One Knight in Product
This is a podcast for people interested in building or designing tech products.
At least once a week, I speak to product managers, product leaders, product marketers, UX professionals, and anyone else involved in product management and product delivery. Come and listen to some great conversations and get inspired!
An interview with Brendan McAdams. Brendan is a long time Enterprise SaaS salesman and author of "Sales Craft", a book he hopes will help salespeople and even tech founders get better at selling their products. Brendan is keen to stand up for the sales team, the value they add to customer relationships, and work out how we can make sure sales & product teams can work together more effectively. We speak about a lot, including: His book Sales Craft and how he wanted to write a very practical book to help to take the mystery out of sales The tension between sales & product management, some of the ways the sales team can bridge the gap, and why sales is a team sport Why it's important for salespeople to avoid Columbo "One More Thing" features and how they have to be prepared to walk away from a deal The problems with salespeople being prepared to go out, promise anything the client asks for and dumping a bag of manure on the product team's desk Why sales is like poker, having to play the hand you've been dealt, and how empowering it can be to say to no to a request you can't serve How sales discovery intersects with product discovery, the importance of getting product people into the field, and whether salespeople have a wide enough view of the market What Product-Led Growth means to him as a salesperson, and whether he thinks it's applicable to all stages of a product And much more! Buy Sales Craft "Sales Craft isn't like most sales books. It isn't proposing a new sales process or a system to 10X your income. Instead, it offers up a series of simple but thought-provoking tips and ideas about how to enhance your sales effectiveness." Visit Amazon or Goodreads for more info. Contact Brendan You can find Brendan on BrendanMcAdams.com or Twitter
38 min 20 sec
Trigger warning: Please be aware that this episode contains references to domestic abuse An interview with Eva PenzeyMoog. Eva is a designer and former volunteer rape crisis counselor, who wants to encourage us all to consider the harm that we may be inadvertently causing through our product design decisions. She's the author of new book "Design for Safety" as well as the founder of the Inclusive Safety Project. We speak about a lot, including: The core message of her new book, Design for Safety, and some of the surprising feedback she has gotten so far Whether there has been any negative feedback for the book from people who don't want to admit that there is any problem at all How difficult it was to research the book, the importance of validating survivors of abuse and ensuring they can share on their terms Some of the most common low-hanging fruit that people should look at in their products to start making them safer for users Whether responsibility for the harm caused by products belongs to the teams building them or the company leaders reaping the rewards How product teams can do a safety audit and start to bake safety into their ongoing product design processes How to help product design teams get into the habit of sensitively interviewing the right people to understand the safety implications of their products Whether there's any hope for big tech firms to self-regulate or whether governmental regulation is the only way And much more! Buy Design for Safety "'How will our product hurt people?' As web workers, we don’t often ask this question—but we should. Too often, we design for idealized circumstances, even though our users bring a range of complicated personal dynamics to every interaction. When we fail to explicitly design for vulnerable users, we unintentionally prioritize their abusers. Eva PenzeyMoog explains how even the most well-intentioned design can be weaponized for interpersonal harm. Through poignant, all-too-common examples, Eva demonstrates how to identify a design’s potential for abuse, how to avoid and mitigate the damage, and how to bake safety into every step of the design process. We can’t build good digital products unless we recognize that our users’ safety, and lives, are at stake." Visit the book website for more info. If you need further resources on safety If you want to learn more about some of the issues raised in this episode or in the book, Eva has curated a list of resources for designing for safety & related topics. Contact Eva You can find Eva at The Inclusive Safety Project or Twitter
39 min 9 sec
An interview with Ian Peterman. Ian is the CEO at Peterman Design Firm, where he aims to help design more sustainable & ethical products. He's also trying to bring this thinking to the world with his podcast and new book, both called Conscious Design. He's also created the Peterman Method, aiming to put a process around the principles and ensure we leave legacies we can be proud of. We speak about a lot, including: The goals behind Peterman Design Firm, the problems they solve & why they lean towards physical products How being a very ethically focused company impacts the types of clients they attract and whether they have to turn anyone down The importance of enabling companies to take baby steps rather than limiting your impact by only focusing on companies that want to go all in Why he & his wife decided to write the Conscious Design book, and how their different professional backgrounds contributed to the thinking inside it What Conscious Design is, and how the four pillars of Conscious Design enable us to assess the environmental & social impact of our products The Peterman Method that he created and how it enables Conscious Design by putting a process on top of the pillars Why it's important for companies to be conscious of the legacy the they create for their product, their brand and the impact they have on the world And much more! Buy Conscious Design "If you are building products and brands with regeneration and sustainability in mind, we appreciate you! We hope this book will give you some ideas on how to implement Conscious Design by using the Peterman Method with your own project." Visit the book website for more info. Listen to the Conscious Design podcast If you have any time after listening to all of my episodes, why not try out Conscious Design Podcast and find out more about Ian's work? Contact Ian You can find Ian on Peterman Design Firm or LinkedIn
35 min 40 sec
An interview with Radhika Dutt. Radhika is a product leader, consultant & author of "Radical Product Thinking". I spoke to Radhika a couple of months ago about some of the core themes of her book but we wanted to deep dive into some of her themes around digital pollution, product ethics, and how to take responsibility for the changes our products bring to the world. We speak about a lot, including: The reception for Radical Product Thinking, what people are taking from the book, and how it's resonated with people around the world How polarising it was to include a section on digital ethics in the book, and how a Silicon Valley heavyweight refused to write a foreward because of it The types of digital pollution, how they manifest themselves, what to look for in your own products and how it's not just about Big Tech How the free market "prisoners' dilemma" means that companies prioritise profit over all else and some of the ways we might persuade people to move to more ethical jobs Whether it's ok for tech companies to paint themselves as dumb pipes with no responsibility for the effects of their platforms Whether there's any hope to get companies to do the right thing, or whether the only answer is aggressive regulation to get companies to take this seriously The importance of the Product Hippocratic Oath and how we as product people need to take responsibility for the effects of our products And much more! Buy Radical Product Thinking "Iteration rules product development, but it isn't enough to produce dramatic results. This book champions Radical Product Thinking, a systematic methodology for building visionary, game-changing products." Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Listen to Radhika's last episode We covered some of the broader themes from Radhika's book in our first episode Episode 82 - Curing Product Diseases with a Radical Product Vision. Contact Radhika You can find Radhika on Twitter or LinkedIn
39 min 10 sec
An interview with Gabriele Musella. Gabriele is the CEO of Coinrule, a YCombinator backed startup that aims to democratise crypto trading and enable people to set up their own automations to manage their investments for them. He's also created the DDDT framework to drive product decision-making and bring design thinking to the crypto space. We speak about a lot, including: The idea behind Coinrule, the rise of automated crypto trading and whether automated trading is as high pressure as it looks in the movies Why being unregulated was a great way to build a trading startup and what the future might look like for crypto regulation Whether Coinrule is actually using blockchain technology itself, and whether this would have any benefit for them as a company How much of a crypto-fundamentalist he is, how he sees the space developing, and how blockchain energy usage chimes with his eco awareness His experience with YCombinator, what he got out of the process apart from money, and how he learned to "prioritise like hell" How Coinrule build products, the DDDT process he created and how it allows the company to Discover, Define, Design and Test products How they talk to at least 100 users a month and built a culture of user research, and what it's like doing user research with such a passionate community His mentorship work with Google Launchpad and how he's aiming to help early stage startups understand how to do UX better And much more! Contact Gabriele You can contact Gabriele on Twitter or coinrule.com.
33 min 57 sec
An interview with Daniel Cooper. Daniel is an automation nerd and founder of Lolly Co, a company that aims to help founders of growing companies unlock growth through automation and enabling them to focus human effort on things that humans are best at. He's also the author of the upcoming book "Upgrade" that aims to bring these techniques to the world. We speak about a lot, including: The story behind Lolly Co, the problems they solve, and why process optimisation & automation is crucial for a scaling business The similarities between their consultative work and good product discovery. The importance of focusing on the goal, not the technology The importance of getting in early, working with founders, and enabling them to break through their growth ceiling to scale Why it's important to have processes, but not too much process, to make sure you can operate effectively The reason that he's doing this via consultancy rather than building a self-serve SaaS platform How the No Code craze has affected his work, whether his clients still need him or are actually prepared to build everything themselves His new book "Upgrade", coming out imminently, which aims to take some of the principles from his work to the masses And much more! Check out Upgrade "Like me, if you run a business then one thing is for sure - you're spinning a lot of plates. But, what if I could show you how to automate them and scale the number you can spin? Together let's put your business under the microscope and explore the strategies and techniques traditionally reserved for Silicon Valley and apply them to your business." Visit the book website. Contact Daniel You can contact Daniel on Twitter or check out his company at Lolly Co.
