Shubhansha Agrawal is a product leader with twelve years of product, engineering and leadership across consumer, small businesses and enterprise experience worldwide including US, Canada, UK and India. She has driven strategic directions leading global teams at companies like Yelp, Salesforce, Wall Street Journal, Myfitnesspal and AtoS, Shubhansha holds several patents and has a Masters in Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Currently she is the Head of Product for Contributions & Community at Yelp, responsible for the flagship feature: User generated content (reviews, photos, videos) that not only helps local small businesses across the US and worldwide but also foster connections between millions of contributors to help their local communities. Her product philosophy is powered by combining user psychology with machine learning to deliver best user experiences and her work has been featured in TechCrunch, TheVerge and FastCompany.
Shubhansha believes in a multidimensional career. She has been a public speaker at 10+ international product conferences like ProductWorld, WomenInTech, Society of women engineers, ExpatWoman and has been invited as a guest speaker at universities like Carnegie Mellon and UC Berkeley. Shubhansha is a strong D&I advocate for women and young adults in STEM and has been active in judging competitions, writing about product management, career transitions and thriving as a woman in tech in academic journals like MindTheProduct, ProductCoalition with a viewership of thousands, and organizing large conferences to support that. Currently she also serves as the board member for DevNetwork aimed to connect technologists and leaders on what’s new in the tech industry, and as an advisory council for Harvard Business Review.
- Position: Head of Product, Contributions & Community
- Industry: Tech, Internet, Consumer
- Location: San Francisco, CA USA
- Website: Shubhansha Agrawal
- LinkedIn: Shubhansha Agrawal
- Instagram: N/A
- Twitter: N/A
Shubhansha, Can you start off by telling us why you became a Product Leader and a public speaker?
My career journey began in engineering, where I learned the skills to write code and build technological solutions. Although I found this to be a valuable role, I became increasingly drawn to understanding the “why” behind the products I was building. I wanted to explore whether there were other pain points we could solve and ensure that the solutions we were developing were truly customer-centric. This curiosity led me to the field of product management, where I have been able to do just that. It has been both challenging and rewarding to dive into vast amounts of data, talk to real people, and drive strategies for product development in collaboration with other stakeholders in the organization.
If I am being honest, I started public speaking as a means of building my own confidence. However, as I began to share my journey and strategies in product management, I realized that it not only helped me but inspired other women in both technology and non-technology spaces. This realization motivated me to speak more often, and I’ve since had the opportunity to connect with and inspire individuals across various industries.
What drives you to be successful as a product executive?
As a product leader in the tech industry, two key factors have been driving my success. The first and foremost is my unwavering desire to make a positive impact on society and local communities through the power of technology. This has driven me to build great tech products and help underrepresented groups in tech to grow and thrive through coaching and leadership.
The second driver for me is my passion for problem-solving. I am highly motivated by the opportunity to solve complex real-world problems faced by people in a simple and effective way. It brings me immense satisfaction to work on meaningful solutions that can make a tangible difference in people’s lives.
What’s the one or two accomplishments that you’re proud of?
My most significant achievement to date has been working on developing solutions with Yelp that facilitate small local businesses in the metro as well as suburban regions of the US and globally to seamlessly connect with their customers’ experiences, ultimately uplifting local communities.
One particular instance that fills me with pride is when I had the opportunity to talk to a small business owner and listen to their story about starting a business. It was gratifying to learn how our platform was instrumental in helping them understand their customers better and contribute to growing a thriving business.
What advice do you have for other up-and-coming woman entrepreneurs and leaders?
As a woman entrepreneur and leader, I have learned several valuable lessons along the way. Here are a few mindset shifts that I would recommend adopting:
First, know your product inside and out. This includes understanding data, user psychology, and trends, as well as ensuring that you and your team always have a clear understanding of how your work aligns with the overall company goals.
Second, truly understand the “why” behind the problem you are solving. Believing in and deeply understanding the problem is essential to building great products that solve real-world issues.
Finally, don’t be afraid to raise your hand, volunteer, and build your brand across various channels. Being proactive and building a strong personal brand can open up new opportunities and help you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Are you active on social media professionally? If so, what platforms work best for engaging your followers?
I use LinkedIn and share my insights there pretty often.
Who was your biggest influencer?
My parents have been my biggest influencers. As true hustlers, they have taught me the value of hard work and the importance of leading a purpose-driven life. Their dedication and unwavering support have been instrumental in shaping me into the person I am today, and I am grateful for all that they have done for me.
What is the most challenging part of your work as a Product Leader?
As a product leader, I have found that one of the most challenging aspects of the job is ensuring that everyone in the organization is aligned and actively advocating for the product vision. This can be a complex and demanding task that requires constant coordination, staying up-to-date with market trends, and effective communication skills. It can also require a significant investment of time, but the payoff is worth it when everyone is working towards the same goal and achieving great results.
What do you have your sights set on next?
I am excited about the work I am doing now at Yelp to enrich the experiences of contributors.
What is a day in your life like?
Hard to say, as the product management role is very dynamic my days vary a lot. One day, I might be focused on vision building and collaborating with stakeholders, while the next day I could be deeply engaged in talking to our users to gain insights into their needs and preferences. The nature of the job is that each day presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities, requiring a mix of strategic and tactical skills to succeed.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love creating art, and find it a great way to unleash my creative energy and explore new ideas.
What are you never without?
My phone, my watch and my dog.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere in the woods.
Other work, published articles, interviews or accomplishments:
• Published Articles
• Speaking Engagements
• Podcast on Coruzant