1. Tell me about yourself.

My name is Eric Zhao, and I'm a product manager at CouponBirds. Some of my hobbies include watching movies, exercising at the gym, and exploring the outdoors. I've had a strong interest in following the rapid development of the internet and e-commerce since high school, so I studied IT in college and choose CouponBirds as my first venture. I believe it will be a fantastic platform to launch my career as a first-time product manager.

I've gained a great deal of knowledge and experience at CouponBirds working with a team of e-commerce innovators. At the end of day, our goal is to help users save money while shopping online. Our dream is to see millions of CouponBirds visitors enjoying savings with thousands of merchants. The merchants who partner with us gain more customers for their products, so it’s a win-win deal for everyone.

2. What do you find most exciting about product management?

For me, it's exciting when a practical and innovative idea becomes a real feature or application. My job as a product manager is to guide that process of making an idea into a reality. I also have the role of being the driving force behind future improvements of the products that I manage. It only takes a small mistake to set a project back, and sometimes we have to start over. The struggle to make a product a success sometimes makes me feel excited and anxious as a product manager.

At CouponBirds, we try new things every day. We conduct AB tests, monitor data, and continuously optimize the web design. I keep our project organized and efficient by collaborating closely with the designers and engineers on my team. There are more reasons that I enjoy the product manager role, but I'm afraid we wouldn't have time to describe them all.

 Eric Zhao
3. In a typical day as a product manager, what's something you would rather do without?

In a typical day, the first word I think of is "communication." Multiple communications with colleagues from my team and other teams about products, operations, and engineering issues cross my desk every hour of the day. Of course, I also make my own suggestions, document ideas for the future, and create requirements documents.

I think any product manager sometimes would like to skip having to extensively document everything. It's vital to a technical process, of course, and something that I can't avoid. What I particularly enjoy about my work is collaborating with customers and developers and meeting our deadlines, so the documentation feels slow by comparison.

4. How would you describe CouponBirds to someone who uses another coupon website?

CouponBirds is a rapidly growing platform that helps connect consumers with the best deals available on the internet.

We help everyday people:
Avoid crazy shipping fees
Discover exclusive deals
Provide 100% verified coupon deals
Unlike other ‘money-saving’ browser extensions or coupon sites, CouponBirds is the only site that verifies every coupon manually to provide 100% accuracy in their offers. For us - it’s all about connecting consumers with great deals! 
We continue to develop new features to help our users save both time and money. We recently launched a system that gives users access to exclusive offers and notifications of the latest improvements to the website. They can even play games to win more rewards. Our user system has been positively reviewed by tens of thousands of users.

5. As a new product manager, how do you get credibility from a development team?

It takes some time. When I was new here, I proactively collaborated with my colleagues, providing my own ideas on ways to improve development projects. I also listened to the opinions and suggestions of the team, giving them the recognition that they deserve. We hold meetings and discussions frequently. Anyone can bring up a problem and suggest a solution. I also set reasonable expectations and schedules for each project.

To achieve our goals, sometimes I will encourage our team members to look at the big picture and draw conclusions from data. At the end of the day, being honest and frank helps me gain the credibility from my colleagues that I need to lead development projects.

From a technical perspective, I learned from review proposals and recommendations. Discussing my ideas with engineers also gave me a better understanding of the development process. In order to improve my decision-making, I researched the techniques of more experienced product managers.

6. How do you monitor the performance and success of CouponBirds?

The number of daily unique visitors is a critical statistic for a website. Increasing user visits proves that our website is becoming more popular. We also use the growth rate of user visits to define the development speed of our website. In order to increase our growth rate, we continuously roll-out web design improvements to ensure visitors keep coming back.

We use the number of page views per user visit (PV/UV) to monitor how active users are and how healthy our website is. A higher ratio means users are not just looking at a page and leaving. Instead, they are staying for extended sessions to explore CouponBirds.

7. What kinds of people do you like to work with? Do you think the consensus is always a good thing or not?

I like to work with people who have a positive attitude and creative ideas. You need positive energy and confidence when facing challenges in business and technology. Great ideas determine where we will head. To stand out from our competitors, great ideas are needed. Fortunately, I am working with a team with both these qualities.

I think it's important to reach a consensus on difficult problems, but a lively debate sometimes helps us discover better solutions. I consider having different viewpoints just as important as reaching a consensus.