At General Assembly, we partner with the world’s greatest companies to assess and train their employees in today’s most in-demand skills. While building in-person and online training programs for a fifth of the Fortune 500, we have conducted consultative working sessions and stakeholder interviews with hundreds of teams in a variety of industries. These sessions provide incredible insights into the hurdles that incumbents face as consumer behavior changes.
My favorite product managers are quietly powerful. Every day they take small steps that move their teams and business forward in a meaningful way. But they do it without a lot of hoopla, taking a confident yet unassuming approach.
After all, product managers have a lot on their plate every day. They are responsible for the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition for their product. It is a big responsibility that requires facilitating and collaborating with many different teams — both internal and external — without the formal authority to manage those teams. It requires a unique mix of humility and strength.
However, that quiet power does not mean leading product is easy. I realized early on that the daily life of a product manager is unpredictable, hectic, and sometimes very tough.
Today, General Assembly is making a couple of big announcements.
First, we have closed on our company’s first acquisition — Canadian tech and design career accelerator, Bitmaker. We’ve known the folks at Bitmaker for a long time and I’ve been incredibly impressed with the way their CEO, Andrew Mawer, has built his Toronto-based organization. I’ve watched him lead his team and grow their community to become Canada’s largest career accelerator, and I’m so excited to have them be part of GA as we continue to pursue our long-term vision around education-to-employment.
Second, we are announcing the largest expansion of our campus footprint in GA’s history — we are increasing our number of campuses by over 60%. Our ongoing mission is to impact people’s careers and more broadly solve the talent needs of employers everywhere. We see big opportunities to leverage our burgeoning online communities and audiences with new campuses that are closer to the biggest pockets of potential students, just outside of traditional urban hotspots more commonly associated with the tech sector.
At any organization, there are always going to be more problems than there is time to solve them. But certain problems really need addressing–like, right now–and you know it. Unfortunately, these are the very ones that often go untended. They are the bigger picture problems that we don’t know exactly how to define, let alone solve.
As a doer in your organization, how can you force these important conversations to happen now? How can you beat the: “Yes, this is definitely something our team is thinking about, but won’t be able to work on until Q2 of next year”?
Here are 6 tactics our team uses that will help you accelerate some of those stagnant conversations and seize the now:
You know what Mike Dubin isn’t doing right now? Reading any more articles about Mike Dubin.
He’s probably on a beach in Santa Monica, wondering how he’ll spend the $90 million he made when Unilever bought Dollar Shave Club, a subscription razor service he founded in 2011, for $1 billion in July. (In all honesty, he’s probably at a desk–he’s staying on with Unilever–but, considering his windfall, I’m going to be picturing him on a beach regardless.)
You already knew about Mike, though. It was an acquisition that launched a thousand articles and will likely sustain the dreams of rabid founders, and their VC handlers, for years to come.
At General Assembly, we pride ourselves on empowering those around us to find greater well-being in their daily lives, both in the classroom and beyond. At times, this growth can be inspired by something as simple as a healthy meal.
On a recent Tuesday, our team at GA NYC skipped its usual weekly Team Lunch — where we share a meal and learn about each other’s work — to help feed fellow New Yorkers in need.
For the second year running, team members swapped hairnets for funny hats, stacking up more than 500 sandwiches for the New York Common Pantry (NYCP). The nonprofit’s mission: “to reduce hunger throughout New York City while promoting dignity and self-sufficiency.”
On Wednesday, October 12, the General Assembly enterprise team hosted Deb Henretta, the former Group President of Procter & Gamble, for breakfast and Q&A at GA’s New York campus. Deb is a 30-year veteran of P&G (ret. 2015) and ran various businesses–including the Global e-Business, Global Beauty, and Asia, among others–during her time there. During breakfast, she mentioned having 20,000 people under her.
Here are 5 tactics we learned from Deb about how CPG marketers and HR leaders can prepare their businesses for the future. Continue reading
When General Assembly students graduate from their course — whether it’s user experience design or data science — it’s always exciting (and sometimes surprising) to see the range of products and passions that actualize as a result. In the case of Nathan Maas,a Web Development Immersive alumnus of GA Seattle, the product was an idea called pennypost. The passion? Connecting the world with homemade digital postcards that are easy to send and share.
Nathan—who took a range of night classes in product management, front-end development, and data science at GA before choosing WDI—developed a web (and soon-to-be iPhone) app, pennypost, which was inspired by his travels to nearly fifty countries across the globe. Though he bought postcards everywhere he went with the intention of sending them home, constraints like time, postage, and tracking down mailing addresses, meant he never actually sent them. An idea was born.
Embracing your professional development or pursuing a career change can seem daunting, tedious and, at times, impossible. We often measure success by comparing ourselves to those around us, instead of focusing on our own qualities.
The reality is that there are many paths forward, and each person has a unique approach to finding theirs. Your success is the byproduct of a process of trial and error, your own experiments, and the practice of learning along the way.
Jen Glantz and Francesco Marconi’s paths have been anything but similar. While both live in New York City, one is an entrepreneur and the other works at The Associated Press. They, along with many others, started pursuing a career change while feeling lost. They asked themselves, “What should I do with my life? Why am I working here? Am I in the right place?”
As they found their answers, they came to share the belief that true fulfillment comes when you start focusing on building the “best version of yourself.”
Last week, General Assembly packed the house — both at our New York headquarters and online — for a conversation with Hillary for America’s digital strategy team. The evening focused on considering the campaign as a startup, and the conversation highlighted digital marketing lessons that strategists and entrepreneurs can use to build a responsive team.
Steph Hannon, chief technology officer, Teddy Goff, chief digital strategist, and Sara Solow, domestic policy advisor, had a lively discussion with General Assembly CEO Jake Schwartz about the realities of building tech for a startup that, as Goff noted, is “designed to go out of business in 18 months.”