33 min 31 sec
An interview with Anthony Marter. Anthony is a product & delivery consultant who is passionate about helping New Zealand companies build products more effectively by intercepting them at the right time to deliver change. He's taken his passion for the local product community into Product Aotearoa, a community aiming to support product practices across New Zealand. We speak about a lot, including: How he aims to use his consulting to "help influence companies on how they do product management at the right moment" and make sure the New Zealand product community are supported How Product Aotearoa got started, the mission behind it, and why it's important for the organisation to make some noise globally to attract speakers The current state of Māori and Pasifika inclusion within the New Zealand tech scene, the lack of product role models in these communities, and how he's trying to help bridge the gap The lack of product management leadership at the exec table in New Zealand, and how this has driven the trend for CPOs without product management backgrounds The problem with management-led feature definition, and how many New Zealand companies are just have product owners managing backlogs in feature factories, with no say on strategy Some of the ways he uses his consulting to try to sell the benefits of being product-led to sceptical company leaders to drive change The importance of product discovery and ensuring that companies stay ahead of the curve by taking HIPPOs along for the ride The problems with sales-led product development & services mindset, and how to drive change by using data to connect outcomes with non-product execs And much more! Contact Anthony You can contact Anthony on Twitter or LinkedIn.
38 min 15 sec
An interview with Anna Curzon. Anna is the Chief Product Officer at Xero, with long experience in business strategy & digital transformation. She's also a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council, appointed by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Anna is passionate about creating a good working culture, and driving for diverse teams and working practices to support that goal. We speak about a lot, including: The origin story of Xero, how it came from the founder having a problem he couldn't solve, and how he started a company to solve it How they had to fire themselves as Xero users as they scaled out of their own target market, and how they stay in touch with customers How she moved from her career in banking into disruptive tech and how she was always "the freak in the phone book" The parallels between her original passion for anthropology & understanding humans has translated into her day-to-day work How she developed a passion for product management & how she approached her move into a CPO job without any direct product management experience Whether she had any pushback when taking over a team of product managers, and the approaches she's taken to be seen as just one of the team The importance of diversity on the teams and why people should be able to bring their true selves to work How they've managed to keep the Xero culture going and nurture it through massive scaling and acquisitions And much more! Contact Anna You can contact Anna on Twitter or LinkedIn.
37 min 36 sec
An interview with Peter Johnston & Matt Breuer. Peter is the founder & CEO of new professional social network Polywork. Matt joined as Product Director and employee #9. They talk about the vision for Polywork, the pain points it was designed to overcome, the way they're building it as a team, and how to avoid HIPPO syndrome. We speak about a lot, including: The motivations behind Polywork, how it differs from other professional networking sites, and how they aim to "go beyond the job title" The personal pain points and collaboration issues that started the idea of Polywork and how it's more than just a reaction to LinkedIn How the dynamics work between a senior product professional & a vision-driven founder in an early stage startup and the importance of disagreeing but committing as a team How to manage upwards as a product leader, and tackle HIPPO disagreements by doing the product management work to validate your arguments The discovery work they did up front to turn the initial vision into a tangible product and the importance of thinking about the fundamental job to be done Whether they are worried about being a lockdown flash in the pan and suffering a collapse in user numbers post-pandemic The importance of maintaining focus for startups, not trying to chase every opportunity that looks good and how Peter learned this the hard way at a previous startup And much more! Check out Polywork If you don't have a Polywork account already you can sign up using this VIP link and check it out. Contact Matt & Peter You can contact Matt at Polywork and Peter either on Polywork or Twitter.
39 min 56 sec
An interview with Steve Johnson. Steve is a product coach who has trained thousands of product teams across dozens of countries across 15 years. He's co-founder of Product Growth Leaders, a consortium of product consultancies & also co-author of the Quartz Open Framework which aims to help you build products your customers will love. We speak about a lot, including: How his consultancy got started, the problems he solves & how he aims to get people working on real products that resonate with their business, not toy examples Why he decided to help create Product Growth Leaders to solve the problems he can't, by creating a consortium of product consultancies that can get the job done Whether the proliferation of product owners as glorified business analysts is a positive trend, and the challenges of having at least three specific jobs that are all called product manager The problem with Purple Squirrel product manager job descriptions with impossible requirements and how there aren't many unicorn product managers around How he was once trained in SAFe by Dean Leffingwell, the creator of the framework, and whether SAFe is the solution to any of the problems in dysfunctional companies Why it's all about agility not agile, but the trouble of trying to sell this message to people who have never seen agile done right The origins of the Quartz Open Framework and how it enables you to take an idea through planning and into market, and why it was important to release it for free under Creative Commons Some of the issues with working with Sales, and why it's not good enough to put all the blame on them when we could do better to support them Check out Steve's music Steve's a published musician! Check his work out on Spotify. Contact Steve You can find Steve on Twitter or LinkedIn. His consultancy website is https://www.under10consulting.com/.
42 min 33 sec
An interview with George Nurijanian. George is a former pricing analyst turned product manager, currently working as a Product Owner for design systems at New Zealand unicorn Xero. He's also now working to help demystify the world of resources we have available to us as product managers with his new side project prodmgmt.world. We speak about a lot, including: What Xero does as a company, and his work as a platform product owner working on a design system to enable coherent interfaces throughout a rapidly scaling company Whether working as a product owner on a design system means he needs to be a designer or a UX pro, or whether it's very similar to external product management The story behind prodmgmt.world and how he's trying to help product managers, marketers & indie hackers find the best product management frameworks in one place Whether he's just trying to be the Wikipedia of other people's product resources or whether he's aiming to create his own content for the community Whether he needs to curate it constantly, and his plans for a community aspect to help understand how people are using the frameworks to succeed His experience getting to #2 on Product Hunt and the effect this had on user numbers and buzz around the tool Some of the characteristics of product management culture in New Zealand, some of the differences from classic thinking, and some approaches that can be used to overcome legacy thinking And much more! Visit prodmgmt.world This site is a collection of techniques to empower entrepreneurial minds. Map your product challenge to the solution. Before: "I have no clue how to test if my idea is valuable." After: "I've got a full arsenal of techniques and frameworks." You can check out George's new side project at prodmgmt.world Contact George You can find George on Twitter or LinkedIn. His personal website is https://nurijanian.com/.
34 min 24 sec
An interview with Rich Mironov. Rich is a smoke jumper CPO who gets thrown behind the fire to help solve some of the hardest problems in product management - trying to fix organisations to help them make products properly. He's worked with 175 companies and has experienced it all, and also distilled this into his Product Bytes blog & book "The Art of Product Management". We speak about a lot, including: What a "smoke jumper" CPO is and the types of problems he solves when he goes into the mind boggling number of companies he has worked with The difficulty that teams sometimes have landing a message with leadership & why they often need to hear the same message from a consultant The mistakes some companies make by prioritising domain expertise over product management, and how this leads to bad product behaviour & biases The importance of understanding other teams' motivations, and using your PM skills to work out what they actually need How agile was written by software guys, doesn't mention customers at all, and why we don't need PMs who aren't embarrassed about not speaking to customers The differences between B2B and B2C product thinking and some of the classic product advice doesn't translate to the world of B2B The importance of taking your product thinking discussions to the right level & not trying to persuade front line people The importance of building coalitions as a product leader to make sure you're not just seen as an outlier where good ideas go to die And much more! Buy The Art of Product Management "The Art of Product Management takes us inside the head of a product management thought leader. With color and humor, Rich Mironov gives us a taste of Silicon Valley's tireless pursuit of great technology and its creation of new products. He provides strategic advice to product managers and tech professionals about start-ups, big organizations, how to think like a customer, and what things should cost. He also reminds us to love our products and our teams." Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Contact Rich You can find Rich on Twitter or LinkedIn. You can also check out Rich Mironov's Product Bytes here.
