On Always Taking Accountability


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Ryan McMinn

Head of Product at Microsoft

Episode notes

Did you know that many historically impactful figures had some form of note-taking habit actively reflecting on their experiences? Research shows you forget 60% of the information that comes into you daily. It also shows that notetakers retain 95% of that information.

In this episode of Dreams with Deadlines, Jenny speaks with Ryan McMinn, the head of product for Microsoft OneNote and Sticky Notes. Ryan insists on being a good leader for his team and offering customers product value. He shares how OneNote has developed and grown as a product putting into consideration the target customer over the years.

Listen in to learn why you need to become a notetaker as it helps with reflecting on experiences which is what creates knowledge and wisdom. You will also hear the importance of learning by going through things first hand and gaining experience while finding ways to get over them fast enough.

“It’s very hard to do large things and if you don’t know exactly know where you want to end up, you can end up chasing small things instead of going after big things.” — Ryan McMinn (24:05)

Show notes

  • (0:12) Intro
  • (1:37) Learning to be a good leader that sets an example for your successor
  • (3:16) Ryan describes OneNote’s target customers as organized individuals and the set of organized people that exist
  • (9:42) The importance of taking accountability and serving others as a leader without imposing your will
  • (14:53) The principles of trust and product depth that contribute to OneNote’s value
  • (16:47) The strategy and paths to taking OneNote to the people as things continue to change
  • (21:45) Ryan explains how they measure Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) by building on small things to make big things that fulfill customers’ wants
  • (26:33) How and why they created the seven big things to look at as a team that helped them breakdown and actualize the OKRs
  • (32:00) Understanding people’s motivation and tapping into it through trial and error
  • (36:14) Learning to be what the team needs — becoming what is expected of the rule and not what you as a leader is comfortable with
  • (39:26) The best thing that ever happened to Microsoft- being humbled and finding a balance
  • (41:30) How Ryan has learned not to beat himself up when things don’t work out and not comparing himself and the products he creates

About our guest:

Author avatar
Ryan McMinn

Head of Product

Ryan McMinn is a seasoned product leader who worked at Microsoft for 13 years. Previously, he served as the Head of Product for Microsoft OneNote and Sticky Notes. He leads from the front with curiosity, a light heart, and in service of others.

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