Have you ever tried to pick up a new skill and are quickly bogged down by jargon and incomprehensible technicalities? Well, you are not alone. From product management to finance, newcomers often struggle to enter these domains due to these artificial barriers to entry which have nothing to do with the content of the domain. Similar is the case with the evolving field of product management in India currently. Shravan Tickoo, a Principal Product Manager at Byju's is trying to change the pattern by educating the masses about product management through social media, currently for free.
SocialBoat had a conversation with Shravan Tickoo who is also the creator of 'SWAG wala PM' and 'All Things Product', and talked to him about his journey as an educator. If you have come across one of his witty product memes, or you follow him on LinkedIn and YouTube, you know Shravan is a smart & funny guy who is sure to leave you motivated enough to start your passion project!
How did it all start?
Shravan is an engineer turned Product Manager. Like many product folks in the country right now, Shravan had to educate himself about the field and create a space for himself by rising up the ladder. He says his first stint at building a product was his startup. “More like just an app, it sounds like a startup when we look at it retrospectively,” he adds. The app was a simple product to mark a person’s live location, very similar to ‘Waze’ in the US. Without any marketing, the product got viral, and not in India, but in Arizona, US.
He says, “This was quite surprising for us, and we made some good money by selling the company, this was my first experience in creating value.”
Post graduation, he continued his product journey and worked at some top startups in India, from FlipKart to BlackBuck and Byju’s, gradually self-learning and understanding how to create value with product.
For him the journey had its fair share of challenges, as finding a PM position in the industry is hard. This is because a lot of very smart folks don’t have the exposure to a knowledge bank that goes beyond the ‘jargon’. Perhaps this was the thought behind ‘Swag wala PM’, Shravan’s YouTube channel where he talks about the domain.
What is your goal with ‘Swag Wala PM’?
“The goal of everything is to democratise product management. So, anyone who is smart can get into the domain. I want to teach people how to think & learn.”
Shravan spends substantial time of his already busy life giving free product knowledge & insights on social media. His aim is to give ‘high-quality information’ that one cannot find anywhere else, to people in a way that is both relatable and easy to consume.
Why do you give the knowledge for free?
Shravan answers, “To drive impact, I need to reach the maximum number of people, and that is why I post online. To build an audience.” However, he insists that he is a strong believer in small cohort-based learning. “You cannot get quality education in any cohort greater than 25 people. I want to get people excited about products via the high-quality content I post on social media. But, that is just a teaser. When I will teach people about the product, it will happen in small cohorts with personalised attention.”
How will you scale education to the masses with these small cohorts?
Shravan has a very interesting framework for this one.
He explains, “I want to build a community of 50 different Shravans who aim to create 20 more Shravans. These industry experts will then impart the skill in small cohorts of 25 people only. This way, we start reaching more people, but the quality of education doesn’t suffer. I will never have a class of 500 people. Any educator who teaches like that is building a business, not generating value.”
This clearly shows that Shravan is a core believer of the ‘Gurukul model’. A place where student-teacher and student-student interaction is a must. Only in such a setting can quality education be imparted.
What is your mantra for life?
“I believe in the concept of collective conscience, which means if you contribute back to the ecosystem and help it grow, the ecosystem contributes back and helps you grow as a network effect.”
Shravan is also a strong proponent of following one’s passion. He identifies the following three things as the ‘three pillars to get closer to your dream’-
- Passion- You should enjoy the process, because you love the journey, and not be concerned about the outcomes.
- Prioritization- A constraint writing, here you develop prioritization.
- Sense of feedback- You should be receptive to positive as well as negative critique.
“More often than not, people who are not worried about the reward are typically ten times more successful than the people who worry about the reward because the stress of that reward revolves in their head.”
A special thanks to Shravan to find the time to speak to us.
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