105. João Santos: From IT to Product, a growth mindset and aligning everyone around an outcome.

In this episode, João was speaking with João Santos, Director of Product Management at Outsystems and one of the speakers of the first Product Weekend event, held in May. There he talked about the main non-obvious lessons he learned in 10 years in Product Management and also about the nuances of the relation between Product and Engineering.

João has a long experience in the software industry and in this conversation he shares some of his stories as well as useful advice for anyone working in Product. Besides being a director of product management he is also a father, a learning geek, a great storyteller and a really fun person to chat with.

Time notes:

[0:10] Introduction of João.

[1:00] How did João end up studying computer science?

[4:05] Connection between business and technology.

[4:50] Working for Altitude for 14 years.

[6:40] How did João end up as a product manager?

[10:33] Hobbies of João and how they change.

I like to learn languages. I speak professionally 4 of them, and with Duolingo, I can read the news in three more languages.

[13:50] What is OutSystems about?

It is about fixing the biggest business problem today, which is building a lot of software very fast.

Learning from others is a big boost to your career. Be around people you can learn from.

[20:28] Product Management Academy and opportunities brought by it.

Being a great product manager is not only about knowing your main subject, it is about learning a lot of soft skills.

If you learn to listen to others better as a product manager, it will reflect on you as a person as well.

[24:49] Growth mindset and the urge to learn that was always there.

[26:40] What are the main ways in which João challenges himself to grow?

Reflect on things that make you feel uncomfortable and try to understand why they make you feel that way.

[27:55] What does João read?

[28:35] Did someone ever aim to take João’s place?

In the organisations like OutSystems, the opportunities will always be there.

[30:50] Competition for a position and challenged credibility.

I think it is really about showing the value and making the government realise it.

Be happy to add value. Take a balcony view of the situation. Put things into a perspective.

[35:00] The challenges as a Product Manager.

[37:00] How to make sure everyone in the team has the same objectives?

Be able to prioritise, be able to ignore all the noise around it. […] The clarity in the message is a key part of communicating. Once you have it, you find a way to engage with the people.

[42:36] Common myths in product management.

A common myth about product management is that people think that they need to understand the solution that is being implemented.

Some engineers are a bit arrogant when explaining techno solutions. PM can take that as a sign that they need to learn more.

[45:12] What is the right way to ask “why”?

Have the right perception of the person you are talking to.

[48:18] What is the key to balancing taking on new challenges and helping colleagues and focusing on what really matters?

The best way to resolve that balance is to delegate.

[51:30] An advice for an 18-year-old self.

To think more consciously about what you want to do, what makes you happy and what really inspires you.

[52:30] The most inspiring leader João had met.

[53:34] Coffee with any historical figure — which one?

He inspired a lot of people in believing in future.

[54:55] Recommendations.

📚 3 favourite books:

📕 Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson et al.

📕 Books by Jo Nesbø

🏙 3 favourite cities

🇫🇷 Paris

🇺🇸 New York

🇯🇵 Tokyo


This podcast was hosted by João Moita from Product Weekend, with sound edited by Miguel Sousa and production help by Productized, André Marquet and Evelina Bogdiun.



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