A day in the life of a Zego product manager: Natalie Loh
Written by Millie Paine
At Zego, we love putting the spotlight on the people who help make our product amazing. We chatted to Senior Product Manager Natalie Loh about what a typical day looks like for her, what she loves about Zego and her passion for Google calendar.
First, tell us a bit about yourself and your role here at Zego.
I’m Nat and I’m a Senior Product Manager at Zego. I’ve been here for just about six months, and I’m currently in the Acquisition and Onboarding team, which is a new domain structure that we formed at the start of this quarter. I was born and raised in Singapore, and I moved to London three years ago to be a software engineer. I’ve also previously worked as a UIUX designer, before transitioning full-time into product management a couple of years ago. I’ve been (self) described as Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation.
Starting from when you get into the office each morning, what does a typical day look like for you?
It’s hard to say exactly what a typical day is - which is exactly how I like it! They’re pretty much just dictated by my Google Calendar, which I can’t function without. I’ll be in meetings for a lot of the day, ranging from ideation sessions with the design team to kicking-off the launch of a new line of insurance products with the operations team. Our team is now 10 people, so I’m now starting to do some 1-1s with individual team members as well to make sure I’m enabling them to do their best work. I’ve recently been quite involved in the hiring process, so I’ve been interviewing candidates a lot too.
As with Product Management, my work broadly sits in the cross-section of our users, tech and the business, so I split my time broadly between these three aspects of my job. I’m often talking to the heads of different verticals and departments to understand what their views and priorities are, and to get an understanding of what’s coming up and the larger business strategy.
What’s your favourite part of your day?
I’d say days that involve launching things are always pretty exciting - I love seeing something I’ve been working hard on for a really long time finally coming to fruition. There’s a really nice energy around launching new things, and coordinating everything really gives me an adrenaline rush. It doesn’t happen every day, but it’s always really special when it does. I also get to hit a big gong (the Zegong!) when we launch stuff, so that’s pretty cool too.
What’s the best part about your job?
I’d say my favourite part about my job is getting to solve really complex problems. We’re working quickly to disrupt the industry, which means that everything I do is both intellectually challenging with the added pressure of wanting to move fast. Zego has been one of my favourite jobs I’ve had; I feel like I get to work with a bunch of best friends every day. Free-flow oat milk is also a big plus.
What would you say is the biggest challenge you face in your day-to-day work? How do you work to resolve it?
I think the biggest challenge about my role is having to take into account so many different points of view, as well as requirements and expectations. Ultimately, everyone wants what’s best for the users and the business: we just all have different ways of getting there. A big part of product management and my job is making that journey as smooth and as conducive as possible. Part of that is knowing how to say no in a constructive way, and to be able to substantiate my decisions - this is important in managing both upwards and downwards.
I think that in a company that is growing so quickly, it’s important to constantly evaluate if lines of communications or current ways of working are, well, working. I’ve learnt to try and over-communicate wherever I can. This is particularly true when we are scaling so fast and everything is evolving. Change can make people slightly nervous, so as a product manager it’s really important to make everyone feels heard during this process. This is challenging when you are also trying to move fast.
What opportunities for learning and development do you have here at Zego?
My short answer to that would be: loads! I’ve got quite a few things on the go currently - I’m about to go on a management training course, as well as receiving communications training from a tech agency. I’ve also just come back from attending a product conference. It’s really really nice how much senior leadership and my manager push for these things instead of me having to ask for them. There’s a really great culture of sharing knowledge at Zego too. I recently hosted a Lunch and Learn: “Optimising Your (Work) Life” which was basically 51 tips and tricks on how to optimise our work tools and overall life and stay sane. I like to think it was well received, and I got a few laughs out of it too!
More generally, I don’t think there’s been a day at Zego I’ve not learnt something new or been challenged in an interesting way. You get to work with insanely smart and capable people - that’s what pushes me the most. We also have the added perk of an in-house library, where I often request orders for new business and product-related books to read.
What sort of things do you like to do in your free time?
The biggest part of my life outside of work is comedy. I’m a stand-up comedian, and I perform quite often - last year I was at the Edinburgh Fringe, which was honestly the proudest moment of my life. Other than that, I go to the cinema on average once a week, up to three times a week during awards season!
What’s the social side of Zego like?
Having moved to London for work, the social side of a job is really important and I’m happy to report things have been great on that front. We closed our Series B fundraising round just after I joined, so it’s been really high energy ever since then. We recently moved offices and then had our annual offsite event, which was one of the highlights of my summer.
We also have a lot of social events that happen from the ground up, like board games nights and team socials. As we grow, there are small pockets of interest groups that you can become a part of, where everyone is welcome to join in. I’m hoping to start a Switch tournament of some sort soon!
What’s your favourite thing about working here, and why?
The autonomy that I have over my work, as well as the sheer possibility of what can be done, are really exciting to me. This isn’t just in my team, but in the wider industry too. This is because we’re at a really critical point of growth, as everything we do now will shape what the company is - both in terms of our product and our culture - for the next 2-3 years. I really love feeling like I can be a part of that. I also feel like our ‘Take the Wheel’ philosophy fits me really well. If I want to do something, there’s nothing stopping me apart from my own limits.