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Product Sense Question - for Goals Section

When we are talking about the goals in the product sense questions, I have seen material and mock interviews take 2 approaches,

  1. Tie the goal to the mission and keep it very macro level for e.g. connect as many doctors to patients , or apartment hunters to landlords, volunteers to non-profits etc. and
  2. define a metrics such as total # of transactions connecting doctors and patients, or total # of apartments found etc.

Which one is a better approach? Also, does defining a metric such early on increase the risk of pigeon holing the entire response on that metric?

Thanks for asking this question — very common issue to come up.

I recommend #1. A big, open-ended, aspirational goal rather than a metric. For Facebook in particular, I recommend the following: “Build community through X” (e.g. Build community through travel for a question about building a travel product)

It’s generally quite hard to define a metric without knowing more about the solutions and you’re right that it can easily pigeon hole you.


Thanks David that makes sense. Would you recommend that we tie this to a metric at some later point? Say in User needs or solution?

It’s generally not something that’s necessary. Sometimes if there’s extra time it might come up after walking through the framework (you might be asked how you would measure success) — however, generally talking about metrics is reserved to the execution interview.

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Update: added lessons to the Facebook course to clarify the goals section.

Super helpful, thank you so much! You have a great service here

Hi David,

I had trained myself to pick a metric to optimize along with an aspirational goal upfront that worked great for most Lyft related design questions.

This thread is helpful as I can understand that for more ambiguous questions at Facebook, picking a metric may pigeon hole you.

Would you recommend picking a metric to measure success (along with a goal) upfront for any design question in that case, even if the question prompt is e.g. -

  1. “Find X”, where X = Doctor, Tutor, Roommates, etc. - designing a product that provides some utility makes sense here thus having a transaction-based metric is fine?

  2. “Improve X”, where X = An existing Facebook product (especially utility-based product)?

Picking a metric does help later during prioritization.

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