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What is working in fintech like? A day in the life of a Bolt product director

Matthew Low is a Director of Product at Bolt, a San Francisco checkout technology and payments fintech, working remotely out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He leads the core product team, which includes its checkout, payments, risk and data products. Low also worked on product in the crypto industry with Kraken, and spent much of his earlier career as a corporate attorney.

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6:00am. I’m usually up by now, with a young family at home. I work on my first cup of coffee and catch up on Slack messages, emails and industry news before the kids’ morning routine and drop off.
 

8:00am. Remote work has been a big plus in balancing both my work and personal life. I’ve been able to carve out more time for deep work/planning, and can work as early or as late as required. Bolt’s tech teams are focused more on outcomes and writing than talking and facetime.

 

9:00am. I’m an early riser and a big believer in ‘eating the frog’, so my mornings are usually dedicated to the biggest, hardest and most important tasks. I’ll dedicate most of my mornings to work related to planning, product strategy and development. 

 

11:00am, A number of my coworkers are on the West Coast, so I’ll usually pick up with the team over stand-ups or individually on 1:1s in the late morning and afternoon. Product engineering and design are connected at the hip, and we’re always communicating about immediate term issues and long-term product vision. Product is a multi-faceted role, so we also collaborate with Go-To-Market, operations, sales and other teams.

Without an in-office culture, working remotely requires communication to be direct, succinct and deliberate, whether on async channels like Slack or live via Zoom. It gives some separation from groupthink and allows more time for introspection over those communications.

 

12:00pm  Given how distributed our team is across time zones, I’ll graze through most of the day and have lighter working meals in the morning and afternoon between meetings. 

 

2:00pm Generally, my afternoons are spent addressing follow-up or open items in my product suite. I typically use this time to focus on more tactical deliverables and the meat and potatoes of leading a product team. As a director of product, I’m like a player-coach. I still get my hands dirty in leading our payments business, but I often have to zoom out and think more deeply about how our core products fit into Bolt’s broader vision.

I also spend a lot more time mentoring product managers, running product reviews and acting as a sounding board for our product team while they make tough product calls. Like in my early-career, these product managers are much more ‘in the weeds’, focusing more deeply on a specific features’ strategy and measuring its success in the finer details of its execution.

 

4:00pm I usually carve out about an hour in the afternoons for school pick up, allowing me to get away from my screen and spend some uninterrupted time with family before I wind up my day.

 

7:00pm  Finishing time varies somewhat from day to day, but I usually call it quits by 7pm. I end my days by clearing out my inbox and slack queue, then doubling back on any work that needs another review cycle.

 

7:15pm  One of the great benefits of being remote is the time saved from commuting. Since I work in my home office, I’ll usually head upstairs to either help with dinner, play, or read children’s books on repeat. We’ll sometimes go outside to run around in the park before dark, and I’ll usually get a Peloton ride in. After catching up on financial markets and getting some quality time with my wife, I hit the sack by 10.

 

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Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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