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Hack To Start
Episode 160

Katie Zhu

product @medium. i'm not bossy, i'm the boss. listen to @sweetandsourfm

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Music

Katie Zhu is an Engineer turned Product Manager at Medium. Medium is a social publishing platform that allows anyone to share ideas and perspectives that matter. Medium now reaches over 30M readers a month, has explored new formats like Series, audio posts, and more. After internships with both NPR and the New York Times, Katie decided to make a big decision and join Medium over other tech companies. At Medium, Katie’s had a chance to work on several parts of the platform and continue to help creators and storytellers push the limits of their craft. Katie joins us to share her story, how she optimized her career for learning, what it’s been like working on developing new tools for writers and storytellers on Medium, how she approaches product management, and more.

Main Objectives For This Episode

  • Learn more about how Katie got into startups
  • Learn more about how Katie approaches product management
  • Learn more about what it's been like building the Medium platform
  • And more!

Episode Overview

Katie Zhu is an Engineer turned Product Manager at Medium.

Medium is a social publishing platform that allows anyone to share ideas and perspectives that matter. Medium now reaches over 30M readers a month, has explored new formats like Series, audio posts, and more.

After internships with both NPR and the New York Times, Katie decided to make a big decision and join Medium over other tech companies.

At Medium, Katie’s had a chance to work on several parts of the platform and continue to help creators and storytellers push the limits of their craft.

Katie joins us to share her story, how she optimized her career for learning, what it’s been like working on developing new tools for writers and storytellers on Medium, how she approaches product management, and more.


Some Of The Questions We Ask

1:57
Where are you from and what did you study?

2:40
So how did your passion for engineering and technology develop?

5:54
After a few internships you joined NPR and then later the New York Times as an Interactive News Intern. How did you create the opportunity to join these teams and what were these first experiences like for you?

8:55
What were some of the biggest lessons you learnt from these first job?

10:12
You then joined Medium in October of 2013. Can you tell us a bit more about what Medium does and how you created the opportunity to join the team there?

15:09
What have been some of the projects you’ve had the chance to work on over those years?

17:31
Medium launched a new way to create and share posts called “Series” a few months back. What was it like helping to create and launch that feature?

20:03
Medium has also introduced audio stories. Why was that format something that you guys wanted to explore?

22:18
You’ve worked on product and engineering for a while. So how do you approach these two areas? Are there any tips or processes for keeping the workflow separate or do you purposefully blend them together?

31:24
Do you have any final thoughts or words of advice for Product Managers or entrepreneurs?


Here are some of the most important links and resources mentioned throughout the show.

Twitter Handles & Websites

Katie Zhu on Twitter
Katie Zhu on Medium
Sweet & Sour Podcast
Medium on Twitter
Medium on the web
Tyler Copeland on Twitter
Franco Varriano on Twitter

Devices, Apps, and Books

Adidas All Day
Cassette
Bear
Things
Hunger
The Ex-Files
Julie Zhuo
Enneagram Personality Test

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