The Art of Product Management with Tom Verrilli

The Art of Product Management with Tom Verrilli
Tom Verrilli shares the best practices of chief product officers and explains why less is more in building great products.

Fresh out of the studio in SXSW Sydney, Tom Verrilli, former Chief Product Officer of Twitch joined us in a conversation to discuss the intricacies of product management. Tom shared his perspectives based on his experiences from navigating the delicate balance between feature addition and reduction in product roadmaps and managing normal and power users' expectations. With the recent advances in generative AI, Tom offered his insights on how this new wave will bring about changes in user behaviour and interfaces, and how it will bring about new thinking in product management. Last but not least, he laid out what great would look like for product managers in the next decade.

β€œIt is useful both to internal and external, but it's also a really great litmus test. If you sit down to write your public letter and you can't explain why you're doing something, if it doesn't fit in with your overarching strategy, it goes back to that first thing we said as PMs [product managers], which is sometimes you have to say no to it. You're like, I actually can't explain to anyone why we're spending time on this particular feature. It doesn't fit any of the four themes we said we're doing this year. Does that mean we have a fifth theme or does that mean we shouldn't be doing that? And that clarity and that kind of litmus test. Is really, really useful as a leader when few people say no to you.” - Tom Verrilli


  • Tom Verrilli, former Chief Product Officer, Twitch (LinkedIn, @tdrobbo)
  • How did you start your career and eventually end as Twitch's former Chief Product Officer?
  • From your point of view, do you think for the modern-day product management, can one still start from the business side and get towards the technology side or vice versa?
  • In your career journey, what are the essential career lessons you can share with my audience?

The Art of Product Management with Tom Verrilli

  • How would you think about product management as a concept from a product manager's perspective or a manager of product managers' perspective?
  • Do you see that one of the responsibilities that the chief product officer has is resource allocation?
  • How does one balance the needs of different product managers who dedicate their time to perfect their individual products while serving the purpose of the overall roadmap of the chief product officer? How do you allocate and what criteria do you use to evaluate the allocation?
  • Based on timelines and constraints, what are the things you say no to as a product manager?
  • Adding features for a product is easy, but cutting features are difficult, what are your perspectives on that?
  • Based on your non-linear career and experiences in Asia, Australia and the United States, you have seen different ways of doing things. What is your mental model when it comes to designing for different cultures and diversity?
  • How do you deal with the angry mob (who may or may not be power users) when you take features away in order to bring the rest of the users into using the product? How will you handle the power users when they start going up in arms against the company that builds the products?
  • What are your perspectives on applying generative AI into products as the user interface is very limited and we only have the chat interface? How are we going to think about the product when it starts to incorporate the vision and even video transformers in the future?
  • As a product manager, how do you incorporate AI as an agent or co-pilot which has the capability to augment or amplify your ability to do something?
  • Last year, together with your chief monetization officer of Twitch, you both wrote an open letter to communicate your plans to the users, customers and stakeholders within the platform ecosystem. What is the purpose and the thinking process behind the letter?
  • What does great look like for product managers in the next 10 years?


  • Any recommendations which have inspired you recently?
  • Tom's recommendations: Dungeons and Dragons and how it encourages storytelling. The coincidence is that our host has also spent a lot of time with Dungeons and Dragons when he was a teenager.
  • How do my audience find you?

Author's note: We thanked SXSW Sydney and Sennheiser ANZ for the podcast stage and appreciated the opportunity to have our episode recorded live on 18 Oct 2023. 

Podcast Information: Bernard Leong (@bernardleongLinkedin) hosts and produces the show. Proper credits for the intro and end music: "Energetic Sports Drive" and the episode is mixed & edited in both video and audio format by G.Thomas Craig (@gthomascraigLinkedIn).