48 min 45 sec
An interview with Jas Shah. Jas is a product consultant who works with fintech firms to help them out where their product teams are maybe lacking, or don't have the time to do the job. Jas predictably believes in outsourcing product management tasks to consultants, but not all of them, and only if it helps bring the team along and develop their skills. We speak about a lot, including: What problems he solves with his consultancy, the types of companies he consults for, and why he prefers startups to big banks Whether fintech is all disruption and sea change or whether there's value in making incremental change The difficulty of selling disruptive change to the mass market, why you have to take it in stages and meet people where they are not where you want them to be The time he felt compelled to leave a product management job because of lack of support for his product, and how long he stuck it out The concept of servitising product management, what that means in practice and what types of task can be servitised The importance of taking the teams along for the journey so they can be self-sufficient after you leave The product management cliché he dislikes the most, and advice for people trying to take their first steps into product management And much more! Contact Jas You can find Jas on Twitter or LinkedIn. You can also check out his consultancy Bitsul.
35 min 22 sec
An interview with Radhika Dutt. Radhika is a product leader, consultant & author of "Radical Product Thinking" who has decided it is time to step away from building products incrementally & flying by the seat of your pants. Instead, she advocated creating a radical product vision, aligning the company around it and defining where you want to go and not how fast you get there. We speak about a lot, including: The story of the book, some of the early feedback she's received and how rewarding it is to see it landing with non-product people and product people alike How she set out to create a book that mixed vision with practicality, and bringing a truly global perspective rather than just another Silicon Valley tech bro book How seeing the same problems again & again led her to create a free framework to help solve them, and how this spurred the need for a book The audience for her book, the vision she had in mind, and how she wants people not to just prioritise the speed of their car but also where they're driving to Whether she has a problem with the Lean Startup (!), whether her book replaces it or is a compliment to it, and why you only really get a few pivots The importance of going beyond the Big Hairy Audacious Goal, creating a detailed vision up front and aligning your team around it The list of "product diseases", whether a radical product vision cures them all, and some examples of how they can afflict a business How to make sure everyone, including leadership, is behind the vision; the tools you can use to drive this, and the concept of vision debt The product hippocratic oath - how we as a product professionals need to ensure we do no harm and actively work to create better change in the world And much more! Buy Radical Product Thinking "Iteration rules product development, but it isn't enough to produce dramatic results. This book champions Radical Product Thinking, a systematic methodology for building visionary, game-changing products." Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Contact Radhika You can find Radhika on Twitter or LinkedIn
38 min 31 sec
An interview with Adam Thomas. Adam is a passionate product leader & product coach who wants to help you drive organisational alignment. By day he's Lead Product Manager for a recruiting platform, and by night he's the hero that Gotham needs with product consultancy Approaching One. We speak about a lot, including: His work with Approaching One and how he's trying to help product managers & product leaders get better How he started out as a mainframe programmer, and ended up falling into product management when a mentor realised how unhappy he was The story of his two startups, whether they succeeded or failed, and some of the lessons he learned from the experience His journey from individual contributor to leadership, the resources he used and how he mixed mentorship with repeated mistakes to get good The importance of driving organisational alignment, the types of negative & positive feedback you can get due to misalignment Why alignment is the product manager's job, how you should never assume anything, and have to do the work Some of the warning signs of misalignment, techniques you can use to get back on track and why you should trust but verify The importance of having a compelling story around your product that you can align your team around Survival Metrics - what they are & how you can use them to decide whether to pivot, double down or give up on an initiative And much more! More on Survival Metrics Why not visit the website to find out more about Survival Metrics? Contact Adam You can find Adam on Twitter. He's also got a Substack mailing list and his website is theadamthomas.com
33 min 54 sec
An interview with Giff Constable. Giff is an entrepreneur and product leader who was most recently CPO at Meetup during the WeWork acquisition & divestment. He's also the author of "Talking to Humans" & "Testing with Humans" - books that aim to help teams make good product decisions. We speak about a lot, including: The origin story for "Talking to Humans", why he wrote it back in 2014, whether he'd change anything now, and whether other books on discovery are riding his coattails Why he felt compelled to write a follow up, "Testing with Humans" and why good experimentation is essential to solution validation How his books made it into the worldwide education system and whether it was just as simple as him putting cartoons in them What life was like during his time at Meetup, a company going through a tumultuous period being acquired (and later divested) by WeWork Some of the challenges when two business cultures collide, and the mistakes he made taking over a dysfunctional team Why you shouldn't go in all guns blazing on day one, no matter what dysfunction you see, and why you need to validate the team first The importance of being transparent, open & honest during testing times, without being so open that you drag everyone down with you The tricky path to product leadership and how prospective leaders need mentoring, coaching and guidance to succeed And much more! Buy Talking to Humans "Talking to Humans is a practical guide to the qualitative side of customer development, an indispensable skill for vetting and improving any new startup or innovation. This book will teach you how to structure and run effective customer interviews, find candidates, and turn learnings into action." Check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Buy Testing with Humans "Testing with Humans, the sequel to bestseller Talking to Humans, teaches entrepreneurs, innovation teams, and product teams how to run effective experiments. An experiment is a test designed to help you answer the questions "Should we do this?" or "Am I right about this?" If you are open to learning, the insights from your experiments will help you refine your creation and improve your odds of success." Check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Contact Giff You can contact Giff on Twitter or LinkedIn. He also has a blog at GiffConstable.com.
42 min 45 sec
An interview with Natalie Furness. Natalie is a marketing consultant and company founder. Initially frustrated by not being a coder, she embraced the thriving No-Code community and realised that she could solve customer problems and build solutions anyway. Now she's started Minimum Viable Stack as an umbrella firm for a growing number of No-Code products. We speak about a lot, including: How she got started in marketing, where her entrepreneurial streak came from, and whether it's easier to market your own products or products by other people Her constant need to invent new things & how she balances this with focusing on what can truly make an impact The origin story behind Minimum Viable Stack and how she met her co-founder on Twitter (and who has the most followers) How her time marketing blockchain products gave her experience with disruptive tech and ensuring the message was focused on the users not the tech How she thought you needed to be able to code to build a tech business, and how a chance introduction to the No-Code community on Twitter made her realise this was not true The passion for automating repetitive tasks that led her to create two No-Code SaaS solutions, UXFramed and ScopeDone Whether you need to explore the entire universe of No-Code tools & whether she has settled on her own minimum viable stack Any barriers with No-Code solutions, and how working in No-Code has actually helped her learn to code Advice on how to get into building No-Code solutions yourself, and the importance of validating that you're solving real user problems And much more! Contact Natalie You can contact Natalie on Twitter or LinkedIn (although for the latter, please say that you've come from OKIP podcast otherwise she might not accept you!). You can check out her work at Minimum Viable Stack.
36 min 36 sec
An interview with Michele Hansen. Michele is the founder of Geocodio, a startup she founded without taking external funding. She is also the author of "Deploy Empathy", a book that aims to help product teams & founders to get better at user research & get the insights they need. We speak about a lot, including: Why now was the time for a new book on customer interviewing skills, how it's different to other books on discovery How the book has gone down, some of the feedback that she's gotten so far, and how she knew it had done the job she wanted it to How to introduce customer research into companies which aren't currently up for it & sell the idea to leadership Whether the techniques in the book constitute manipulation and whether she's worried they could be used for evil Whether the book teaches you to be truly empathetic or is a guide to fake it till you make it, and whether this matters How you don't need users to have empathy with you, and have to channel your inner rubber duck to make sure they open up to you The importance of validating not just hypotheses but also validating your users by resisting the urge to correct their mistakes Why you shouldn't use customer discovery interviews to try to sneak in sales or directly try to stop people churning And much more! Buy Deploy Empathy "Deploy Empathy will help you learn the skill of talking to your customers—learning to truly listen to them—so that you can pull out their hidden needs, desires, and processes. Empathy is a skill that anyone can learn. Armed with the tactics you’ll learn in this book and the toolbox of scripts and phrases, you'll be able to sell more of your existing product, build the right features that will delight your customers, and stop churn in its tracks." Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Contact Michele You can contact Michele on Twitter or check out deployempathy.com.
38 min 14 sec
An interview with Carlos Lastres. Carlos is the Creative & Marketing Director at Kaiyan Medical, a Chinese company creating light therapy products. Carlos is obviously an advocate for light therapy but also an engineer turned designer who is loving life in China. We talk about a lot, including: Light therapy - what the heck is it? Does it really work? How he became a convert to light therapy by chance when working on a design brief for Kaiyan Medical and why he decided to stay Some of the differences and similarities between creating digital products & hardware products How 3D printing makes all the difference when trying to get an MVP out of a hardware product How his frustration with badly designed software applications as a developer led him to pursue a career in product design How he went from an MBA and software development background to developing the design hard skills he needed How Chinese startups build products and how is it so different from how Western countries do it Whether Chinese users appreciate the constant flow of limited MVPs or whether it limits the ability to truly learn How he got involved with TEDx, how it went, and why you shouldn't follow your dreams And much more! Contact Carlos You can reach out to Carlos on LinkedIn or LastresCarlos.com. You can check out Kaiyan Medical on KaiyanMedical.com.
35 min 28 sec
An interview with Peter Knudson & Braxton Bragg. Peter & Braxton are co-authors of new book "Product Sense", with which they hope to help the next generation of product managers discover their product superpower and land that next big product management role. We speak about a lot, including: Their shared history as product managers in the gaming industry, why Peter stayed in it and why Braxton spread his wings How the book has been received, how they took an iterative approach to book writing, and why they decided to write a book together in the first place How the book is different to some of the other classic "get a product job" books and whether it's a compliment or a replacement The importance of bringing your authentic self to product manager interviews, and whether it's ever OK to fake it till you make it How they define product sense, whether everyone already has it, and whether people who don't have it can be taught it The concept of a product manager superpower, being T-shaped, and using your expertise and passion to stand out from the crowd Why they created the Compass Framework, why it's needed and how it helps give a structured response to interview questions Whether you need an MBA to be a product manager, whether it's totally unnecessary, and how in either case it can be very tricky to get into product And much more! Buy Product Sense "Product Sense is a comprehensive and accessible, guidebook for what it means to solve problems as product manager, and ace complicated PM interviews." Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Contact Peter & Braxton You can contact Peter or Braxton on LinkedIn.
47 min 37 sec
An interview with Rand Fishkin. Rand was the founder and CEO of SEO firm Moz. He documented the highs & lows of VC-backed entrepreneurship in his 2018 book "Lost and Founder", in which he detailed lessons learned, fought back against tech clichés, and pondered how he'd do it differently next time. Now it's next time and he's back with new firm SparkToro, looking to build truly sustainable businesses and a more caring, responsible capitalism. We speak about a lot, including: His new startup SparkToro, what it does, how it's different to his previous firm and how it's going these days Whether calling out thought leaders in his book led to any trouble, and why it's ok to make philosophical enemies How he pushes back against the inevitable retort that, rather than hustle culture being a problem, maybe he's just not that good at it The fallacy of meritocracy and how it's impossible for privileged founders (and the people that back them) to understand that opportunity is not distributed equally How the VC industry is furthering inequality, blinded by survivorship bias, and why it's so important to give underserved groups a hand up How the "growth at all costs" VC culture is forcing founders to make bad product decisions to make the numbers look good, and ignoring the real lifetime value of a user The surprising way that SparkToro handles cancellations proactively, and why churning a few extra % is better than having unhappy, locked in customers The problems with MVP culture, how people have taken the Lean Startup too far, and why great products are rarely minimally viable How founders and product leaders should truly put the customer first, not be blinded by their own egos and defending a possibly meaningless strategic roadmap at all costs And much more! Buy Lost and Founder "Everyone knows how a startup story is supposed to go: a young, brilliant entrepreneur has an cool idea, drops out of college, defies the doubters, overcomes all odds, makes billions and becomes the envy of the technology world. This is not that story." Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Contact Rand You can contact Rand on Twitter or check out sparktoro.com.
53 min 27 sec
An interview with Paul Meinshausen. Paul is the co-founder of Aampe, a startup that uses automated, rapid learning to personalise notifications and drive customer engagement. Paul started out in academia before doing a tour in Afghanistan and using data where the stakes couldn't be higher. He then went on to found and invest in multiple startups. We talk about a lot, including: The mission behind Aampe, the problems they're trying to solve, and the importance of sticking to solving those problems and not getting bogged down building stuff that's already a commodity Whether the company is at product/market fit stage or whether product/market fit is even a thing as far as they're concerned How we need to step away from mobile notifications being a marketing channel, rather a proactive UI and entry point to apps The impact of Big Tech privacy controls on mobile technology, the impact on engagement, and whether it's a threat or an opportunity The journey from academia to multiple entrepreneur, and whether it's unfair to label data scientists as primarily academic with no business sense Some of the ways data scientists can build those business muscles and make sure they are solving real problems in a meaningful way How a tour in Afghanistan shook Paul out of his academic mindset and made him realise that this stuff needs to work in the real world Why it's critically important not to just have data, but to know where it comes from and truly understand how it's feeding your models and algorithms The impact of bad data on your business and how you need to be hypervigilant to make sure you're not caught napping Check out Aampe If you want to find out more about Paul's company, check out aampe.com. Contact Paul You can catch up with Paul on LinkedIn or Twitter.
36 min 14 sec
An interview with Ramli John. Ramli is the Managing Director of ProductLed, the Robin to Wes Bush's Batman, and the author of "Product-Led Onboarding", a book that aims to shine a light on getting users to value sooner and ensuring you retain them long term. We speak about a lot, including: The mission behind ProductLed, and how the pandemic has really focused people's minds on ensuring their tools are seen as valuable What the Managing Director of ProductLed does, and whether he's really the Robin to Wes Bush's Batman How Ramli went from studying mathematics & being an analyst for a massive FMCG company into marketing & product-led growth, and why it excites him so much Why we needed a new book dedicated to Product-Led onboarding given that it was covered in Wes's book originally, and what publishers said when they pitched it Why he put his personal email address in the front and back of the book for queries, and how much spam he's received since he did that The importance of first impressions when it comes to product onboarding, and ensuring quick time to value to drive retention Who owns product-led onboarding, whether it matters, and the importance of true cross-functional teams Why product-led onboarding is more about free trials and guides, and more to do with an obsessive focus on user success, and why you need to define what that "success" really is The EUREKA framework the book proposes to help you establish your onboarding team, understand, refine and analyse (and whether he came up with it in the bath) How time to value can actually be too short and some of the things you can do about this Whether product-led growth is truly anything new, or just a buzzword to sell attractive yellow books And much more! Buy Product-Led Onboarding "Just like dating, your company's growth depends on first impressions. If their first date with your product is anything but silky-smooth, you risk losing out to the competition. Add to that a few, unfairly poor reviews and you’ll be more than just stuck. In this book, you’ll learn the simple 6-step strategy used by giants like Mixpanel, Ubisoft, and Outsystems that will get you more loyal clients in a fraction of the time." Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Contact Ramli You can contact Ramli on Twitter, LinkedIn or productled.com. More from ProductLed If you want to hear Wes Bush's interview on this very podcast, why not check out Wes Bush's interview on this very podcast?
38 min 50 sec
An interview with Abisoye Falabi. Abisoye is a passionate technologist, community builder and educator who is currently Senior Product Manager at TradeDepot, a Nigerian commerce and fintech platform. We talk about a lot, including: His work with TradeDepot, the problems they solve and their plans to go pan-African Some of the challenges of moving across borders into new territories and how this affects scaling How he started out in tech and moved to product management after seeing how developers were disconnected from customers & stakeholders His various roles spanning tech & product, and whether he agrees that having a CPTO is good or not Why it's important for Africans to make software solutions for Africans, and how they have to be 100x better than established solutions Some of the challenges in building products for the African market, and how they might be addressed Some of the common mistakes VC firms make when investing in African tech, and some of the opportunities they are missing His passion for education, how he teaches to learn, and some of his work with community building and working on courses for Pluralsight And much more! Contact Abisoye You can reach out to Abisoye on LinkedIn or Twitter.
39 min 19 sec
An interview with Teresa Torres. Teresa is a product discovery coach who works with a variety of organisations to help bed in good product discovery practices. Her coaching experience led her to write a book on the same topic, which she hopes will inspire product teams around the world to build fast feedback loops and defeat stakeholder bias. We talk about a lot, including: Why she decided to write Continuous Discovery Habits, and the feedback she's received so far What the concept of continuous discovery means in practical terms, and why it's important to stay on top of shifting customer needs The target audience for the book, and whether it's for product leaders or the sceptical exec team How ideological battles are not going to win the war for product discovery, and the importance of showing and not telling How her history in human-centred design, and disappointment at working practices in the real world, ignited her passion for discovery How cognitive biases can lead to bad product decisions, but how this isn't just down to stakeholders but also affects product teams themselves The importance of stakeholder management, addressing their own gaps, and using story mapping to uncover those gaps and assumptions Why you should follow through with an impact analysis when you're inevitably overruled, and uncover their (or your) gaps in understanding How continuous discovery can work with any type of addressable market, and how few people is too few The ideal frequency of customer contact, and why the longer you leave it, the more risky your decisions The critical importance of getting engineers into discovery early and using their knowledge & experience to get to the right solution And much more! Buy Continuous Discovery Habits "In this book, you'll learn a structured and sustainable approach to continuous discovery that will help you answer each of these questions, giving you the confidence to act while also preparing you to be wrong. You'll learn to balance action with doubt so that you can get started without being blindsided by what you don't get right. " Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Contact Teresa You can find out more about Teresa's coaching & education efforts on producttalk.org. If you want to catch up with Teresa, you can Twitter or on LinkedIn.
38 min 23 sec
An interview with John Zilch. John is Director of Product Management at Upland, adjunct professor at Providence College and founder of Launch Day, a new startup that's aiming to take the pain out of launching new products to market. We talk about a lot, including: The pros & cons of working as a platform product manager and integrating various product lines & features into a new platform When it's appropriate to replatform and when not, and whether a platform product manager gets a lot of customer contact John's journey into product management from a computer science background and how, like everyone, he kind of fell into it, and how analysts get more love than PMs How his dissatisfaction with the way software gets launched led him and a former colleague to build their own platform to make it better Why he's started teaching at Providence College, how teaching is the best way to learn, and how academia is a fertile ground for hiring the best talent What he thought of Marty Cagan's recent takedown of MBAs, why he's tired of everyone being against them, and what they're good for Why there's a problem with experimentation culture and why it shouldn't be a replacement for good customer discovery How's it's OK to do things that don't scale as long as you have a plan to make sure that it can scale in the future The problem with people concentrating on "Agile" as a method of delivery rather than a way to get close to customers And much more! Contact John You can check out the Launch Day website or connect with John on LinkedIn or Twitter.
44 min 40 sec
An interview with Hubert Palan. Hubert is the founder and CEO of Productboard, a company that aims to put the customer at the heart of the product development process and help companies across the globe build truly excellent products. We talk about a lot, including: What Productboard does, how it differs from other platforms & how it tries to bring customers to the heart of product development How his studies & early product career made him realise how difficult it was to have evidence-based discussions with stakeholders, and how this led him to create Productboard How he still maintains strong ties to the Czech Republic, and how Productboard took advantage of being a big fish in a small pond there What it was like studying under Steve Blank, the inspiration for the Lean Startup, and some of the lessons Hubert learned there Whether his MBA helped him become an effective product manager or whether he had a lot to learn after graduating Some of his problems with Marty Cagan's recent article about MBAs, and why he thinks Marty got it wrong Some of the mistakes that product teams are making when making product development decisions, and how companies need to build up their product muscles How some founders stumble into product/market fit and why the Lean Startup is partly to blame Why founders are overrated, and how to step away from thinking you know it all & letting the company run without your input How to try to build a diverse & inclusive company, and some of the challenges that Productboard have faced And much more! Contact Hubert You can check out the Productboard website or connect with Hubert on LinkedIn or Twitter.
39 min 58 sec
An interview with Chris Hull. Chris is a former 7th grade social studies teacher who grew dissatisfied with the tools he had to do his job and decided to create some of his own. He's now the CPO and founder of Otus, an all-in-one learning management, assessment and data system. We talk about a lot, including: The vision behind Otus and how a global pandemic has made everyone interested in online learning in a pandemic How someone goes from teaching into building a company, some of the ways he's learned to do it and some of the mistakes he's made The different types of stakeholders he has to deal with across education, and how he balances the needs of all of them The pros & cons of interviewing kids for UX interviews, and how they're both the best and worst people to ask for feedback Whether there are any challenges selling into schools, and whether they're as stuck in the past as they appear Bringing agile principles to learning and importance of empiricism and constant learning How he's set up the teams to deliver value across his product lines and how the film Ratatouille inspired his ideation process The importance of setting a vision then stepping back & ensuring the teams have autonomy How teaching kids has primed him for the stresses & strains of foundership & leadership, and whether kids are harder work than adults Whether he's instinctive or data driven, how to step away from your biases, and when it makes sense to go with your gut The importance of focus, picking your bets and how "priority" has been, and should remain, singular And much more! Contact Chris If you want to catch up with Chris, you can reach him on LinkedIn, Twitter or check out his company Otus
36 min 19 sec
An interview with Korbinian Spann. Korbinian started out doing a PhD in Semitic Languages before working in retail and realising he had no way to collate customer feedback. This led him to start building his own solution not once but three times, eventually leading to his own startup and taking data-driven product development to the world. We talk about a lot, including: How he started out as an intrapreneur with a problem, how he solved it, and how it sparked an idea for his own startup How had to rebuild the same product 3 times, and the importance of forgetting everything and starting from scratch where needed How he's always had a problem solving mind and product management perspective even though he's not a product manager His passion for data-driven product development and how he's attempting to shift the paradigm Some of the challenges in landing data-science backed products with traditional companies that seek certainty Why customer centricity has to be data driven, and why we shouldn't just rely on gut feel to make decisions Whether AI / ML is just good for pitch decks and whether riding the hype is a good thing or not The importance of using the right tech, not just the latest greatest thing, and steering clear of buzzwords How data annotation is the dirty secret of AI backed startups, and how much human effort there really is The importance of ethics and data privacy in AI and how his company are trying to stay on the right side of history And much more! Contact Korbinian If you want to catch up with Korbinian, you can reach him on LinkedIn or check out his company Insaas.ai
35 min 28 sec
An interview with Henry Latham. Henry started out studying Spanish & Portuguese before having an epiphany and moving into foundership and product management. Disappointed with the applicability of some of the education materials out there, and reeling from being fired by a dysfunctional product company, he decided to double down and build an education programme to really help people move the needle and build products effectively. We talk about a lot, including: How dissatisfaction with all the standard product content out there drove him to start Prod MBA, and how it differs from other more established product schools Details of the Prod MBA approach and how they get you from defining a vision and building a releasable product in 8 weeks How to land product thinking with people that aren't necessarily from a product background and have a more traditional view of business How to sell the concept of business risk to traditional stakeholders and get comfortable with risk yourself How getting fired from a product job opened his eyes and led him to inspire better product managers in the future The importance of getting out of negative thought patterns & not accepting your fate but actually working to make it better How to help people to move the needle in dysfunctional companies and making your own moves to demonstrate the value of product thinking Why he wrote his two books "Why Your Startup is Failing" and "Product Leadership Starts With You", some of the key themes, and how they'll help you be a better founder & build better products Some of the problems he has with agile frameworks, specifically Scrum, what his alternative is and whether it's Scrum Inc's job to fix it And much more! Check out Prod MBA If you like the sound of Henry's product training programme, check out the Prod MBA website for more details. Buy Henry's books Henry has two books: "You want your product to succeed. Yet considering nearly 90% of products fail, how can you ensure that you are part of the 10% that actually succeed?" Check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. "Despite what many aspiring product leaders may think, being an effective product leader is not about using the right frameworks, the right methodologies or delivering features quickly. Instead, it's about something entirely different: Building a strong foundation for product success that starts with you." Check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Contact Henry If you want to catch up with Henry, you can reach him on LinkedIn.
37 min 30 sec
An interview with Emily Tate. Emily is the Managing Director of Mind the Product, the world's leading product management community. Emily started out in marketing, before moving into product management at an aviation company and then onto Mind the Product via a serendipitous sequence of events. She's passionate about product and claims to be able to talk about it all day long! We talk about a lot, including: What the Managing Director of Mind the Product is up to these days and some of the exciting plans as we get out of the pandemic How she got started in marketing, then product, then marketing, then product, and what made her settle into product management in the end The challenges of being product manager for a technical product, and whether you need to be technical to be a product manager Whether it's fair for employers to expect product managers to have deep subject matter expertise or whether being a good product manager is enough Whether there's a right way to "do product", the different types of product manager, and the importance of not judging yourself on your weakest skills The futility of trying to hire unicorn product managers, and making sure you hire the right product managers for the right products Whether the wealth of aspirational content out there is setting too high a bar for product managers What to do when you're working for a company that doesn't do product management well, and how to sell yourself into the next company when you know you weren't doing everything by the book Some of the warning signs & red flags you should watch out for when applying for a product management job The pros and cons of with fortune cookie influencer advice, and making peace with the intentions behind it And much more! Get more from Mind the Product If you want to hear more about the Mind the Product origin story, check out this episode with Janna Bastow, co-founder of Mind the Product and CEO of ProdPad. Contact Emily If you want to catch up with Emily, you can reach her on LinkedIn or Twitter.
43 min 2 sec
An interview with Layo Ogunbanwo. Layo is the VP of Product Strategy for Piggyvest, a Nigerian fintech and also the founder of the Practical Product community, where she's aiming to demystify product management principles and adapt them to Africa's unique environment. Layo launched Practical Product with a groundbreaking report "The State of Product Management in Africa". We talk about a lot, including: Her work with Piggyvest in Nigeria, trying to bring financial services to Africans and the company's plans to develop across Africa What a VP of Product Strategy does and how / if it differs from other product management roles How her experience across sales & marketing led to a product management career, and how it helped her work cross-functionally Why she thought it was important to put together the State of PM in Africa report and ambitions for the future Whether there is any kind of pan-African solidarity amongst product managers or whether all countries are competing against each other How the report went down with its audience, what the take up and initial feedback has been like Some of the surprising findings from the report, and why they were surprising Some of the unique challenges of working in product management in Africa, and their root causes The gender balance in Africa, and Layo's work to champion equality for women across the continent Her hopes for African product managers for the upcoming year, and the desire for an African Silicon Valley And much more! Get The State of Product Management in Africa Report "The report is a collection of data that sets a benchmark and brings to life the trends driving product management in Africa. More than 200 product management professionals shared their insights and experiences with us." Get the report here: State of Product Management in Africa Report. Contact Layo If you want to catch up with Layo, you can reach her on LinkedIn, Twitter. You can also visit Practical Product on their website practicalproduct.co
33 min 42 sec
An interview with Rajesh Nerlikar. Rajesh has had a long career in a variety of product companies, and put all of his learnings to practice when he took over Prodify, a product consultancy that helps startups, scale ups and growth companies to embed product thinking and team building. He's also the co-author of the 2020 book "Build What Matters" which aims to help people come together a long term product strategy to 10x customer outcomes. We talk about a lot, including: The problems with getting companies to understand product management and the different ways companies try to get there How not all startup founders know how to operate in a classic product-led way, but how not all of them need to How he went from an intern at a CPG company to VP of Product at a ride sharing startup, and what his experience in CPG taught him about user interviews How he got into entrepreneurship and startups, where that passion came from, and some of the mistakes he's made along the way The importance of not thinking you're the customer even if you used to be, and making sure you speak to a wide variety Some of the differences in mindset needed to hire product managers, and how he supports teams that don't know what to look for What led him to join up with his former boss to write "Build What Matters" and some of the challenges of writing in tandem How you can't just build products for the customers you have now but need to concentrate on the customers you'll have next The importance of driving for a multi-year vision and balancing innovation, iteration & operation across your product portfolio The Vision-Led Product Management Framework from the book, what it helps you do and some of the successes it's driven And much more! Buy Build What Matters "Rapid iteration, A/B testing, and growth hacking—these buzzwords have everyone’s attention in product management today. But while they dominate the current discussion, something even more significant has been lost in their limelight: long-term value creation for the customer." Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Contact Rajesh If you want to catch up with Rajesh, you can reach him on LinkedIn, Twitter. You can also visit his website prodify.group
38 min 13 sec
An interview with Rhiana Matthew. Rhiana is a Senior Product Manager at Publicis Sapient, a product consultancy that aims to help other companies build products better and set their teams up for success. She works in omnichannel retail product management, and saw her product strategy crumble to dust in the "new normal" of COVID-19. We talk about a lot, including: Her work with Publicis Sapient, what they do and how she looks to enable companies to get better at product management Some of the things she's working on at the moment, what omnichannel retail solutions are, and what she's selling How she got into product management and what gave her the spark, and how making an impact on real customers ticked all her boxes The pros and cons of working for a consultancy and being "In and out" vs working directly for a product company How the news of lockdown impacted her team and whether they took it in their stride or panicked The approaches the product team took to work out where to play and get 120+ ideas down to 11 The spectre of timeline-based, hard deadline deliverables and whether it's possible to get away from this in retail How operating under wartime conditions opened her eyes to the art of the possible, and how she thinks this will impact her approach in the future Her passion for supporting mental health and some of the ways she learned to cope through the chaos Her passion for using tech for good, and some of the ways she tries to contribute to making the world a better place And much more! The podcast is on Product Hunt! This episode release coincides with the podcast hitting Product Hunt, the leading community where people rate new products and ideas. Would appreciate your support and feedback! If you want more from Publicis Sapient I spoke to Rhiana's colleague Jack Stevens a few months back. Jack spoke frankly of some of the mental health challenges of working under lockdown. Contact Rhiana If you want to catch up with Rhiana, you can reach her on LinkedIn or Rhiana's Medium page
35 min 4 sec
An interview with Julia Shalet. Julia is a product consultant who hates the idea of wasted effort and wants to make sure that we all spend our time building things that matter. To support this goal, she wrote "The Really Good Idea Test", an already award-winning practical playbook to help put your ideas to the test. We talk about a lot, including: Why she decided to write the Really Good Idea Test and some surprising early feedback from a young reviewer How the book came together from her years of teaching and refining her message and approach The importance of practical learning, and not just reading stuff out of a book How the book's 7 steps help you validate your hypothesis and whether these steps are linear How to sell the concept of product discovery and evidence-based decision making to possibly sceptical leadership The importance of assessing your company's risk appetite, and how much evidence you need to proceed with confidence How to avoid survivorship bias and step away from the cliche of the inspired founder who does it all from their gut How to remove bias in hypothesis creation and to avoid reinforcing those biases with leading questions The importance of getting buy in up front to ensure that your Really Good Idea is in line with strategy How to handle side quests and rabbit holes when you find something unexpected that might be a better idea than your original idea And much more! Buy The Really Good Idea Test "Got an idea? Want an easy way to test, refine and validate your idea? Wondering whether it's worth investing your time, energy and money? Trying to work out your next step? Put it to The Really Good Idea Test!" Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Contact Julia If you want to catch up with Julia, you can reach her on LinkedIn or her website productdoctor.co.uk
39 min 21 sec
An interview with Christina Wodtke. Christina is the award-winning author of a variety of seminal books, including "The Team That Managed Itself" and "Radical Focus". Christina is passionate about creating empowered, high-performing organisations and helping them to focus on their most important strategic goals using OKRs (Objectives & Key Results). We talk about a lot, including: How "Radical Focus" came about in the first place, and why now is the time for the Second Edition How her book differs from "Measure What Matters", whether John Doerr is riding on her coat tails and whether they talk at parties How she set out to write a practical OKR playbook rather than a theoretical document, and why she felt the need to put tons and tons of examples in the second edition The circumstances that led her to realise that OKRs were the way forward and why she became so passionate about teaching them Why you shouldn't use OKRs to manage everything but use them as a strategic tool to focus on what's most important, and deciding what not to do Why companies shouldn't just jump straight to OKRs without having some of the prerequisites and a culture to support them The importance of empowered teams, letting go of micromanagement and thinking that your job is to tell people what to do Why setting a good OKR review cadence is often more important than agonising over setting perfect OKRs How the concept of a fixed mindset applies not to just people but companies too, and how companies have to be comfortable with failure Where you shouldn't use OKRs, the types of team or companies where it just doesn't make sense, and why OKRs aren't just rebadged task lists And much more! Buy Radical Focus (2nd Edition) "The award-winning author of The Team That Managed Itself and Pencil Me In returns with a new and expanded edition of her landmark book on OKRs. Struggling to adopt Objectives and Key Results? Radical Focus teaches you everything you need." Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Contact Christina If you want to catch up with Christina, you can reach her on Twitter or her website wodtke.com.
