Gabriel Tsoi, Product Manager of Vendasta

“Product management is like running a start-up, you need to care about the business as your business.”

- Gabriel Tsoi

Gabriel is the product manager of Vendasta, a Canadian platform to provide digital solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses.

Student to Start-up

Gabriel studied Biotechnology and minor in Psychology, as he is good at DSE Biology and interested in the science of the brain. After graduating in 2018, he joined Origami Labs and switched his lane—started a marketing job in the startup area. He took up the product management role of OFLO in the following 5 years. he is working in Vendasta, a company in Canada.

Freelancing is a good way to accumulate entrepreneurship experiences. At those time, Gabriel strived to learn product and website design, pushing himself to a better level of product development. Following the path like Uber, he is trying to be a serial entrepreneur working in multiple projects in different countries.

Small to big

To accumulate experience and expand his network, Gabriel is now working in Vendasta, Canada, being one of the 12 product managers in the team of around 700.

There are certain differences between start-ups and big companies. Start-up is like a freelance, we can have flexible working hours; big company requires regular working time, but giving the experiences and network whose quality and scale a start-up could never reach. The hierarchy of start-ups are flatted, while big companies are layered; the teams of start-ups are cross-functional, while big companies are specialized.

However, they could be similar too. For Gabriel, doing product management is similar to running a start-up. Product management is to choose a person who is responsible for an important product. Like running a start up in the company, all people are divided in the small teams in a big corporate as independent cells. Although Gabriel still need to collaborate with diverse kinds of people, he feels that he is just working in a start up with lots of resources only.

Survive in careers

Ideal CVs are necessary for job applications. Gabriel states that an ideal CV can let people see us and let the job find us, while able to try so many different things and never putting the egg into one basket. We have to demonstrate what we can do, reminding what we have accomplished is more important than which company we worked under.

Moreover, create an environment where we will keep learning and growing, even after we graduated. Gabriel mentioned once we have created our own environment, our own life will be created, our dream job will be created too. The best form of teaching is not to teach, so we should learn by ourselves in everyday life. Watching newsletter from key leaders to get the insights, immersing ourselves in the right communities, governing ourselves like a government, we can solve the challenges ahead.

Student Takeaway

“Thank you Gabriel Tsoi for sharing your encouraging and inspiring story with all of us. As a student, I think I often focus on achieving specific outcomes and results, but Gabriel reminded me that the journey is the most important part of the destination. His journey illustrated how having an open attitude towards all types of opportunities can help grow and strengthen your career. He encourages us to try working in different types of industries, to stay flexible, and to learn for the sake of learning. From now on I will keep an open mind and remember not to limit myself to a certain major or industry, because whatever I learn will have value.

Nathalie Rose Sumin Schneersohn - Student from ENTR1001

“Gabriel Tsoi’s speaking about his career experiences was knowledgeable and opened my perspectives of how challenging and interesting startups can be. #Curiosity is one of the key characteristics that I would describe Gabriel. Through curiosity, he managed to seek knowledge around his local communities, asked the right questions, and looked for appropriate solutions. That is how a startup product should be - tackle the problems directly and correctly. Additionally, through #grit and #resilience, Gabriel managed to try out different paths in his studies, work in different freelance jobs, and meet with many new people. He then used those understandings and experiences to run his startup.”

Roathy Ly - Student from ENTR1001

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