My pathway to tech & startups was an unexpected one.
While at uni, I was an aspiring optometrist (mostly due to pressure from parents). In my first year, my transfer failed after failing a couple of subjects and I decided to just take the leap and follow my passion at the time: design. While studying design, I took up a lot of different roles to gain experience to avoid being a “starving artist” and randomly landed up in a startup in food-tech that was doing an accelerator program at the time.
There, I fell in love with the world of startups and wanted to be a product designer. Startup after startup, I finally decided to try a big tech company, where I applied for Atlassian for their internship. I miraculously got into the product management one (instead of the product design one) and here I am, a product manager.
After Atlassian, I joined Eucalyptus as their 15th employee and first product hire. I stayed with them for 3 amazing years and decided to take a year long break to rest, rejuvenate and figure out what’s next.
Now, I'm on a career break. If you'd like to check out what I'm up to: jennychu.substack.com
After Atlassian, I knew I wanted to go back into startups - I yearned for the ambition and energy that I remembered. However, most of the startups in Australia were B2B, SaaS or fintech at the time - none of which I was really passionate about then. Even if they weren’t in those spaces, when I did the interview process with potential companies, I just didn’t feel like there was a good cultural fit or perhaps I didn’t believe in the founders vision.
When Tim started Eucalyptus, I was already following along for a while as I knew him from a previous job. I was always passionate about healthcare and B2C and it seemed like the perfect dream job for me. They weren’t hiring for a product manager at all but I decided to just message him after years of not contacting him to see if he needed a product manager.
After meeting with the team (and the other founders), learning about their strategy and business model, their vision for healthcare in Australia, I knew I had to join the company.
I can barely explain what a product manager does to adults let alone a 5 year old, but let’s try. As a product manager, I help decide what features we should build and why. I decide using research, business objectives and talking to users.
As a product manager of a high growth startup, I loved:
Find ways to prototype your future career!
If you’re not sure what you want to do (who does?), then find ways to learn more or opportunities to try parts of the job. For example, you can:
And if you can afford it, actually seeing if you can volunteer or dedicate a bit of time to working at a company as a junior product manager. Career changes, especially when you have a few years of experience in your current role, can be scary as it often means taking a salary cut or a title change. So finding ways to de-risk your choice is one of the best ways to decide if you want to make the jump.
Solving customer problems and rolling out the best features.