Orly Bulshtein, Senior Product Manager at Rapyd, on how to build a successful career in Product and Tech
The women who work at Rapyd are employed for their talent, not their gender. In this series of posts, we bring spotlight to some of our most inspirational female colleagues. This time we interviewed Orly Bulshtein, our Senior Product Manager, who told us about her passion for tech, her role at the company, and shared some of her tips for entering the industry and building a successful career in it.
Rapyd, the world’s largest payment network, allows businesses to accept global payments by locally preferred methods, embedding the complexities of cross border and local disbursements, and allowing companies to scale and grow. Technology is at the core of our solutions, and roughly half of our employees are software developers, engineers and architects.
Orly, you are a Senior Product Manager at Rapyd. What does your role involve?
I’m responsible for two of the Rapyd products — Digital Wallet and Foreign Exchange. Generally, my role is focused on two main areas: product planning and product execution.
Product planning includes finding out what customers want, defining product vision based on this information, and ensuring this vision aligns with company strategy.
Product execution is all about working with the engineering team to build innovative capabilities that are in line with the product planning.
A Product manager needs to wear multiple hats, be able to speak with internal and external stakeholders, be flexible and adaptable, switch contexts multiple times throughout the day.
My working day could consist of many different things: going over analytics, checking competitor products, talking with our marketing team about product positioning, liaising with the customer addressing their issues, answering questions of our sales team, writing product requirements, or reviewing requirements, planning the next release, prioritizing bugs and features, adjusting roadmap, reviewing the scenarios covered by testing to examine product functionality — all the different things that I do on a daily basis.
In this role every day is different, and that’s one of the things I love about it.
Do you need to be able to code? What was your experience towards becoming a Product Manager?
While I don’t need to code, it’s also beneficial to have some way of tech background — for instance, I’m a former software engineer, with over fifteen years of experience.
When I was 15–16 years old, I started learning Pascal, the programming language, and I fell in love with programming. I studied Computer Science at the university in Israel, and was lucky enough to land a role as a Database Developer in my final year. After I graduated I started a full-time position as a Java Developer. After that, I worked as a server-side developer for several start-ups over the course of 15 years.
In my last role before joining Rapyd, I was more exposed to clients, and had an opportunity to see how the product I was working on actually made their lives easier. I loved this part of my job, and realised there would be more opportunities to do this if I became a Product Manager. So I asked for my role to be changed within my company, which my employer gladly approved and I became a full-time official Product Manager.
What do you enjoy most about being a Product Manager at Rapyd?
The Product Manager role fits my personality, as I love action and diversity.
What excites me about Rapyd as a company is a huge impact it makes on the industry. Rapyd makes it quick and easy for our clients to integrate payments and fintech services into their apps, so that they can focus on their primary product and build their business in the most efficient way, without distractions.
Lastly, I enjoy being part of the fintech industry in general: it’s incredible to watch how quickly the payment ecosystem and payment methods evolve and become more and more complex and diversified.
How do you keep your skills up to date?
Everyone working in the tech world understands how important it is to keep up with the latest developments and trends — it would be so easy to get left behind.
To keep myself up to date, I read books, I listen to podcasts, such as ‘This is Product Management’, ‘The Product Podcast’. I also read blogs such as https://www.bringthedonuts.com/ and https://www.producttalk.org/, and generally immerse myself in the fintech world. It’s often difficult to stay up to date, because my day to day role and family keep me so busy, but I remind myself that I must carve out time to keep learning and be disciplined about it.
What’s been your personal experience and views on Diversity?
To be honest, I never felt that I’m treated or viewed differently because I’m a woman. I enjoy the same opportunities as men at Rapyd, and don’t feel either special treatment or exclusion. Our CEO at Rapyd has made it very clear that we’re not here because we’re women, to make up the numbers, but because we’re talented. To me, this is equality.
Overall there’s a lot of respect within the teams at Rapyd, regardless of gender. But diversity is beyond just gender — it’s the thinking and background, and context everyone brings to the table.
When you have a diverse team, there’s immediately more creativity and innovation. In Product teams, it’s especially true because the more points of view you can bring to the table, the more options you have, the better will be the ability of your Product to meet customer needs.
We often enjoy cross disciplinary brainstorming sessions, and the more diverse viewpoints we can bring to these, the more directions we can explore, then more we can learn. The important thing is that everyone works collaboratively and blends their skills.
Diverse companies also have better reputation, and diverse talents sometimes open doors to new markets, new fields, new niches. Collaboration is also much higher in diverse teams, people have more respect for each other. All of that eventually brings better results.
And how can we bridge the remaining gap and encourage more women to enter Tech roles in the future?
We need to focus on finding a better work / life balance — for both men and women. Juggling a career with the needs of a family is difficult, and we all need to join the conversation about how roles can be split more equally.
Besides that, I’ve been involved with recruiting for tech roles, and I’ve noticed that women are often expected to tick all boxes, whereas men get away with generally fitting the bill. More women might be encouraged to apply for tech roles if requirements weren’t so rigidly defined — if you have a natural aptitude for the role, everything else can be learned.
In tech, the masculine culture still prevails to some extent, so be aware of this. The industry can be competitive, and you need to be both independent and assertive. This doesn’t always sit well with women, as we’re not always encouraged to speak our minds.
I’d encourage women to stay true to themselves and refuse to accept a situation that’s not ideal. Change is possible, just take it in small steps, and find a great mentor who’s been in the industry for a long time and can guide you through it all.
I’d also urge women not to shy away from difficult or complex projects and roles, as you learn the most from these experiences. I have asked to be tasked with the hardest thing in the past, and I always benefit from the challenge.
How can parents encourage their daughters to consider a tech role?
As a mother of three kids, one boy and two girls, I believe we should be raising kids of both genders the same way, without directly mentioning or subtly showing gender stereotypes.
Tech is all about problem solving, which is gender agnostic. Anyone can develop the skills needed, so don’t let your own stereotypes hold you back.
I also think it’s important that we teach all kids it’s okay to make mistakes. Failures are part of the learning process — we can, and should, move on from them. Often, girls and young women feel they need to be perfect, and that’s far from true in tech. It’s all a learning curve.