Surbhi Gupta Feature

Headshot of Product Leader Surbhi Gupta

Exclusive Interview of Surbhi Gupta

Surbhi Gupta is a product leader who has redefined the landscape of digital product management with her groundbreaking work in building innovative 0-1 products. She uses a strategic blend of megatrends, user insights, and innovative thinking to create new digital products that break new ground in the market for startups and large companies. Her unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the digital space sets her apart, making her a catalyst for groundbreaking product innovation. Surbhi’s work has garnered recognition from  major media such as Forbes, where it has been featured among the purpose-driven entrepreneurs.

At Tesla, Surbhi built a groundbreaking product enabling zero-touch sales. This innovation embraced a direct-to-consumer (D2C) model and empowered customers with the information they need, minimizing the need for sales interaction and enabling Tesla to scale its sales. Tesla’s web-based application helped generate more than a billion in revenue and saved hundreds of thousands of man-hours each quarter.

At Meta, Surbhi led the member experience for the Instagram and Messenger Community Chats product. She played a pivotal role in spearheading cross-team collaborations and leveraging creative design to develop a cutting-edge signaling and notifications system focused on understanding diverse user needs; powered by machine learning analysis coupled with advanced personalization. Her innovation, leadership, and impact set new standards in the industry and have inspired other products to leverage similar experiences in redefining how people connect and engage on social platforms.

Beyond her role at tech companies, Surbhi is a startup advisor, speaker, and influential voice in leading business podcasts. She has earned recognition as an award-winning product builder and a trailblazer in her field. As a startup advisor, she mentors new founders on how to position their products so they land among the top 5% of successes out of the 30,000+ new products launched each year. 

Surbhi’s influence extends to diverse domains, including her role as a radio talk show host.  Through her work as a guest lecturer for the Tech MBA program at NYU Stern, Product Teacher at Product School, and as an advisor on  product board for multiple companies, Surbhi shares her expertise, insights, and experiences, nurturing aspiring product managers and driving the growth of knowledge in the field. Surbhi has actively engaged with the international product community by serving as a keynote speaker and panelist at renowned events like the Product Led Summit and IPL Women in Product. Her unwavering dedication to education and empowering others demonstrates her commitment to enhancing the dynamic discipline of product management. This is evident through her participation as a judge in competitions and through her writings.

Surbhi’s multifaceted talents are on full display in her work as a web and Netflix personality. She has coached over 300 individuals, with a particular focus on empowering immigrant women to build successful careers in the tech industry. Her dedication and contributions led to her winning the Miss Bharat California title, showcasing her commitment to empowering others.

[Q U I C K   N O T E S]

Surbhi Gupta speaking at a product event

Surbhi, can you start off by telling us about yourself and why you became a Product Leader?

I have always been captivated by the fascinating intersection of science and humanity. The concept of leveraging technology to tackle tangible, real-world challenges and enhance people’s lives has always resonated deeply with me.

During my childhood, my aspirations ranged from becoming a surgeon to a scientist, and even carrying on the entrepreneurial legacy of my family. My ultimate goal was to invent something that would simplify people’s lives, granting them greater longevity, productivity, and happiness.

I figured that broad exposure to multiple industries would help me orient myself professionally. So, I chose  my professional career in consulting, and it enabled me to learn about the product and business challenges across many different industries. It was through my immersive experiences in consulting that I unearthed my true calling: building products.

Now being in the field of Product Management, I relish the exhilarating challenge of facing dynamic and ever-evolving days, where no two weeks or problem areas are the same. I find immense satisfaction in comprehending the needs of users, ideating innovative solutions leveraging latest technology and successfully bringing them to market. Furthermore, my passion is amplified when I collaborate with cross-functional teams to create products that genuinely make a positive impact on the world. I am privileged to utilize my skills and expertise to effect meaningful change in people’s lives. My zeal lies in crafting products that effectively address real-world issues and elevate the human experience. Furthermore, I am committed to leveraging my position as a product leader to inspire and empower others. I believe that the future of product management is bright. As technology continues to evolve, product leaders will need to be more creative and innovative than ever before. I am excited to be a part of this field and to help shape the future.

