Ken Norton

Ken Norton

Hi, my name is Ken Norton. I’m an executive coach, speaker, and writer.

Before becoming a full-time executive coach to technology leaders, I spent more than fourteen years at Google, where I led product initiatives for Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Mobile Maps, and GV (formerly Google Ventures). These products today are used by more than three billion people worldwide.

I launched my career about a month after the Mosaic browser was released to the public. I knew immediately that I wanted to dedicate my career to building digital products that help people collaborate and connect. I joined Google with the acquisition of JotSpot, where I was vice president of products. JotSpot’s innovative collaborative wiki software would evolve into Google Sites. Before that, I led product management at Yahoo. Even farther back, in the Web 1.0 days, I was a software engineer and one of the earliest employees of CNET, and the founding CTO of search engine Snap (which became NBC Internet).

I received my coaching training and certification from the Co-Active Training Institute (CTI), the “gold standard” of coaching programs. I am credentialed by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

I earned a bachelor’s from Boston University and a master’s from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). I am a listed inventor of more than forty issued patents.

I started blogging about product management in 2005 because I couldn’t find anything on the web about what it meant to be a product manager in an empowered, user-centric tech company. My classic essay How To Hire a Product Manager has since become the playbook for a generation of product managers. Hundreds of people have contacted me over the years to say that my writing inspired them to become a PM, convinced them they were capable, or motivated them to keep pushing when times got tough. I am also the reason donuts and product management have become synonymous.

All these years later, I remain committed to helping human beings collaborate and connect.

I’m passionate about the craft of product management and dedicated to helping other product leaders achieve success through the power of coaching. Learn more »


In the course of a decade, Ken Norton fundamentally changed the way you communicate, schedule and get around.”

One of those rare product managers who combines both product vision and a strong technical background.”

Simply one of the most thoughtful product people out there.”

#1 Best Product Management Conference Talk
#1 Best Product Management Newsletter
#1 Best Product Management Blog

  • How to Hire a Product Manager: the Classic Essay

    The classic essay that defined the product manager role
    What is product management? What makes a great product manager, and how do you become one? This is Ken Norton's classic essay on the role of product management that launched thousands of PM careers.

  • 10x Not 10%: Bold Product Strategy and Vision

    Product management by orders of magnitude
    In this ambitious essay, Ken Norton looks at the history of innovation and challenges product managers and product leaders to think bigger, to aim for 10x, not 10%.

  • Please Make Yourself Uncomfortable: Jazz and PMs

    What product managers can learn from jazz musicians
    What can product managers and product leaders learn from jazz, an art form that is all about improvisation, collaboration, and being willing to take risks?

  • Best Books for Product Managers [Updated for 2023]

    Essential product management reading
    Ken Norton shares his recommended books for product managers. The best books on product leadership, innovation, management, shipping winning products, and design thinking.

  • Ants & Aliens: Long-Term Product Vision & Strategy

    Why you need a thirty-year product vision (yes, thirty)
    How do you plan for the future and deliver an innovative and compelling product vision that will inspire your team to deliver winning products?

  • Meetings That Don’t Suck

    Break free from the tyranny of the conference room
    Most meetings suck, but it doesn't have to be that way. Ken Norton shows us how to break free and unsuck our meetings.

  • Building Products at Stripe

    Go deep, move fast, and build multi-decade abstractions
    What is Stripe's product culture like? Interview with a Stripe product leader demonstrate an embrace of going deep, moving fast, and maintaining a multi-decade perspective.

  • What Makes A Strong Product Culture?

    How a company's view of technology, product leadership, and empowerment contribute to product success
    Strong product cultures can produce winning products. They're places where product management is practiced (as we define it), where it is valued by the business, and where PMs can thrive and grow.

  • Building Products at Airbnb

    Snow White, storytelling, and a relentless focus on experiences
    What is Airbnb's product culture like? Interviews with Airbnb PMs demonstrate an embrace of Snow White, storytelling, and a relentless focus on experiences.

Ken Norton