Product School New York - 2nd Floor

1216 Broadway, New York, NY 10001

Challenges of Being a Company’s 1st Product Manager by Dormify PM


Being the first Product Manager at a company is no small feat. You are charged with creating the product management discipline at the company along with setting the product roadmap. It involves striking the right balance between asking for forgiveness and asking for permission. It requires the ability to toggle between strategy and execution to make decisions to lead the product. When there are no other Product Managers in the company, how do you navigate the challenges of being the first Product Manager?

Main takeaways:
– Deciphering what the Product Manager role in the company will be
– How to prepare for entering an organization as the first Product Manager
– Setting and leading the direction for the product and knowing when to kill your darlings
– Assembling your “board” to help you validate your ideas and navigate challenges that arise in the role

Meet the Speaker: Lauren Ulmer

Lauren has been the first Product Manager at two ecommerce startups. Currently, she is the Director of Product at Dormify, the go-to ecommerce site for small space and dorm decor. Since joining, she’s helped Dormify grow revenue over 80% in the past year. Her role in product at Dormify spans from introducing new technology that can scale, user experience research, and optimizing site conversion. The Dormify customer is age 17-19, so her product roadmap prioritizes features that pioneer new UX techniques and a customer-centric experience. Prior to Dormify, Lauren started her career at a fast-growing ecommerce company that grew to $30 million in the span of 2 years. She shaped the product roadmap for their ecommerce site and single page web app.