IBMer Spotlight: Michael Ludden

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 5.30.44 PMWe grab a coffee with IBMers from around the world, and share our chat in this weekly spotlight series. This week you can meet Michael, from IBM US.

When I get up to go to work, I look forward to…
Coffee… is that pandering? (kidding) But seriously… coffee and then building bleeding edge technological solutions for developers 🙂

I am responsible for…
Oddly enough, building bleeding edge technological solutions for developers 😉 specifically with an eye towards enabling new developer populations with use-case-based solutions that leverage IBM technology and bring in new users of our developer facing platforms and services.

My typical day…
There is no typical day with what I do. Each day generally revolves around one of five things for me: 1. managing my team 2. building product 3. speaking at conferences 4. working with cross functional teams internally like engineering, marketing, other product managers etc. 5. working with developer facing partners externally to understand the needs of those developer populations.

The coolest part of my job is…
Getting to work on bleeding edge technologies like VR, AR, AI, blockchain and more.

The biggest challenge I have …
Managing my own schedule 😉

Most memorable moment in my career…
I don’t deal in absolutes, but a very big recent moment in my career that happened while at IBM was the release of the VR Speech Sandbox and the partnership with Ubisoft around the Watson-powered voice interaction system their studio Red Storm built for Start Trek: Bridge Crew, working with my team.

Top piece of career advice…
I get asked all the time “how did you get to where you are?” And, before I answer the question, I say that everyone’s path is different and you have to embrace the concept of forging your own, because my path will certainly not be your path, and there is an aspect of making yourself undeniable that you’ll need to embrace. You have to understand what your strengths & interests are, and remain true to that as you go along.

I guarantee you that studying Musical Theater at University and then being a cruise ship singer and a starving artist for years is not the typical path to becoming an experienced product manager working for a Fortune 500 company, and focusing on bleeding edge developer solutions. But it worked for me, and whatever career journey you’re on will likely be unique to you as well.

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