About Harsha Kumar

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 11.20.27 am  Harsha Kumar, who was till a few  weeks ago, AVP of Products at  Ola  India. Now the audience in India  wouldn’t need an introduction  to    Ola  but for my audience outside  India must know that Ola is  India’s  answer to Uber so much so that Uber  is finding it tough to  crack the Indian  market because of a resilient Ola in  India. I will be  sharing a Bloomberg  article on Ola vs Uber that was  published only  last week in the show  notes for you to read.

 And one of the key members of the  team that build such a  formidable  business through technology was  Harsha Kumar.    Harsha has  impacted Ola greatly with some of  her successful  inititatives like  launching the consumer app, driver  app, Ola Money  wallet, as well as  Ola’s B2B solution and Ola’s support  platform. Harsha has been selected as India;s most influential  leaders in technology and Internet as per Linkedin power profles  2015. Prior to Ola, Harsha was a led product management at Adnear and Zynga, again great product organizations by themselves.

Questions for Harsha

  1. How has the journey been with Ola ever since you joined the company?
  2. You said you build product team at Ola. What according to you is a great product team? How do you hire them?
  3. Help us understand the products cab aggregation companies like Ola, Uber, Grab, Lyft  and many others build. What does it fundamentally take to build products right to become successful in this domain.
  4. What is the process of solving a challenging problem in Ola? Is it through Discovery, Build Measure Learn, MVP validations, iterations?
  5. How do you prioritise on what needs to be build  in the next quarter or couple of quarters especially when there are so many competing priorities vying for your attention? What are some of your proven strategies?
  6. Tell us a bit about metrics. It is said that a good metric is one that drives decision making. How do you measure the success and effectiveness of your products and product teams?
  7. You are a role model for being someone who moved into a new domain ( transportations and cab hailing service) and succeeded in that role. As product managers, we sometimes want to shift to a new domain, say from e-commerce, to VR or to IoT, or Machine Learning. For PMs who do not have experience in such domains, how do you enter such industries. How should one prepare for it? For example, what skills a PM should aspire to get into an online transportation network company like Ola or Uber or Lyft?
  8. What is your favourite consumer product and why? How do you think aspiring product managers should hone their product sense?
  9. Since you have worked at Zynga, again a company I admire with great product culture. Share with us some of your lessons learned in that organization? How do they build such amazing products there?
  10. Zynga was one of the few companies along with Linkedin, Google and General Assemble that used OKRs to build products. Did you use the same in Ola? How do you manage to stay on top of your product goals and objectives/metrics?
  11. How have you developed yourself over the years to become a product leader? Is it by the process of building more and more products at work? Is it by doing and pushing yourself doing something beyond that? Please share with us how do you hone your craft?
  12. Share with us some of your biggest failures in building products. Has there been occasions you built something that failed to work? Or you failed at building something right? What are the key lessons?
  13. What are some of the vital skills a product manager can’t do without to succeed in his career?
  14. What are some of the books and resources that have shaped you in your product career and that you would like to recommend other product people?


  • Harsha’s talk at Yoursstory:


  • Bloomberg article on Ola Vs Uber War


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  • Books recommended: