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Meet the Trulian: Gaurav Hardikar

A Series to Connect You to the Trulians Behind the Magic

Today’s “Meet the Trulian” features Gaurav Hardikar. Gaurav is a senior product manager with the Trulia Rentals team, and got his start at Trulia in 2014 as a product analyst. Read on to learn more about Gaurav and his move into product management.

What’s your role at Trulia?
I’m a senior product manager for Trulia Rentals, focusing on user engagement and retention. Meaning, I work with the team here to create new product features and improve on the current experience to ensure that we’re helping renters quickly and easily find the rental of their dreams. I also work on both mobile and traditional desktop products, with the goal of delivering consistently great experiences across all platforms.

What inspired you to get into your role?
I initially joined Trulia as a product management analyst, and was covering three different business units. As I got deeper into the data and the product, I learned I had a knack for product and understanding consumer needs. At the same time, I had my bases covered with good technical and data analysis skills, since I had experience in programming and in consulting before becoming an analyst. These different roles helped me easily get into my current role as a product manager, and it’s turned out to be the perfect job for me, especially since I get to balance my strategy and analysis skills with my technical skills.

What was your dream job growing up and why?
My dad is an engineer and works with software, and I’ve always looked up to him, so I wanted to be a computer engineer. However, that changed as I got older and got more interested in the business side of things. Lucky for me though, I ended up finding a role that balances both! It’s funny how things can work out.

If you could have drinks with one tech luminary – dead or alive – whom would it be and why? And, what would your first question be?
Bill Gates. He was the one who had the goal of placing a PC on every single desk, and he accomplished that vision through his software distribution strategy for Windows. To me, that is the greatest accomplishment in tech in the past 30 years because it allowed the rest of the technology industry to explode, and nothing, not even the iPhone, could have been possible without it. My first question would be: “When you saw Microsoft influence decline in the tech industry after your departure as CEO, what actions did you take as Chairman to change them, and where do you think you should have taken a tougher stance?”

What’s the one gadget or personal tech item you cannot live without and why?
I’m sure this is most people’s answer, but the smartphone (in my case, the iPhone). As a product manager, it basically becomes the one thing you can’t live without.

What was the last movie you saw or book you read and what – if anything – would you change about the ending?
The last movie I saw was “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” As a pretty hardcore Star Wars fan, I would say I was pretty disappointed in the movie for its lack of originality and ease of predictability. With all of the Star Wars fiction that has been written in the last 20-30 years, I would have thought that they would have made it less of a “New Hope” remake and actually made it into a original film. As for the ending, maybe they could have made Luke look less like a modern day Obi-Wan Kenobi (ha-ha!)?

What’s your proudest accomplishment and why?
During my first year on the Trulia Rentals team, I was the only product manager, and Trulia Rentals has always been seen as the “startup” within the Trulia org. So, I would say my proudest professional accomplishment is helping grow the Rentals team into what it is today, which is having a sizable impact on Trulia’s overall success.

If you could master one talent or skill that you don’t have now what would it be and why?
I am planning to (and currently working on) getting back into programming. I think understanding programming is essential to success as a product manager. It helps you better understand the technical side of your product, and it can really help you communicate your needs to your engineering counterparts as well.

If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?
It would absolutely be time travel. I’ve always been really into history and have always wanted to see what the ancient civilizations actually had in terms of technology. Sometimes I wonder if we’re really all that advanced…

If you could time travel, would you go into the future or past and why?
Again, I’m very interested in history of all cultures, and I’ve always been interested in ancient history specifically, so I’d go into the past. I think the first thing I would do is visit the ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, Indus Valley, and Chinese civilizations to really see how accurate our history books are. I have this feeling that they had a lot more advancement than we think, and all of that has just been lost in the sands of time.