Can you tell us what drives you to be successful as a Leader?

I am driven by a fusion of curiosity, the yearning to create a positive impact, and the aspiration to inspire those around me. I am passionate about making a difference in the world, particularly in areas that help people live a life of freedom and let technology do the good. I believe that technology has the potential to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, and I am committed to using my skills and experience to help make that happen. I am guided by my core values of compassion, integrity, and justice, and I am driven to create positive change and leave a lasting impact.

Surbhi Gupta smiling for Silicon Valley Business Journal

What’s the one or two accomplishments that you’re proud of?

I take great pride in my unwavering commitment to relentlessly pursuing my passions, even in the face of significant setbacks. This dedication has not only allowed me to perceive obstacles as opportunities for personal growth and resilience, but has also broadened my perspective on life beyond the boundaries of my specific interests. One of such instances was when I had to make the difficult decision to drop out of my masters at NYU. However, years later, this setback proved to be a turning point that opened up an unforeseen opportunity. I was honored to receive an invitation to serve as a guest lecturer for their esteemed tech MBA program.

What advice do you have for other up-and-coming woman entrepreneurs and leaders? 

Be curious, understand your unique USP, and embrace your authenticity. Let your unique voice and perspective shine, as staying true to yourself will set you apart and empower you to make a meaningful impact in your chosen field.

Are you active on social media professionally?  If so, what platforms work best for engaging your followers?

Absolutely! I actively maintain a professional presence on LinkedIn. I find LinkedIn to be an excellent platform for engaging with my network and fostering meaningful professional connections.

Who was your biggest influencer?

Sadhguru for curious minds like me to challenge the status quo, forget about FoMO, and unlearn to learn new.

Surbhi Gupta speaking at a product event

What is the most challenging part of your work as a Product Leader?

The most challenging part of my work lies in orchestrating the delicate balance between: 

1. Meeting business objectives, user needs and driving innovation.

2. the pursuit of long-term strategic objectives with the relentless demands of short-term execution.

3. making difficult decisions amidst ambiguity, competing priorities and resource constraints.

What do you have your sights set on next?

Writing a book. I am passionately working towards bringing my ideas and experiences to life through this creative medium. It’s an ambitious undertaking that allows me to share valuable insights and make a meaningful impact on readers. I am dedicating my time and effort to crafting a compelling narrative that resonates with audiences.

What is a day in your life like?

My day typically starts with some mundane routines, which allows me to carve out time for my creative work. In an ideal day, I would wake up early, do some pranayama (breathing exercises and stretches), and have some nuts and fruit for breakfast. Until noon, I abstain from tea, reserving my love for coffee exclusively when exploring quaint cafes. As a product person, each day has its own unique element. Some days are heavy in meetings, while others involve more writing or speaking. I like to eat dinner early and end my day on a calm note. I don’t watch TV, but I listen to piano or soft meditation music, write, and prepare for the next day. From a career perspective, this routine enables me to approach each day with a clear focus and carve out time for professional growth. I am dedicated to staying updated on industry trends and advancements, which entails devoting time to reading industry publications, attending webinars, and participating in professional development courses. By actively pursuing opportunities to expand my knowledge and skills, I ensure that I am well-informed and equipped to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of my field.

Surbhi Gupta speaking at a product event

Do you have any hobbies?

Podcasting, Public Speaking, MCing, spending time in nature.

What makes you smile?

The beauty of pleasant weather with warm sunshine and a cool breeze makes me smile.

What are you never without?

I would say that I am never without empathy. While I may not have many personal belongings, I always try to carry a composed mind to understand and connect with people on an emotional level.

What scares you?

The loss of health is my greatest fear

What is your favorite vacation spot? Hana in Hawaii captivates me with its majestic beauty, lush landscapes, and close proximity to nature. Its stunning waterfalls, pristine beaches, and scenic drives along the Road to Hana embodies the perfect blend of serenity and natural allure. It’s a destination where I can reconnect with nature and find solace in its splendor. After my whirlwind escapades through 30 countries before 30, I’ve come to realize that the concept of a staycation also goes well!

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