know-how to the technology products at CreateMe.
In the first half of my career, I have held positions as an Accountant and Financial Controller. A career that was demanding yet fruitful; those roles exposed me to enterprise accounting systems and a top down management view of how businesses are structured.
I’ve also held positions as Director of Apparel Product Development and owner of a military apparel manufacturing company. I blended my finance background and my interest in design to lead teams of apparel designers and factory operators to develop, manufacture and deliver goods. This stage of my career taught me how operations work and how my management style directly affects the bottom line and the motivation of your team and coworkers.
After owning my own company, I was recruited for a role as the IT Systems Manager for an Apparel Trading company in Hong Kong, and was promoted to be the United States Customer Success Director for outbound product management. This role was a great fit for me as I was able to bring together all my past experiences to launch products for our customers.
Photo: offsite review with the Program and R&D teams
(Khamvong, Lindsay, Shailesh, Joe, Martin, Freddy, Aman)
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Product Manager at CreateMe?
To envision the software and hardware product offering for CreateMe. I manage the customer engagements to gather their requirements by defining their pain points and correlating them to a product market fit within their customer segment.
I in turn translate those requirements into our product requirement document where I detail out the personas and the acceptance criteria of the user action and need.
I also work with finance and marketing to build out the business model ensuring our pricing is profitable. Lastly, I manage the roadmap and schedule to ensure I hit our milestones toward our product launch detailed in our go- to-market strategy.
Any tips for someone considering a career in your field?
Here at CreateMe, we believe in a set of factors to be a successful Product Manager. I would recommend that anyone considering a career in product to try to hit on these factors either through personality or through work experience.
Being proactive, applying continuous improvement to the product. Being adaptable. Staying on top of new markets and technologies by being an avid learner. Challenging the status quo to push innovation and to define the jobs to be done that we are solving for. And overall being intellectually curious allows you to navigate through these areas.
Day in the Life
Coffee, tea, or nothing?
Coffee black with sugar and some days an iced breve’ from a local Coffee shop. I live in midtown Manhattan so there are a lot to choose from.
What time do you start working?
The day starts at 9:00am, but I start on emails towards 8:30am
What are three things that motivate you in your role?
- Our people and culture at CreateMe
- Our 10X mission to revolutionize manufacturing
- Working on modern digital solutions and advanced automation products for hardware-as-a-service
Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?
- Check and respond to emails and slack
- Daily Standup where we touch base with the team for 30 mins to go through our Kanban board and give a short update on progress, blockers and next steps for the week.
- Tuesdays we have a department alignment with the VPs and CPO of Product.
- Market Research: I spend time analyzing customer segmentation using Statista
- Working sessions:
Each week I'll schedule sessions to work through ideas as they pertain to integrations and robotic autonomy
Requirements gathering session with customers
End of Day
- 1:1 Conversations with our Program Manager Craig, and Project Managers Rodrigo and Lindsay on the west coast measuring where we are on the project plan.
- 1:1 with Product Analyst: defining users' stories and acceptance criteria
- Updating the roadmap in Aha and Productboard
- Office hours
I hold office hours once a week where anyone from the cross functional team can schedule time with me for a working session to discuss their topics.
What time do you typically wrap up the work day?
Any productivity hacks?
- Pomodoro clock to remind me to take short breaks throughout the day.
- Holding working sessions with digital whiteboards and shareable google docs to collaborate in real time.
- Bose headphones with noise canceling and ambient music to stay focused.
What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?
What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?
Leading software product launches for mega retailers and brands
Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?
My mentor and CIO Kristian Hertel of a Shanghai based company. He's a good friend and a great leader. He has a one in a million personality that can balance fun, hardwork and a vision of the future.