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#6: How Angel Gonzalez Built a Portfolio of Y-Combinator Side Projects to Pivot into Product Marketing

interview pivot product marketing May 17, 2021
Carer Hacker Secrets Podcast


Inside the Episode

In this episode, I introduce speaker Angel Gonzalez, and we talk about how he went from an accounting major unsure of where he was going to a product marketing manager at Linkedin. This company hires less than 1% of all applicants

Angel was a man on a mission. He shares about his process of figuring out what he wanted and then how he got it. And just a teaser, it involved Y-combinator, but not in the way you would think.


Knowing what you really want.

On his journey, after college, Angel ended up in sales. Along with other skills, soul searching came up quite a bit.

“In every sales rep’s career, at the end of each quarter, there's always some soul searching because it's a very stressful time.” - Angel. 


Questions to ask yourself to start on the right career trajectory while you are soul searching:

  • Getting started:
    • What are you good at? 
    • What have you always excelled in naturally?
    • What are the core habits that you have always had, even as a child? 
    • How do you process problems? 
    • How do you communicate with others? Do you like communicating with others? 
  • While on the path:
    • Is this the right path for me? 
    • Is what I'm doing right now to add value to what I'm going to want to do down the line eventually? 
    • Am I learning? 

“Are you capturing some information that you can use moving forward? If you are, then you should be proud of yourself.” - Angel. 


Intuition first, then set your goal.

Ready to learn more about the right balance of intuition and goal setting to get what you want? With Angel, we discuss what that looks like and dig deeper into how to think about what you want and why. 

“You can trust your gut, and you can get to where you want to be if you're very stern with what you want” - Angel.


Why take the “right-now” job?

Angel wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, and I wanted to go into consulting, but after six months of struggling and then finally figuring out how to land interviews, a sales manager role at Dell seemed like a great idea. 

The “right-now” job serves a purpose. 

Typically, its purpose is to pay the bills, but it can also be the learning opportunity to propel us into the “right” job. 

For Angel, and myself, this was sales. Both of us found that Sales gave us invaluable communication skills and the ability to face rejection head-on. Sales is an intense and stressful environment. This is where I learned the importance of tracking daily habits. It’s a numbers game. Angel found himself soul searching quite a bit, helping him plan for what was next.


Where you are now does not need to predict your trajectory. 

We are taught that career paths are linear, but they are anything but that. This is because the current rate of change in our world creates new opportunities and new technologies that transform how we work. The predictable aspect of your career is that you can’t predict where you will be in 20 years. We can use this to our advantage to build our dream lives. The rule book must be thrown out the window.  

Fast-forward a few years; now we have the right jobs.

Angel is a product marketer at LinkedIn, and I am the Global Director of Product Marketing at one of the hottest startups in Europe. When I started college in 2006, product marketing wasn’t a common profession. Now, top MBA grads are competing for these roles. For both Angel and me, Sales was necessary to experience to get us into our current positions. While where you are at right now may not feel ideal, you can’t predict how it will benefit you in the future. 





00:00 - Intoducing Ángel González 

03:25 - Ángel’s background: From accounting to product marketing

04:40 - What inspired you to pivot? Being intentional

07:23 - From sales to product marketing

09:28 - Finding the right path in your career: Balancing logic and intuition

10:11 - Leveraging sales tactics to advance your career

12:11 - Going through the toughest moments and being humbled

14:44 - The next step: A strategy to grow your portfolio

17:40 - How to prepare for interviews: Develop and pitch your experiences

20:25 - Positioning yourself to negotiate your salary when you are starting: Leverage your network

22:20 - How to build your network: Don’t assume. Just reach out

25:05 - Getting the job: Be stern with what you want

28:01 - Handling the new position: Soaking up all the information and getting a mentor

29:21 - How to find a mentor

31:00 - Be in a position where you are learning

32:15 - What’s next

32:44 - Advice for people who want to pivot

35:06 - Where to find out more


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