fbpx

EXPLORE OUR

Hitting the right note: Meet Daria Gassanova, Product Manager at Kobalt Music

Daria Gassanova, Product Manager at Kobalt Music

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Daria Gassanova shares how she recently moved from Ukraine, due to the war, and became a product manager at Kobalt music.

About Daria: 7+ years as a Product Manager / Business Analyst, 10+ years of work experience in the music industry. My two biggest passions always coexisted separately, until I joined Kobalt Music! Born and raised in Ukraine, I recently moved to Britain due to the war.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER JOURNEY AND HOW YOU CAME TO WORK AT KOBALT MUSIC.

Choosing a single path was always hard for me, as I get inspired by so many things! The moment I got my Marketing degree, I aspired to have a meaningful job that actually makes a difference.

I was working as a music manager and journalist for several years when I got curious about IT. Needless to say, there were a lot of concerns about switching my career. Was I supposed to get a maths degree first? Can creative people do the analysis? Do I have enough skills?

However, the world of startups fascinated me. I started as a Junior Business Analyst, assisting with discovery phases and requirements elicitation. This journey brought me through several IT consulting companies and helped to grow professionally up to the Product Manager level. My dream came true: I participated in the creation of healthcare, fintech, and entertainment solutions for companies in the UK, USA, Norway, Malaysia, and more. These projects indeed made a difference.

In my spare time, I kept on participating in projects to evolve the Ukrainian music industry. Since 2018 I became a co-founder of an independent initiative called Music Export Ukraine, which supports emerging artists on the international scene.

On February 24, 2022, my whole life was changed due to the beginning of the war in Ukraine. I had to move to Britain to keep my family safe. Starting from scratch, I had to evaluate all of my core beliefs and plans. I came up with a list of things that still inspire me – both technology and music were there. That’s how I knew it was the right time to search for a music tech company and shortly joined Kobalt Music.

WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE WORKDAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? 

In brief, I’m making sure that both business and tech teams are on the same page in terms of vision and product progress. That happens through a variety of activities: discovery phases, brainstorming, market research, calls with subject matter experts, and more. Each day is somehow different.

My main artifact is the product roadmap, so a lot of activities are connected to it. Since it’s an evolving document, I need to make sure that the priorities are always relevant and that there’s enough justification for each item to be in place. I’m also participating in team ceremonies – daily meetings, grooming, etc. It’s good to stay grounded by the Agile rhythm.

Despite my background in music, I’m actually rediscovering the world of music publishing and spending some time learning more about it. I also have a great line manager and a team that guides me through the core processes to get acquainted with them more quickly.

ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC SKILLS OR TRAITS THAT YOU NOTICE COMPANIES LOOK FOR WHEN YOU’RE SEARCHING FOR ROLES IN PRODUCT?

I strongly believe in soft skills, in particular attention and curiosity. There are a lot of skills you can learn, but natural traits come first in this area. Regardless of the domain, you need to be ready to dig deep, make questions, and don’t take anything for granted.

I like to think that my profession is actually a detective. You need to perform root-cause analysis, identify pain points, collect justification, connect the dots and carefully think of the consequences. On the next level, you need to be ready for business and tech speaking “different languages” – so get ready to be a good mediator between these two sides.

HOW DO YOU THINK DIVERSITY CAN IMPACT PRODUCT DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT? 

I personally adore diverse environments since they always bring different perspectives and ideas around every topic. It was a very important aspect for me when choosing Kobalt Music. I had to make sure they were inclusive and open regardless of their country of origin, gender, health condition, etc. Pleased to work in a diverse team where everyone is contributing while staying their true selves.

WHAT MAKES A ROLE IN PRODUCT GREAT FOR SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T HAVE PURE CODING SKILLS? 

One of the reasons I love the tech sphere, it has defined roles that complement each other. Imagine you’re on a ship and every team member knows their responsibilities. There has to be someone who has a map, knows where to go, and why are we sailing in the first place. This is the task of a Product Manager.

You don’t need to have coding skills to be a PM, but you absolutely need to educate yourself to keep up with conversation and understand tech nuances that come along the way. I strongly believe that anyone with good motivation can do it.

HAS ANYONE EVER TRIED TO STOP YOU FROM LEARNING AND DEVELOPING IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE, OR HAVE YOU FOUND THE TECH SECTOR SUPPORTIVE? 

I find it generally supportive. The Tech sector is rapidly changing, so there’s no end point in self-education. It’s hard to embrace at the beginning, but it really humbles you. I personally have a list of things I would like to get a better understanding of or even complete a certification. Some skills can be applied straight away, others require time. Either way, it’s one of the best investments in the future one can make.

I’m also happy to be surrounded by great professionals who have been working for Kobalt for many years. Despite their impressive background, they’re still very open to new learning opportunities and daily remind me that there’s no such thing as a stupid question! 🙂

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER, SO FAR?

Working in the music tech domain! Every day I pinch myself because both of my biggest passions are finally combined. I feel like all of my projects in both fields have led me there and I’m happy to bring my best values to the table.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER WOMEN WANTING TO REACH THEIR CAREER GOALS?

Be brave. It’s never too early or too late to begin something new or end something that doesn’t feel right. Most importantly, if you can dream of it, you can make it.

LEARN MORE ABOUT A CAREER AT KOBALT MUSIC

CAREER BUILDING RESOURCES
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL
RELATED CONTENT
RELATED CATEGORIES
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY

RELATED ARTICLES

In an era of rapid technological advancement, the tech industry leads in innovation and growth. Here, Sheila Flavell CBE, COO of FDM Group, discusses the...
Join us for a captivating discussion as we delve into the world of tech at Dunelm with two remarkable women from the company's tech department....
Discover how Capco's #BYAW movement is revolutionizing workplace culture, empowering individuals to embrace authenticity and driving innovation through diversity and inclusion.
Meet Isabelle Tucker, Founder and Creative Director of Klioh Studio. Isabelle is advocate for empowerment in the workplace and a modern work culture. She is...