Sidebench Talent Spotlight: Daniel Nouri
Daniel Nouri is a Product Management Apprentice at Sidebench.
Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I was born in Iran, and moved to the states when I was about 4 years old. I don’t remember much about Iran as I was very young. Coming to the states I’ve lived nearly my entire life in Southern California. I guess one could call me an “Angeleno”. Growing up here was interesting. I was introduced to many different cultures and different types of people. Being an immigrant myself, I loved the fact that so many other people had similar stories like mine. It felt like one big melting pot.
Outside of work, what are you irrationally passionate about?
Travel. I love exploring new places and going on adventures. Traveling isn’t just about going to cool and new places you’ve never seen, but it also helps you grow, and gives you a different perspective in life.
It’s rather common that PMs have uncommon paths into the discipline. Walk us through the process that you went through to get into Product.
I was finishing up college and I didn’t have the slightest idea of what I wanted to do in my future. Everything I stumbled across either bored me or didn’t have a lick of creativity involved. As I was researching different roles, I found Product and I fell into a deep hole and never really came out. Products for me fit well with what I wanted to do because I’m able to exercise my creativity and work with teams that produce impactful and meaningful products.
We talk a lot about our jobs being the opportunity to imagine the future and then make it real. What vision do you have for the future and want to make real?
I envision a place where everyone has access to affordable mental health treatment. I’m a big advocate for therapy, in fact I think everyone should go to therapy. My vision is to eventually develop a way that allows for easy to use and affordable methods of therapy.
Not everything we do works and that’s okay. We learn from those things. What is the least successful product or project you’ve contributed to and what did you learn? (No need to mention real names if it’s an issue)
I was put on a project where we agreed to all take responsibility for each of the tasks that needed to be done and consistently check in each other with our progress. As time went on, a majority of the group was lacking in owning their responsibilities. This resulted in a catastrophe, because nothing really got done! We had to work overtime towards the end just to get the project completed in time. Big lesson here was knowing who you are working with, and holding people accountable to their responsibilities.
How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?” (Borrowed from Tim Ferris’ “Tribe of Mentors”)
I didn’t get into my ‘dream’ school after high school and it really bummed me out. A lot of my friends were able to go to the school they really wanted to but I had to opt for someplace I really didn’t want to go. Looking back on it, it was probably the best thing for me. I had to learn how to adapt and still pursue the goals I wanted, despite not getting what I originally wanted.
What’s been the most exciting part about joining Sidebench so far?
The products we work on and the team behind it all. Everyone at Sidebench is full of curiosity and kindness. The environment is always about learning from each other and never getting down on ourselves or each other. Behind any great product or company, is a group of great people.
We love to find people that ADD to our culture vs fit into our existing culture. What are some cultural aspects that you’ve experienced that you hope to bring with you?
I’ve always been around diverse people and have myself come from a diverse background. I believe coming from a place where I’ve been exposed to different cultures and methods of thinking brings a unique set of perspectives to the team that would add value.
Describe your super power or describe what unique skill/perspective you bring to the team here.
I believe I have two sets of unique skills, persistence and empathy. I find that my persistence has always been one of the major keys in succeeding in anything I do. Bringing that onto the team, I hope serves as a form of motivation during difficult tasks. I always thought of myself as being super empathetic and being able to put myself in other’s shoes. That will come in handy when understanding users better.
What skill, practice, behavior, hobby or habits are you currently working on?
I am working on getting a consistent workout routine going and reading more. There’s so many books I want to read but I often have difficulty sitting down and actually reading.
Bonus Question: What book, publication, or podcast have you most recommended lately and why?
The Wim Hof podcast, lots of good talking points of being a happier and healthier individual.