airfocus-logoProduct Heroes
About airfocus
Ken Norton

Ken Norton

Product Management Coach @ Bring the Donuts
Ken Norton is a full time product management coach, speaker, and startup advisor. Ken spent more than fourteen years at Google where he led product initiatives for Google Docs, Google Calendar and Google Mobile Maps.

Ken Norton - Product Management Coach - Bring the Donuts

airfocus eBook All You Need To Know About Product Management
Get our All You Need To Know About Product Management eBook
Read now

Who is Ken Norton?

Ken Norton is a well-known Product Management Coach and Advisor, having first started writing about product management back in 2005.

Norton stepped into product management coaching full-time in 2020 after an impressive fourteen-year stint at Google. Ken contributed to some of the tech giant’s biggest initiatives during his tenure, but he also spent a long time at GV — a Google venture capital unit. According to Ken, he always knew he would “leave Google for a job that called to him”. 

Rewinding further: Ken began his career as a software engineer, but soon took to entrepreneurship as the founding CTO of Snap. Afterward, he moved to Yahoo and from there to JotSpot and then Google. 

Ken is a highly-regarded speaker and writer — and for good reason. His unique style and enjoyable quips make his PM talks and articles not only super useful but a pleasure to read and watch too.

What is Ken Norton known for?

Norton’s most high-profile product role has to be his time at Google. For fourteen years, he worked on a range of Google products, from Google Docs and Google Calendar, to Google Mobile Maps.

You may have come across Ken on the conference circuit as well. Norton’s fun, engaging and informative presentations on Product Management have earned him speaker slot after speaker slot. You can find him at dedicated product events, as well as universities and other companies all over the world.

What is Ken Norton's advice for product managers?

Ken tells Product Managers to “bring the donuts”. Sounds delicious, right? But what does it mean?

Essentially, he means doing what’s necessary for the product and team — even if it’s not the most glamorous, heroic or rewarding task on the list. In his own words, “[PMs] put their teams first, they do what needs to be done, and they demonstrate that every day”.

Another lesson Ken swears by is the “10x Not 10%” rule. This challenges PMs to innovate 10x more, no matter how big the risks. Why? Because settling with 10% means taking the obvious, safe, path — the one that everyone else is on, too.

Where can you learn more about Ken Norton?

You can learn more about — and from — Ken Norton by browsing through his website and LinkedIn. There, you’ll find a full account of his professional background, plus several articles filled with useful and fun-to-read insights for PMs and businesses. 

Ken also curates a semi-regular, product-focused email newsletter. Sign up for (occasional) bulletins from the worlds of product, design, and entrepreneurship.

General FAQ

Who is Ken Norton?
Ken Norton is a full-time Product Management Coach and Advisor. He also worked at Google for fourteen years, overseeing several divisions as a Product Lead. His decades of product management experience make him an engaging speaker at global conferences, too.
What is Bring the Donuts?
The scope of a Product Management Coach and Advisor is about as broad as the world of product management itself. According to Ken Norton, his services cover individual objectives — such as career planning and work/life integration — as well as organizational initiatives, like hiring, long-term planning, and improving product strategy.
What does “Bring the donuts” mean?
“Bring the donuts” is a catchphrase coined by Ken Norton. With it, he encourages Product Managers to do whatever it takes to help their teams succeed — even if it’s low-key and non-self-serving. He debuted the analogy during a talk at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and it’s now become a core part of his personal branding and professional philosophy.

Curated resources from Ken Norton

crop
How to Hire a Product Manager
Growth
Inspiration
Product Management
crop (1)
10x Not 10% - Product management by orders of magnitude
Data-Driven
Innovation
Product Management
Books For Product Managers
Books for Product Managers
Books
Career
Product Management

You might also be interested to see

Anthony Murphy
Association of Product Professionals
Anthony Murphy
Director
Shaw Li
Cornell Tech
Shaw Li
Product Coach
Pradip Khakhar
The Product Angle
Pradip Khakhar
Founder
Marc Abraham
ASOS
Marc Abraham
Head of Product

A curated bi-weekly roundup of
learnings
to build better products

It's hard to cut through the clutter of PM Content. We select top stories about tactics,
tools and innovations from product management thought-leaders. Level-up in
5 minutes, once every two weeks on this page or get it sent to your inbox.
Top rated
on major review platforms
g2 badge users love us
g2 badge leader summer
GetApp badge category leader
software advice badge
capterra shortlist badge
proddy badge roadmapping
crozdesk badge
Company
All rights reserved. contact@airfocus.com
ENDE