Danai Panagiotarakou, Upstream

published on 17 January 2024

Ποιός/α είσαι;

My name is Danai! I am a senior product manager at Upstream. I am a tech enthusiast and I enjoy building products that give value to the users and make their everyday lives easier!

Πως έγινες Product manager?

My journey started as a performance marketing professional, where I got involved with the magic of marketing and the ability to measure everything and see direct impact of marketing actions.

Then I moved on into launching a SaaS platform for a multinational tobacco company, where I developed my project management skills and I saw the actual needs of a user for a customer centric SaaS product.

Finally, after having combined all these skills, I was offered an opportunity to work as a product manager, where I initially handled a new product that had to do with online flows building and performance optimization but now me and my team are building a marketing platform. Having experienced roles of people that user platforms like the one we are building is of outmost value to me and I believe has helped me a lot to safeguard the user experience and design this new product. 

Πως είναι το day-to-day σου σαν Product manager?

Being a product manager has a unique benefit of not having the same day over and over again.

Everyday I am talking with various different stakeholders and many different aspects require my attention. So one day can be specking a completely new feature and brainstorming with the rest of the product and UX team.

Another day can be engaging in architecture analysis of a new feature with the engineering team.

Other days, include involvement in product marketing activities, sales pitches, demos to clients and strategy meetings with the sales teams.

So it is a role that has a very wide span. As product manager you coordinate with cross-functional teams to ensure all team members are on the right page and stick to the timelines. You provide guidance on the product strategy for the rest of the teams. And you gather feedback from internal and external clients in order to continuously improve your product.

Τι αγαπάς περισσότερο στη δουλειά του Product manager?

My favorite part of the day is when we are brainstorming a new feature and then we have to organize all these wonderful ideas and structure them so as to present a full feature and how it would work. 

Κατά την άποψη σου, τι κάνει έναν καλό Product manager?

There are many skills a great product manager requires but if I were to choose between which skills make an efficient product manager and which skills make a great product manager, I would narrow it down to the below:

In order to be an efficient product manager you need to have very good prioritization skills, planning skills, data analytics and research skills. You have to be able to break down your product in phases and create roadmap plans.

You have to be able to decide which features are must haves for the users and which can wait for later.

However, being a great product manager to me requires two main skills:
- Being able to hear the market needs and have a strong intuition that guides your decision-making. Of course this intuition is highly driven by research and contact with your users.
- Being highly empathetic. The best PMs have the ability to empathize with customers in that interview, they are tuned in to their body language and emotions, they hear beyond the customers words and can feel the pain points and needs of a client in order to efficiently address them.

- Also a PM with a high EQ has strong relationships within their organization and a keen sense of how to navigate both internal and external hurdles to ship a great product. 

Ποια είναι τα αγαπημένα σου εργαλεία?

  • Figma
  • Miro

Ποια είναι τα αγαπημένα σου βιβλία, blogs κτλ?

  • Start at the End: How to Build Products That Create Change by Matt Wallaert
  • Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Read more