Ben Erez

Product leader living in Brooklyn w/ πŸ‘Έ and 🐢Check out my newsletter!

Story πŸ“ˆ

I was born in CT, moved to Israel when I was 6, and then to FL when I was 14. I earned by BS and MS in Finance from the University of Florida, which was an awesome experience.I started my career in tech investment banking, working in a cubicle for 80 hours a week. It wasn't long until I realized I'd rather be out in the world solving problems. So I left to start my own company.Like most first-time founders, I made a lot of mistakes and 1.5 years later I threw in the towel and joined a small startup called Life360 where I first got exposed to product management.Almost two years later, I left Life360 to become the first product manager of an early stage startup called Breeze.At Breeze, I led our 0->1 fleet management initiative and a year later, Breeze was acquired by Ford (the acquisition wouldn't have happened without our fleet management tool).I stayed on for two years post-acquisition to launch and scale Canvas, a Ford-owned flexible alternative to car ownership.Shortly after Canvas hit 1,000 active customers, I decided to leave Canvas to join a startup called Abstract as their first product manager. Canvas was an Abstract customer from the private Alpha, and I jumped on the chance to PM a product I loved as a customer.At Abstract, I led the collaboration team, which focused on improving the presentation, curation and feedback process for designers and their teammates.Over my time at Abstract, we saw the Sketch market share dissolve as Figma became the dominant player in the design tooling space. Since Abstract was tied to Sketch, we ran into growth challenges and the going got rough.A few months later, I decided to join Facebook to lead a team focused on making small business advertisers successful through personalized guidance.While I loved the PM role at a big tech company like Facebook, I decided to accelerate my growth and join a rocket ship called Attentive for the next phase of my career.Attentive is a Sequoia-backed, pre-IPO, Series-E startup which sits at the intersection of business messaging and e-commerce. I joined the team as a Lead PM focused on new products.Before Facebook, I spent eight years in early stage startups at the pre-seed to Series C stages so in a lot of ways this is a return to my startup roots, albeit at a growth stage I haven’t experienced previously.

Writing ✏️

The best way to improve as a writer is to write and publish as much as possible.Translating thoughts into written words is challenging and extremely gratifying (when successful).I have a newsletter if you want to be notified of future writing ✨and here are some of the pieces I've published:---
The Evolving Role of Product Managers πŸš€
Viral post about the PM role @ FB 🧨Strategy at a glance β™œPicking a top line metric πŸ“ˆDon't wait for 1:1s ⏰Start with problems βœ…50 Principles, Values and Observations πŸ€“How to influence people 🎯Should startup PMs focus on internal tools? πŸ› Turning 31 πŸŽ‚How I built trust with my team as a new PM 🀝Virtual onsite 2.0: beyond the day-long interview πŸ’‘The Hedgehog Method of feedback πŸ¦”P1E12: A new model for remote work πŸ πŸ›©Early Thoughts on Distributed Work πŸ’»Thoughts on Therapy πŸ”Context, Constraints and Conviction β€” The Three Cons For Shaping Product πŸ”₯How I landed my first startup job through a roadtrip πŸ›£22 Mistakes I Made as a First Time Founder πŸ™…Onboarding, Retention, And The Elusive β€œBottom of the Funnel” Metric πŸ“Š

Advising β™Ÿ

I love helping founders think through product and strategy.If you'd like to get in touch, DM me on Twitter or email benerez333 [at] gmail [dot] com---Dan Widing Founder & CEO of ProdPerfect
The trick to good product development is having the right balance of boldly relying upon expertise and humbly validating assumptions with rigorous discipline. Ben has mastered that balance.
---Troy Sultan, Founder & CEO of Guide
Ben looks at problems and businesses through the lens of people and systems, giving him strong intuition about where to point his curiosity. This makes him a uniquely helpful sounding board on a broad range of topics from product strategy to recruiting to management to culture. Ben is also highly responsive, probably the most underrated quality in an advisor.
---Jake Rothstein, Co-Founder of Papa and UpsideHōM
We consulted with Ben as we were going through an initial pivot, post MVP. With his vast product experience and analytical approach to problem solving, Ben was able to expose some of our internal blind spots, which made us completely rethink our product, tech roadmap, and even parts of our Go-to-Market strategy. We’ve since fundamentally changed the way we think about product development and how (and when) we build and launch new technology. His insights were invaluable and we will continue to consult with him as our business grows and evolves.
---Eric Anderson, Founder & CEO of Theta
Ben's ability to dive deep into conversation about the most complex issues you face when building product is something I really value. He's able to ask the tough questions that need asking and able to help surface an understanding of "What is this thing? Who is it for? Why does it matter?"