Ankur Sharma - Vice President of Product and Engineering @perkbox, ex-Goibibo, Housing

Hi I am Ankur Sharma!

Professionally, I am a Vice President of Product & Engineering at Perkbox which is a Global Rewards & Benefits SaaS company with users in 45+ countries. I have more than 16 years of leadership experience in building and scaling global, self-service businesses and technology products.

I am adept at forming and nurturing high-performing teams around product vision targeting growth, engagement, conversion and revenue OKRs (Objective & Key Results). I have built several multi-million products some of which now have more than 50 million installs on Android and are continuing to cruise comfortably at 15 million monthly active users.

Outside of work, I read, write and mentor young Product Managers and advice companies. I like meeting new people over a cup of coffee/Zoom. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @ankurdinesh

What does your typical day look like?

I start my day by journaling on the 5 minutes journal app. It uses the positive psychology and gratitude framework and allows me to clear my mind. I then end up reading a book for 30 to 60 minutes and going for a walk before helping my 7-year-old to get ready for school.

At work, I usually plan for the office for a week on Sunday evening at 6 pm by splitting the list into Must-Do and Lazy-List. That helps me focus on a daily basis and within 10 minutes I am usually up and running attending meetings with customers or teams, after looking at matrices.

Why did you choose to become a product manager? How do you see things differently than the rest?

I accidentally got into Product Management while working with Travelocity. I used to be a developer then and a new team was being formed for the first time in Bangalore, India around Product Managers. I spoke to my manager and my mentor and realized that considering my domain knowledge, applying for the product manager role was a calculated risk worth taking. You have to understand that this was the late 2000s when product management was not exactly a in-thing! Perhaps there were only 2 companies, Yahoo and Intel had product management roles in India at that point.

I believe my ability to stay paranoid (but not cynical) when everything around me was going good made me a perfect person for this role because I would always have a Plan B for Plan A and not take anything at its face value.

What's the one thing that you absolutely love about your job?

Every day is different and unpredictable! I love learning and this role is perfect for philomaths like me. Product Management allows you to be surrounded with the smartest people from whom you can learn something new everyday, provided you ask.

We are going through a really interesting time, building a Global Rewards and Benefits platform at

Global Employee Benefits and Rewards Platform | Perkbox
Harmonise your employee benefits and rewards globally. Provide benefits, support wellbeing and create a culture of recognition to boost employee engagement.

It has never been done before in the location-agnostic form, the way we are doing. It is so cool to listen to employers and help them retain their employees across the borders.

An unrelated aspect of the work has been mentoring and coaching a team that is truly smarter than me, so I get to learn every day from them. is operating in a space that is extremely relevant with “the great resignation” debate raging across the world with small & large organizations struggling with it. Today employees don’t just want employers to listen to them, but to truly hear them, recognize them, celebrate them and reward them, no matter which part of the world they are in. It has never been so pertinent as it is now. Being remote doesn’t solve it, instead exacerbates it!

As an employee myself, it is a matter close to my heart.

Do you follow any product/prioritization frameworks when making decisions? If yes, what are some of the top frameworks that you recommend, and why?

I follow the following Tenets or Guiding principles that helps resolve the tug of war between stakeholders and I make sure I communicate them repetedly to reinforce them:

  • Priority is decided by the business case and not by whoever comes up with
  • Priorities are not set in stone. New data points emerge and that can change the priorities. It can be unsettling for PMs and developers but it is very important to understand that we work in a fast pace industry and if we will not do it, customers will leave and go to our competitors
  • It is okay to say no to the customer and/or to the stakeholder if we have data to back it up or if it doesn’t align with the company's priorities. Else in order to not disappoint anyone, we will end up disappointing everyone. So you need to have the backbone to say no by quantitatively or qualitatively assessing it.
  • If stakeholders don’t agree with the priorities, they should disagree and commit. The prioritization needs to happen via collaboration but not necessarily via consensus. Prioritization is not democracy

Using these tenets, you can use any tool, to force prioritize.

What’s the one tool you couldn’t do your job without, and which very people know about?

I swear by my Kindle. I have been using Kindle since 2010 and now have two of them which I use to read.

Apart from that, there is a good old, Google spreadsheet, which I can’t live without!

What's something that you learned/realized recently in your work journey that you wish you knew earlier?

I wish I knew earlier that yes, there are stupid questions. Since then, I have trained myself to ask effective questions.

What's the one mistake you've done and will advise others not to repeat?

Build transparency across the stakeholders and amongst customers via writing. Write to think, not just to communicate. I realized the power of writing to think too late in my career. It has been a game changer.

What are some of your biggest inspirations that help you get up and do your best work?

Great NPS comments and happy teammates! There is no better joy than that in life.

What would you recommend to people who want to start their careers in your space?

  • Do whatever it takes to learn: Don’t wait for a title to be a Product Manager or an Engineering Manager. Start owning the narrative. Start saying Yes to things that come your way. Make notes in the meetings where you can get visibility and knowledge.
  • Read as much as you can: Read long-form and books. They travel in your blood and brain through osmosis.
  • Learn to prototype and tell stories. They both will help you build narratives

Any new companies you know of that you think are going to make a big difference, which we should keep an eye on?

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