#67: Bangaly Kaba – What it takes to become a Product Manager at Facebook & Instagram

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Bangaly Kaba shares his story on how he broke into product management from a non-traditional backgrounds in Education and Finance. Originally from the East Coast, Bangaly is now considered as one of the best PMs in the Bay Area. He previously worked at Facebook’s growth team until landing his current product management role at Instagram.

You probably first heard of Bangaly’s name back on Episode 13 when Elaina Koros mentioned his name on the show referring to him as a great mentor.

From working in Switzerland, to starting a men’s fashion business, working at Facebook and finally handling product management at Instagram, Bangaly sure has crafted his own success story.


Years in Tech 6
Lives In: Bay Area, CA
Current Job Product Manager
Date Recorded 2/26/2017

Show Notes:

[02:15] Bangaly narrates how Elaina reached out to him and what made her stand out. Bangaly shares some tips in creating a great resume!

[05:20] How to craft a compelling story through “skills transferability” when you’re coming from a different background and his thoughts about mentorship

[09:12] Bangaly describes his family and career background and why he primarily decided to move to LA: your life dictates the skills you develop over time.

[11:30] Find out the hardest thing he has ever done in terms of managing people. He also discusses his early business venture relating to men’s fashion and the lessons he learned from starting a startup.

[14:52] The concept of product market fit and the trade-offs of starting your own startup versus working at a startup before starting your own. Plus, some tips in finding startups!

[18:40] Bangaly’s next steps after closing his business: He actually got interviewed at Google before being referred to at Facebook

[23:05] Bangaly lays out the framework and logic for answering questions. He mentions a handful of resources.

[24:02] The interview process at Facebook, his perspective on leadership, why a product manager is more like of than a mini-CEO

[28:15] Bangaly describes his product management role at Instagram’s growth team and an example of a project they’ve worked on and the challenges they had to overcome.

[35:15] How Bangaly transferred his skills he gained from his business to his current role and some things you can do to learn the language of a different industry

[38:40] Bangaly cites the difference between a real product manager and a Monday morning quarterback. More resources relating to product management!

[44:22] His insights into today’s educational model and his advice to people thinking about going to business school (Bangaly actually took an MBA degree)

[53:03] Some advice he would give to his junior college self and how to overcome your quarter-life crisis. The biggest lessons he learned from his mentor and his future plans

Contact Info:

Bangaly Kaba

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iambangaly

Email address: bangaly.kaba@gmail.com (Reach out to him and be sure to follow up!)

Articles & Mentioned Resources:

Learning Resources

App Academy

Breaking Into Startups Ep 13 with Elaina Koros



Decode and Conquer eBook


Rob Fitzpatrick – The Startup Toolkit

Platformed.info by Sangeet Choudary (about internet business models)

Practice Trumps Theory by Ash Maurya (about early-stage product development)

Startup Marketing Blog by Sean Ellis

GrowthHackers Conference

UX Crash Course – The Hipper Element (31-part UX Guide – Your bible of learning the basics of user experience and visual effect)

ConversionXL (about A/B testing)

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