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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

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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

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