Interview Question

Senior Product Manager Interview Seattle, WA

Suppose there is a smart phone API that can give you a

  person's mood and that there are 100 different moods. There can be varying level of moods, such as happy, very happy, sad, extremely sad, etc. You can also have more than one mood at a time (such as nervous and excited). What app would you create to take advantage of this API?

Interview Answer

3 Answers


I personally think that this question is flawed and would tell the interviewer as such.

this approach is a cool technology doo dad in search of a problem, rather than a problem in search of a solution.

The core of product management is understanding "what does the client really need?" and then working with your technical leads to figure out the appropriate technical solution.

Good product management does not start with "here some cool bit of technology, how can we use it". Yes, it is good to have knowledge of the cool doo dads out there, but they then get filed into your toolbox as available for future use when required. There is no need to pull out a tool just because you have it available.

For a baby with a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

Phaedra Fisher on Nov 29, 2012

Create a weight loss Measurement app with it.

Lucia on Mar 4, 2013

Building on Phaedra's point about "what does the client really need?" I think there is a need here. Many people are not immediately aware of their emotions or what may trigger them. Imagine you had an app that could track your emotions and you could see a readout at the end of an hour, day west, etc. That readout could tell you what your location was when you felt that way (e.g., going to your girlfriend's parent's house makes you anxious and mad).

Also, imagine the app allowed you to set up reminders or actions whenever you felt a certain emotion or were heading to a specific place (e.g., you are starting to feel sad, and you could set up a YouTube clip of puppies to cheer you up a bit). Or the app could share your emotions with your significant other (e.g., I'm happy at work on the day I thought I was going to get a significant other could get a notification and feel the joy with me immediately).

Of course, this is Google, so there could be some ads based on how you feel...though that's a bit intrusive. Perhaps you could just throw in an ad when you visit the YouTube clip of the puppies.

Finally, imagine the wealth of knowledge Google could build based on geography, demography, etc. How cool would it be to know immediately how happy/sad/anxious/mad people are in a specific location after a specific event (e.g., France's incumbent Prime Minister lost the election and 78% of French users are happy at the exact moment).

Jay on Feb 9, 2014

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