Nikolay Kazmin: The role of the Product Manager is to make sure the products solve real problems


Nikolay Kazmin: The role of the Product Manager is to make sure the products solve real problems

Meet Nikolay Kazmin, co-founder and CTO of Domestina, a platform for booking cleaning services. Nikolay has extensive experience as an entrepreneur and is proficient in both technology (MSc) and business (EMBA).

But most importantly, he is the lead trainer of Telerik Academy Upskill Product Management and one of your experienced mentors during the 3-month program. 

And you still have the chance to learn from them - you can apply to the program until September 3!

photo of nikolay kazmin lead trainer telerik academy upskill product management

Hi, Nikolay, we already know that you are an experienced product manager. Can you share something more about yourself?

Hi, all! Well, I have Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in computer science! My interest in entrepreneurship started way back in college, and ever since graduation, I’ve been involved in startups doing software development.

Also, I have a serious hobby, holding black belts in Shotokan Karate and Traditional Ju-Jitsu. Training martial arts allows me to relax and reduce the stress from my daily job.

And you have a fascinating daily job, but before we talk about Domestina, can you share what it means to be a product manager?

Yes, absolutely. Far too many times in my career, I’ve been developing great software which, in the end, nobody found useful. That frustrated me immensely. Little by little, I got interested in product management because I wanted to build useful products.

If I have to explain it succinctly, the role of the product manager is to make sure that the team is building a product that solves a real problem and which customers will use.

Besides technical ability and hard work, what personal attributes a product manager must have?

I’d say a curious mind. You should be eager to dig deep until you really get to the root of the problem and you’re confident that you understand exactly what happens in the customer’s world.

photo of nikolay kazmin lead trainer telerik academy upskill product management

Is this how it all started with Domestina? Did you have an “aha” moment along the way when you knew that this was what you wanted to focus on?

I decided to start Domestina because it was obvious that there was a need on the market. I was hearing from all over the place how super complicated it was to find a reliable housemaid.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had with Domestina?

It turned out that there is a reason why the problem is still not solved. When you’re doing a two-sided marketplace, it’s exponentially more complex because you have to satisfy two types of customers with your product while balancing the needs of both sides. I think this balancing act is the biggest challenge, and the fact that 7 years after we started, we’re still doing major changes to our business is a testament that it would take a non-obvious approach to solve it.  

Based on your experience, what advice can you give to a young person starting out?

I love the Venn diagram in which product management is at the intersection of technology, design, and business.

If you’re just starting out, take your time to become an expert in one of them. After that, you can take a broader view and expand.


Visual by Saeed Khan and Mind the Product

Thank you, it’s great advice! At the beginning of our conversation, you mentioned that martial arts help you relax. What do you do to be your more productive self? Do you have any other secrets?

I know myself, and I try to arrange my schedule according to my specific rhythm. I’m not a morning person - before lunch, I’m easily distracted, and I have very low energy. That’s why I set up my meetings in the morning - collaborating with other people keeps me focused.

After 2:00 pm, my brain is in full gear, and I can get a lot of work done. I try to avoid distractions and meetings during that time. It’s important to know yourself and be honest about it. After that, you can set up your routine according to what works for you. Not every successful person wakes up at 5 am.

Is there a book that every future product manager should read?

It’s a broad subject, and one book will never be enough. If you join our product management course, after every lecture, you'll get a list of two or three books to expand on the material we covered.

Can you recommend three experts that every product manager should follow online?

I’m following Bob Moesta because of his work with “Jobs to be done.”  Dan Olsen is a great speaker and always a joy to listen to. Recently I started following Ryan Singer for his “Shape-up” approach to organizing work.

One last question - why Telerik Academy Upskill Product Management is a great way for professionals with relevant experience to augment their skills?

I’d say the different experts that will be doing guest lectures. I’ve never seen another program, in any field, where you get so many, world-class instructors. The stories and the experience which they share is invaluable.

Thank you, Nikolay!

Take your career to the next level with Telerik Academy Upskill Product Management.

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