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sydney

Sydney Russakov is a product manager & advisor focusing on creation & video

● currently open to remote or local work in the los angeles ca area

strategy

after nearly a decade of battle scars from the tech industry, i know how to build an impactful strategy. i love ambiguity -- let me spearhead your next 0-1 venture.

communication

from boardroom presentations to clear and impactful written messages, i excel at communicating with C-suite executives and my team alike.

leadership

i've cultivated strong leadership skills that resonate with a variety of personalities. my human-centered approach highlights collaboration and empowerment (while keeping it real).

domain expertise

with 8 years in the social and creator spaces, i hold a level of domain expertise and intuition that is hard to find. if you're looking for someone with a hyper-refined product sense for creators, i am your girl.

mentorship

sharing knowledge is one of the joys of product. whether within a team or through external networks, i'm committed to empowering the next generation of PMs. my inbox is always open.

a/b testing

testing and iterative development is at the heart of my product process. i work cross-functionally to concoct well-designed experiments that help us to move intelligently fast.

FAANG, startups & more

linkedin, posting for pages

0-1 strategy

2019

Posting was stagnant, there weren't native tools for companies to participate on the platform, and there was negative sentiment internally based on old research.

Through our initial launch & a speaking tour, I successfully championed this initiative, establishing Pages as a company priority moving forward. Today, it remains the foundation for enhanced company page participation on LinkedIn.

At LinkedIn, I led a strategic initiative to revamp company pages, unlocking organic engagement and introducing native tools for businesses. Our flagship feature, enabling companies to post directly from the main feed sharebox, drove a remarkable +55% year-over-year growth in key metrics.

This hefty 0-1 initiative required collaboration across several pillars of design, engineering, marketing, and data science, with myself serving as the Product Lead.  

universe, churn catching

startups

2023

Post-launch, we witnessed a double-digit increase in conversions from site deletion to creation, effectively mitigating churn and enhancing user engagement.

Doubling down on this hypothesis, I worked closely with engineering to expand on this idea of psychological safety, meticulously planning key backend work to unlock the ever-requested feature of undo/redo.

As a Product Lead at Universe, tackling user churn emerged as a top priority. Through comprehensive data analysis, I identified a critical pattern: users were abandoning the platform due to frustration and a lack of psychological safety, particularly when experimenting with tooling during their first few sessions.

To address this, I planned an experiment, collaborating closely with design and engineering teams. By introducing a "start over" option in the site deletion flow, coupled with offering new templates, we achieved remarkable results.

disney, streaming redesign

design thinking

2018

Some unique challenges of this project included the vast globalization of Disney’s audience, the different requirements of the various film imprints (Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel), and the desire to make the design language feel uniquely Disney. The deep qualitative research, as well as the thoughtful experiments conducted, made this a success.

One enduring lesson from this project is that while content reigns supreme, delivering a delightful user experience is paramount.

As a Product Manager at Disney, I led a user research-intensive redesign of DisneyLife, the precursor to Disney+.

Tasked with validating key hypotheses and establishing a globally resonant design language, I collaborated closely with visual designers, product designers, and global researchers to build requirements across mobile, web, and tvOS.

Let's work together

tea is always welcome

i'm a sucker for hot water

I find myself continually drawn to the intersection of entertainment and technology, creators, and social. I like to nerd-out on the “democratization of content creation” (yes, really) and will never turn down a conversation about the ethics of social media.

Whether it’s advising the next big startup or joining one myself, I’m motivated by smart companies built by even smarter and kinder people. If that sounds like you, my inbox is always open.

As a kid, I was hugely into three things: my cats, hockey, and computers. Cats taught me to respect boundaries, hockey taught me how to be myself in a male-dominated sport, and computers taught me… that computers are fun. As I got to college, I still loved my cats, stopped playing hockey (injury), but hadn’t yet realized that working with computers was going to be part of my career. After the support of a couple amazing professors my senior year and a chance introduction, I found myself strolling onto the Disney lot to work on a mysterious new product.

It took no more than two months for me to absolutely fall in love with product management. The problems to solve and the diverse set of people to solve them with make this job one I didn’t even know I was dreaming of as a kid.

product management

(c) 2024 all rights reserved sydney russakov

sydney russakov  is a product lead working across streaming, social media & creator tools for companies like disney, linkedin, and evernote. she's involved in and an advocate for several efforts including women in tech, education, and animal rights.