39 min 57 sec
An interview with Udhaya Kumar Padmanabhan. Udhaya is Global Strategic Design Director at Designit, a global design firm working in all areas of design. Udhaya is a passionate advocate for good design principles, demystifying design practices and applying form to the formless. We talk about a lot, including: His work with Designit, and how the design community is flourishing in Bangalore (the Silicon Valley of India) How he started out as a computer scientist & mathematician but somehow ended up in design and not data science The difference between product management, product design and UX design and where it all sits in a good product company Whether you need specific domain experience to be a product designer or whether any designer can get into product design The importance of up front collaboration with UX & product design and ensuring you're not just throwing stuff over the wall How easy it is to rescue bad design that you've inherited, when you need to start again, and what to do if you can't The importance of stepping back and hearing people out and not just preaching at people, and how design is about being in the relationship business The importance of "giving form to the formless" and applying good design principles outside of traditional user interfaces Contact Udhaya If you want to catch up with Udhaya, you can reach him on LinkedIn.
An interview with Rekha Venkatakrishnan. Rekha is a Senior Manager in Group Product Management for Walmart Global Tech, supporting Walmart offices around the world in building great product experiences. She's also a passionate advocate for advancing women in data, tech & product and a chapter lead for Women in Product in San Francisco. We speak about a lot, including: What it's like working in product for a giant like Walmart, in a global, distributed product team Whether an organisation like Walmart can be truly agile or whether it's stuck in the past How a move from Walmart to Oracle went wrong and why she ended up back at Walmart How she started as an engineer in India before starting to query the "What" and the "Why" naturally moved her towards product management Some of the challenges of going from an engineering mindset to product mindset, and getting away from trying to specify the "How" How she prioritised practical, hands on experience and hadn't even heard of places like Product School How her passion for communication & education led her to ironically become a trainer for Product School Her work with Women in Product and the initiatives she's working on to help support women in the product community Why it's important to be able to make mistakes as long as you learn from them And much more! Contact Rekha You can contact Rekha on LinkedIn.
34 min 51 sec
An interview with Stephanie Tanzar, Director of Product Management at Pendo. Stephanie talks about her passion for product management and product analytics, the new Product Engagement Score metric and some great advice for becoming more data-driven. We talk about a lot, including: The differences between stages of companies, how she's lived them all and what she prefers now Whether being in a hypergrowth company with a massive user base makes it easier to say no What it's like being a product manager at a company that serves a user base of product managers How a passion for human / computer interaction nearly led to a PhD but instead sparked a passion for product management Why data is important and the role of gut feel in product management decisions What the Product Engagement Score is, what it tells you, and whether it's actually useful or just something to get people to use Pendo Whether Pendo are putting their money where their mouth is and using the score to drive their own decisions Examples of good decisions that have been made so far using Product Engagement Score as a basis Whether NPS's time is up or whether it's valuable alongside data such as the Product Engagement Score Why you don't have to be perfect to be data-driven, and that just taking it one step at a time is still valuable The different lagging and leading indicators that can be used to drive product decisions About the Product Engagement Score Stephanie wants you to start using the PES to measure your product engagement. Find out more about that on the Product Engagement Score website. Contact Stephanie If you want to catch up with Stephanie, you can reach her on LinkedIn or go and sign up for Pendo. PS - If you want check whether Stephanie's answers match up with our previous Pendo guest, check out Christine Itwaru.
33 min 40 sec
An interview with David Pereira. David is Head of Product Management at Virtual Identity, a product development agency. He's also a prolific author and educator, and contributing editor to Serious Scrum. We talk about a lot, including: The fun and games when working for a company transitioning from a project to product-led mindset The importance of meeting in the middle and making iterative progress, not aiming for perfection on day one How he got his first job as a product owner completely by mistake whilst studying on an English immersion course How he developed his product skills on the job through making multiple mistakes and iterating The debate between Product Owner and Product Manager as job titles, and the trend for Product Owners to be hired as order takers in feature factories How he got into writing over 100 articles and becoming a contributing editor to Serious Scrum on Medium What he means by "The Game Being Over" for Scrum and some of the problems with the framework Some of the issues he sees with SAFe as a successor for Scrum, and how it's really waterfall in disguise The importance of a solid growth mindset and not going stale, and some of the ways he tries to keep ahead of the crowd Contact David If you want to catch up with David, you can reach him on LinkedIn, Twitter or read his work on Medium.
39 min 6 sec
An interview with Samuel Ogunkoya. Samuel is a product management intern at ProducteevTech, a product development agency. Samuel started his career as a physiotherapist before deciding to focus on a different type of user pain, and shares some of his learnings from his journey so far. We talk about a lot, including: How he serendipitously landed his first product management job What made him decide to switch from physiotherapy into product management in the first place How his passion for people and his broad interest in technology has affected both parts of his career Whether his interest in product management was useful in his physiotherapy career, and how he treated his services as a product How his experience with patients and patients' families helped him develop empathy that he now takes forward to his users & stakeholders How he developed a strong dislike for micromanagement from past experience, and how he pushes against this in his product management career The resources he used to skill up in product management, and how he prefers hands on sessions to book training How he explained product management to his friends and family and how they reacted when he told them about the change Advice for others following him into product management Contact Samuel You can find Samuel on Twitter, LinkedIn or Samuel's website.
31 min 33 sec
An interview with Wes Bush. Wes is the founder of ProductLed, a company aiming to teach the world how to build products that sell themselves. He's also the author of the book "Product-Led Growth". We speak about a lot, including: How a career in B2B SaaS working in demand generation started to make him suspect that there was another way to generate demand How his passion for simplifying led him to start simplifying product onboarding to allows users to get to value sooner The problems of moving from sales-led to product-led when you haven't spent any time on your product's UX The problems of enterprise "whale hunting" leading to products that are overcomplicated and difficult to use How a desire to get to the heart of the problem, and teach his clients, led to writing a leading book on product-led growth Whether salespeople should feel threatened by product-led growth, or whether it's an opportunity for them How product-led growth affects the marketing team and whether it's the end of traditional marketing Whether some companies are just not ready to become product-led, and some of the reasons it doesn't make sense to be so How companies know when it's time to transition from sales-led to product-led, and the first steps to take Whether there are some types of companies that actually want to be sold to and would resist product-led approaches And much more! Buy Product-Led Growth "Discover the fundamentals of Product-Led Growth and how you can turn your product into a growth engine, widen your funnel, and dominate your market while cutting your customer acquisition costs." Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Contact Wes You can contact Wes on Twitter, LinkedIn or productled.com.
37 min 57 sec
An interview with Stephanie Leue. Stephanie is a product leadership coach, and became CPO of MindEx since our interview. Previously she worked in a variety of roles after starting out at PayPal after being coached by Marty Cagan. We talk about a lot, including: Her leadership coaching, being an invisible companion and sparring partner How she tries to set people up to not need her services, rather than continuously coaching them forever Her passion for hypergrowth startups, and the difference between a startup and an unsuccessful small company How a workshop with Marty Cagan left her realising that she had been a product manager all along How PayPal was a launchpad for her career, and some surprising information about their waterfall practices when she joined The challenges in transforming companies from waterfall to an agile product organisation How product managers might not be able to change the entire organisation but that their mindset is still key to drive transformation Whether lack of product thinking is the preserve of big companies alone, or if small startups can show the same behaviours The importance of making conscious decisions about the type of company you are - marketing-led, sales-led or product-led How she's not always been a good boss, thought she used to be terrible, and how she's using that to teach others to be better The impact of holding back too long and not making timely decisions And much more! Contact Stephanie You can reach out to Stephanie on LinkedIn or Twitter.
