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How to Read Product Director Job Listing (Spotify Example)

Recently, I came across a nice vacancy for Director of Product. All novice PMs want to become a director, or even a CPO in smaller companies, don’t they? So, it would be tempting to apply to this position, as it lists only a few things in the job requirements section: team management, the ability to work with data, and some technical skills.
Looks easy enough, huh? The question is, what do these several lines really mean? After a few years of being a Lead PM at, it became more apparent to me what these lines mean in the real world of product management. In this article, I’ll share my findings.
So, let’s break it down piece by piece.
You are experienced product leader, in defining and driving product strategy across more than one team
It starts with two powerful requirements at once. First, is, of course, "experienced", which will be measured in years stated in your resume. Second, it stipulates that you need to be able to make a strategy not for your own dev team, but for the whole department of teams.
Here’s one important thing: if you are not a product manager, but a manager of product managers, you no longer have your “own” product. Instead, you have several people in your team, and each person, for sure, will have their own strategy and vision. So one necessary skill of a successful manager is being able to find the balance between personal and team ideas, help the ones who are a bit behind and steer the “cooler” ones in the right direction.
At the same time, along with all the managerial skills, that manager must also be able to roll up their sleeves and show the team how to do it properly. “It” here might be anything from writing a proper PRD o rolling out a tricky A/B experiment, from drawing a metrics tree to building the architecture of the product. All in all, the manager should be able to lead the team by example.
You deeply value and have experience with hiring, mentoring and leading diverse and hard-working teams of Product Managers, crafting an inclusive space where people can learn and do the best work of their careers
Here the management part is even more important. For example, if for a regular PM "hiring" means conducting a couple of interviews a month, then for a manager it means way more. They’d need to make a business case for a position, negotiate with a team of recruiters, write a job listing, organize an interview structure, conduct screenings, and be at each final part of the interview ("fit interview"). In short, being able to hire an entire team is a skill on its own, and it is necessary for managers. I’ll be lying if I say that it’s a lot of fun though, but it is what it is, somebody’s gotta do it.
The second part re-emphasizes that you are being hired to help others grow and move a constellation of interconnected products forward. I wouldn’t call myself an experienced manager and I myself learn every day from my manager, who is indeed a real rockstar, but I understood one thing for sure. You can’t build really serious and cool products alone. Therefore, the skill to manage people will come in handy.
You understand data-informed product development, using the latest techniques for product discovery
Oh, how much I love such descriptions::) Like, if you are familiar with one "latest technique", then you seem to be good for the job. In fact, this sentence means that you need to be able to use a bunch of various tools. To give you a few: lead your team to conduct the right product research, set and measure the right metrics, move towards success with scientific hypotheses and A / B experiments, no opinions, be able to create the right dashboards and extract the required data (with the help of analysts or by writing SQL queries yourself). I won't be surprised if Spotify also expects potential candidates to understand the basics of ML-driven products. All in all, it’s definitely more than “being familiar with one latest technique,” it’s a whole box of tools that allow you to be a data-driven product manager.
An excellent communicator and storyteller, presenting concepts and ideas in different formats, depending on context
Many people underestimate this. Yet at the C-level and above, time is so precious that you need to be able to squeeze a lot of meaning into a very short speech or email, otherwise no one will listen to you. At the same time, when you communicate with a team or when clients ask complex questions, on the contrary, you need to change your talk to a detailed one and be able to quickly dive into the details, while still speaking their language.
Storytelling might look like a tiny insignificant detail, but my director recently made me understand one thing about it. Since changes take quarters and years on the scale of the department, and mistakes might cost millions, there is nothing left but to believe someone who confidently and smoothly tells a story and asks to give them three more teams so that they can build everything in just 24 months.
Experience in building platforms that serve both internal and external audiences, balancing out functional and delivery needs across such multi-customer contexts

You have experience leading a product from UX through APIs and have delivered both user-centric and API-centric products, and have launched sophisticated products at scale across multiple regions.
Now that was quite unexpected for a Director! That person is expected to understand the tech world, more so, have experience building platforms and API-centric products at scale.
When I started in an experimental Tech PM position for Booking, the requirements of technical knowledge could only be found in Google or Facebook job openings, but today specialists have grown up, products have become more complicated and someone needs to manage all this beauty.
This Spotify listing is actually a good example. I expect such requirements to be a norm for managers pretty soon, in fact, for FAANG they already are. This is because more and more products are offered via API. Think of it: Stripe, one of the biggest payment systems, is an API, any omnichannel messenger is another API, Google Maps/Translate/ML is nothing but a bunch of APIs, there is even Food Delivery API and many many more.
In good companies, the director is usually a really cool and knowledgeable specialist. Such a person can lead a team in an existing big company but also knows how to build his own startup from scratch. And this is the dream of a good product manager, mine for sure :)
Mine too! But what if I'm not quite familiar with all these but I do want to learn?
If you want to upgrade the listed hard skills, such as technologies/API/platforms and product analytics, come join our Tech PM course where we teach all this on practical simulators with a bunch of cases of large companies. In our practical simulators, we are building a taxi startup, scooters, streaming music, a meditation app, etc. Our mentors are experienced PMs who are happy to share their knowledge and help you grow.