How to Ship Products and Influence People

Daniel Raffel (Heavy Bits), Michael Sharon (Facebook), Jeff Bonforte (Xobni), Jess Lee (Polyvore)
Product 2002
Average rating: **...
(2.25, 16 ratings)

Product management is an ill-defined and often misunderstood field. This panel discussion will lift the curtain on this dark art by moderating a conversation between a group of seasoned product managers describing how they work, what they’ve learned along the way and what advice they have for others interested in creating products that delight users.

Photo of Daniel Raffel

Daniel Raffel

Heavy Bits

Daniel Raffel is CEO and co-founder of Heavy Bits. He is actively developing a new mobile service.

Before founding Heavy Bits he worked at Yahoo where he served as the Product Manager that helped create Pipes, a web based composition tool to aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web. During his tenure at Yahoo, Daniel contributed to launching Yahoo Messengers VoIP product. He also lead the effort to add 3rd party authentication across the entire Yahoo network.

In another life, Daniel co-founded two record labels Lucky Kitchen and Apartment B. He has performed live under various aliases at venues around the world and has released recordings on over a dozen labels. In yet another life, Daniel’s passion for food led him to pursue a culinary degree which culminated in a stint as a chef in the kitchen of Thomas Keller’s NYC restaurant per se.

Photo of Michael Sharon

Michael Sharon


Michael Sharon is a product manager at Facebook working on location, local and mobile products. Prior to Facebook, Michael was an adjunct professor at New York University and the co-founder and CTO of Socialight, where he led the development of their social location platform. Michael holds a master’s in interactive telecommunications from New York University and a bachelor’s in English and law from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.

Photo of Jeff Bonforte

Jeff Bonforte


Jeff Bonforte is the CEO of Xobni. He’s worked in email, voice and messaging for more than 10 years. Prior to joining Xobni in 2008, Bonforte was VP of Social Search at Yahoo!, where he ran Yahoo! Answers and Delicious. Jeff also ran Yahoo! Messenger and oversaw its move from #2 to #1 IM client in the US. Before Yahoo!, Jeff was President and Founder of Gizmo5, an innovator in VoIP that was purchased by Google in 2008. In 1997 Jeff founded and was the CEO of i-drive, the largest online storage tool of the time, with over 10mm monthly unique visitors.

Jeff earned his BA in Classical Civilizations He lives in San Francisco with his wife, son and dog.

Photo of Jess Lee

Jess Lee


Jess is the co-founder and vice president of product management of Polyvore (, a social shopping platform. At Polyvore, she is responsible for product vision and user experience, but has done a little bit of everything from writing code to selling ads to washing dishes. Prior to Polyvore, Jess worked at Google for 4 years, where she was the product manager for Google Maps and worked on features like My Maps, draggable driving directions and the Maps API. Jess has a degree in Computer Science from Stanford University, loves drawing, and owns over a thousand comic books.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Picture of Rick Chin
Rick Chin
04/02/2011 6:00am PDT

Lee & Sharon had some great insights and I would have enjoyed hearing more. Unfortunately, Bonforte needed to monopolize the conversation and was arrogant enough to dismiss much of what the others had to say. I don’t know if this is just his way, or if he was intentionally trying to be provocative for this panel. Either way, he managed to diminish the overall value of the session. Too bad.

Barbara Matuzak
04/01/2011 6:40am PDT

Completely dominated and derailed by Bonforte. I left early after he delivered an extended rant and it became obvious that no one else was going to be allowed to speak.

Roger Hampton
04/01/2011 4:47am PDT

I thought (one of) the panelists could have been more professional. I’d expect an executive to have more maturity in their language and attitudes. It’s unfortunate, because the content of what was said was actually great.

Picture of Jena M.
Jena M.
04/01/2011 3:47am PDT

This could have been a really great panel if Bonforte had let anyone else have their own opinion or speak for that matter! Moderation was definitely needed in this one! It was entertaining but not sure how much I got out of it.

Nate Bowler
04/01/2011 1:47am PDT

session could’ve used more moderation. Bonforte is funny, but alternative opinions and perspectives should’ve been given more airtime.

brian smith
03/30/2011 9:23am PDT

Most entertaining panel of the week, hands down. Lively, STRONG OPINIONS, very funny (Bonforte), irreverent and yes useful perspectives that were often divergent. Loved it. Looked around and not many distracted notebooks open. Refreshing panel.

Picture of Michael Krupit
Michael Krupit
03/30/2011 6:48am PDT

Session had a lot of potential. Four smart product managers on stage with good experience to share. Unfortunately, conversation was allowed to be dominated by one panelist and some useful messages got lost or mixed.

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