35 min 29 sec
An interview with Kim Scott, author of "Radical Candor" and "Just Work". Kim was a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and other tech companies. She was a member of the faculty at Apple University and before that led AdSense, YouTube, and DoubleClick teams at Google. Earlier in her career Kim managed a pediatric clinic in Kosovo and started a diamond-cutting factory in Moscow. We speak about a lot, including: How she's already getting feedback on the book, not just complements, but people taking action based on it Whether she's got any negative feedback from the types of people who complain about political correctness How she knew she was onto something when her dad's friends had a lightbulb moment discussing the book How she felt revisiting painful experiences from her past, and whether this was a positive or negative experience for her Whether strategic swearing in books is a positive or negative when trying to land a message How she got feedback from a black female executive that being radically candid doesn't work for everyone, and how this spurred her to write her new book Whether she felt she was an imperfect messenger for the themes in this book given that she is herself privileged How we all used biased language, how words matter and why it's important that we all work on it How to point out people's biased, prejudiced and bullying behaviour without getting their defences up and shutting you down How to be an upstander not a bystander, and building this into the culture of your company What to do when the problems in your company are systemic, from the CEO downwards, and the importance of checks and balances Buy Kim's books "We―all of us―consistently exclude, underestimate, and underutilize huge numbers of people in the workforce even as we include, overestimate, and promote others, often beyond their level of competence. Not only is this immoral and unjust, it's bad for business. Just Work is the solution." Just Work "Radical Candor is about caring personally and challenging directly, about soliciting criticism to improve your leadership and also providing guidance that helps others grow. It focuses on praise but doesn't shy away from criticism ― to help you love your work *and* the people you work with." Radical Candor Get in touch with Kim You can check out Kim's work on the Just Work website, or follow her on Twitter.
40 min 8 sec
An interview with Polina Marchenko. Polina is a self-described geekette, product leader and multiple startup founder. Polina saw the dark side of startup life in Berlin, suffering burnout due to the intense hustle culture. She has since moved to the US, and is now focusing her efforts on her new startup whilst ensuring that she does it in a sustainable manner. We talk about a lot, including: How she developed a passion for entrepreneurship from an early age and through higher education What it was like being a junior PM at a startup and whether it helped her build her hard skills Her struggles with hustle culture, unrealistic expectations and inevitable burn out How she used the lessons from her first startup to make sure she didn't make the same mistakes again How she accidentally moved to Silicon Valley and ended up in a hacker house with 14 other hustling entrepreneurs The problems with hustle culture and why she's actively trying to get her friends to step out of it How a passion for community building and desire to connect led her to create 3 new startups in a pandemic How she used her past startup experience to decide it was time to park a couple of startup ideas and concentrate on one How she's helping people unleash their potential, fight imposter syndrome, and how important this is to her values Try SIDE PRJCT "Resumes are overrated, show me what you've built" Check out the SIDE PRJCT website. Contact Polina You can reach out to Polina on LinkedIn.
37 min 58 sec
About the Episode An interview with Nacho Bassino. Nacho is CPO for Best Day Travel Group and the author of new book "Product Direction", which is a practical playbook for product strategy. Nacho is a passionate supporter of the Latin American product community, and host of a Spanish-language product podcast. We speak about a lot, including: How writing a book is a great way to really learn about the topic you're writing about Transitioning from project-led to product-led, how to do it at scale and manage complicated dependencies without SAFe What it's like interviewing holidaymakers, and how you can always get a captive focus group when you need one Gathering insights to help define product strategy, reducing them and synthesising them into the iniatives that matter The importance for product teams of building for the future and not concentrating on short term thinking Important principles for building an effective roadmap to support the product vision Driving alignment with multiple stakeholders and avoiding an information gap How to avoid OKRs becoming just a big "to do" list via peer review and collaboration The importance of investing in and providing local language content for the Latin American product community Buy Nacho's Book Nacho's book, "Product Direction" is available in all the usual places. Check it out! Product Direction website. Conversaciones de Producto If you speak Spanish, why not try Nacho's podcast Conversaciones de Producto. Contact Nacho You can reach out to Nacho on LinkedIn or Twitter.
34 min 52 sec
An interview with Nis Frome. Nis is the co-founder and VP of Product at Feedback Loop, an agile research platform. Nis took over as VP of Product after wearing many other hats. He's also a mentor and podcaster, with a keen interest in sharing with the community and helping to inspire other product managers with thought leadership. We talk about a lot, including: What made him go into entrepreneurship straight out of college Why he took over the product function and whether it was a classic case of executive swoop in How real world product management can differ so much from what's in the books How to avoid getting depressed if everything's not like the books on day one How to land the message about good product management practices with execs who haven't read said books Whether a product manager on the ground can fix a poorly performing organisation on their own The importance of connecting the dots and understanding how a product manager's decisions drive outcomes How different people and teams in a company can be on different parts of the product maturity curve and whether this matters Effectively segmenting your customers and working out how to prioritise when their needs are different And much more! Listen to Nis's podcast It's ok, we can have an open relationship. Check out Nis's podcast This is Product Management. Contact Nis You can reach out to Nis on LinkedIn or Twitter.
36 min 33 sec
About the Episode An interview with Gibson Biddle. Gib is the former VP of Product Management at Netflix, and former CPO of Chegg. Nowadays, he's a coach and teacher who gave 140 talks over the last year. He's also recently started a mailing list, "Ask Gib" where he answers some of the top voted questions every week. We understandably speak about a lot, including: His new newsletter "Ask Gib", and why you should subscribe to it Whether he's gotten any difficult questions he couldn't answer How he manages to do 140 events and how he optimises the format How to make an impact in your first 90 days as a product leader The importance of moving quickly to make an impact, and striking whilst the iron is hot What to do if you aren't passionate about the company you work for, and when to leave How to handle M&A as part of your product strategy & why not to worry about the valuation The pros & cons of using different frameworks to teach product leadership practices Treating yourself as a product, and experimenting with your career choices to help build your intuition and business maturity The importance of taking risks, both for mature businesses as well as in your career Whether Gib could have saved Blockbuster, why he thinks they ultimately failed, and how the Innovator's Dilemma loomed large And much more! Sign up to Ask Gib Gib answers the most upvoted questions once a week on his newsletter, Ask Gib. Sign up here and never be bereft of content again. Please rate Gib's interview Gib loves NPS and uses it to optimise his content and make sure he can continue to improve it and excite his audience. Please take a second to rate his interview! Contact Gib You can contact Gib on Twitter, LinkedIn or gibsonbiddle.com.
51 min 46 sec
An interview with Nichole DeMeré. Nichole is CMO at Reeview, a new eCommerce video review platform, as well as Taggg, a calendar scheduling solution. Nichole is a passionate growth marketer, consultant, community builder and mentor. We talk about a lot, including: The story behind Reeview, how they're looking to revolutionise eCommerce, and some of the early traction they're getting Why Nichole prefers working with early stage start ups and getting in on the ground floor, and thriving in chaos The difference between growth hacking techniques & general marketing, and which strategies & tactics to use How businesses seeking growth need to get ready to experiment and test their most important hypotheses The importance of having both qualitative and quantitative data, and their preference for having conversations with people Why it's important to focus your growth strategy and not try to hit too many channels at once Whether Nichole is up with all the new trends in tech or their own worst nightmare when it comes to marketing The importance of mentorship and paying it forward and their advice for the next generation of SaaS marketers How someone starts out in a one horse town and takes over the world of B2B Marketing More about Reeview You can find out about Reeview on Reeview's website or Reeview @ Product Hunt. Contact Nichole You can find Nichole everywhere. A few places included Product Hunt, LinkedIn, Twitter or their own website nicholeelizabethdemere.com
33 min 7 sec
An interview with Paul Ortchanian. Paul worked for many years in Silicon Valley before moving back to Montreal. He got bored of working for a services firm there and decided to take his SV experience into his own startup, Bain Public, aiming to foster Product Hygiene in Canadian firms and beyond. We talk about a lot, including: How a lack of product thinking in Montreal and experience in Silicon Valley led him to create a consultancy to fix it How his great experience in Silicon Valley and imbibing the product culture there was an advantage The challenge of "Moses syndrome" from CEOs who think they're the second coming because they have secured funding The trouble with traditional startup mentors not coming from digital backgrounds How and why they invented the SOAP methodology to help Product Managers understand what they should be working on and when Some of the troubles that mixed mode product / service companies have How to arm yourself against short term thinking and sales-led feature development The importance of using data to justify your product decisions The importance of being able to handle rejection and people saying no How to take control of the discussion with sales & marketing and not just blame them And much more! Bain Public If you want to find out more about Paul's company, you can check out the Bain Public website and find out more about the SOAP methodology. Contact Paul You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn.