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Ways We Work

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Alex Kinsella

Product Manager at Thalmic Labs

What do you do?

I’m a product manager at Thalmic Labs in Kitchener.

How do you stay up to date on trends in your industry/field?

The core of product management is knowing your customers – so keeping up with trends is leaving the office and getting into conversations about what current and future customers need. The best product managers would probably be the best bartenders – it’s knowing how to be a great listener. I’ve got my SmartServe card – true story. For news – I have a feedly list of blogs – BetaKit, The Verge, Connectedly – but the best source of news is Twitter.

Best way to stay on top of email?

I think that email shouldn’t be used to have a conversation. When I get an email, I try to reply in person (if in the office) or via phone and then follow up with an email confirming the conversation – if needed. It’s great as a record of what happened – but it can be an excuse to not interact in real time.

Top five applications or programs?

Does Google Chrome count as an app? Go with that. Sublime for a text/code editor. BBM for messaging (nothing comes close). TweetDeck for Twitter at my desk, Blaq for Twitter on the road.

What is your best time-saving trick?

I try and get to work early – write down on paper what I absolutely must get done for the day – and then spend the morning trying to get as much done as possible before people get in.

Favourite productivity tool?

My BlackBerry Z30. I can do my entire job from it if needed.

One non-tech thing you can't live without?


Structure of your typical day, how do you divide your time?

My day is bookended by spending time with my three daughters – it’s a great way to start and end your day.

At Thalmic Labs, we try and keep meetings to a minimum. I have one standing 15 minute meeting with my dev team. Other than that, it’s just impromptu conversations when something needed to be decided. Our office is set up agency style – so the chats happen often and we can bring in people as needed.

I try and get through emails in the AM – setup meetings, calls – and then do a recap and review before I leave for the day. In between – it’s tackle things as they happen.

What does your workspace look like?

Who would you like to see featured on Ways We Work?

I’d like to see Mike Pereira on here!