An interview with Sarah Doody. Sarah is a former UX practitioner and leader who started out trying to help UX pros with their portfolios before realising there's an even bigger problem to solve; how to help designers & product managers optimise for success and give themselves the best chance of getting that next career move.
We speak about a lot, including:
And much more!A brief interruption from my sponsor - me!
I'm terrible at asking for money but if you would like to throw any spare change at me to prevent me having to read out tiresome generic podcast ads, you can buy me a coffee. If not, I love you all anyway!Contact Sarah
Matt Dixon is a Wall Street Journal award-winning author and renowned researcher in the world of sales and customer success. He co-authored "The Challenger Sale" in 2011 which turned the world of B2B sales on its head, and encouraged salespeople around the world to take control of the customer conversation. He's now back with "The JOLT Effect" which tells us that our biggest problem with closing sales isn't losing to a competitor but losing to no decision at all. Here are some of the highlights of our discussion: There are great sales books out there, but many of them are based on opinion and "what worked for me". Matt and his team took an outsiders' data-based approach and uncovered the surprising truth Matt is not a salesman. This led some people to doubt his findings, but the data speaks for itself. The Challenger approach specifically resonated with startup founders who are natural challengers! Sales have traditionally been taught to be relationship builders but in today's world of information overload, it's not enough to have a cosy conversation. Buyers need to be challenged, debated & given insight It's not enough to defeat the status quo. Buyers can be afraid to make a decision whatever the status quo. Traditional sales approaches make the problem worse. There's a playbook to defeat customer indecision that helps to take risk off the table & make buyers understand they're making a great decision. Product teams are crucial partners in helping sales teams do this. "In sales, the worst thing you can hear from a customer isn’t “no.” It’s “I need to think about it.” When this happens, deeply entrenched business advice says to double down on your efforts to sell a buyer on all the ways they might win by choosing you and your business. But this approach backfires dramatically. Why? Because it completely gets wrong the primary driver behind purchasing decision-making: once purchase intent is established, customers no longer care about succeeding. What they really care about is not failing." Check it out on Amazon. You can also check out the book website. "The need to understand what top-performing reps are doing that their average performing colleagues are not drove Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson, and their colleagues at Corporate Executive Board to investigate the skills, behaviors, knowledge, and attitudes that matter most for high performance. And what they discovered may be the biggest shock to conventional sales wisdom in decades." Check it out on Amazon. Make sure you check out "The Challenger Customer" and "The Effortless Experience" too! You can hit Matt up on LinkedIn.
25 September 2022 •
John Cutler is a product evangelist for Amplitude, and a leading voice in the product management community. As a systems overthinker and "on second thoughts" leader, he's an anomaly in this world of quick-fire bubblegum takes. John's hypothesis is simple - product management is messy and he loves nothing more than thinking about it and drawing lots of complicated diagrams to explain it. Here are some of John's weighty thoughts: John can get pretty in-depth, but there's plenty of room for targeted, optimised, "just do this" takes out there. As long as they're reducing the gatekeeping around product management not increasing it. There are lots of great teams out there not working as per the books. There are also great Big Tech-style practitioners who can only thrive in certain environments and would flounder anywhere else. Systems thinking is important for product managers trying to make sense of their product or organisation. Nothing is linear, everything is composed of self-reinforcing loops. Think you're a change agent? You're part of the system too! Systems thinking or otherwise, product people can have complicated messages that could sound esoteric or theoretical to non-product folks. It's important to find a way to land your message with your target audience. Sometimes you're going to have to build a feature & it might even be the best move! Work with your CEO, not against them, when they ask for a feature & make sure you know what game you're playing. John has an actionable 5-step plan (containing 6 steps) which enables you to work out what you want, what your colleagues want, demonstrate the value of product practices and, if all else fails, when to leave. You can hit John up on Twitter, or sign up to his mailing list The Beautiful Mess.
18 September 2022 •
Roger Snyder is the VP of Products & Services at the 280 Group, a leading training & consultancy firm in Silicon Valley. He's passionate about product management and wants to help you get better at the craft and put some data into your decision making. Here are some of Roger's insights: But you can't be a slave to them. Use these frameworks as a baseline to help you ask the right questions about your business, then use what you need for the situation you're in. Even the best training can't do it all, but it can be an accelerant. Training, certificates & certifications all have their place as part of your journey but you need to get rear-ended a couple of times. There's so much data out there that can help you make great decisions but don't just consume it blindly! You need to make sense of it to have the greatest impact, work out what metrics really matter & work out when "what matters" changes Many teams are still unable to make data-informed decisions due to lack of access, lack of tooling or stakeholder gatekeeping. Learn to tell stories about why it's important and ensure you explain the WIFM. It's important to set up a fact base for your product vision and populate it with the three Cs of product management: Company, Competitors and (of course!) Customers. You can then use all of that data to inform a compelling vision. Listen to the episode for this and more! You can reach out to Roger by email, or check out the 280 Group website.
11 September 2022 •
Allen Holub is a software development and agile consultant who wants to help you build better software and build software better. He's also not shy when it comes to telling the world what he thinks about product development via Twitter. Here are some of Allen's spicy takes: It's easy to get hired by the engineering team to help them learn how to make sausages better but the better goal is to work out if you want to make sausages, and you need top-level buy in for this You should be able to share your version of the truth in an open, direct way. If people don't like it, they can listen to someone else! Context is important, but it's not ivory tower thinking to try to change a system. Removing organisational blockers and waterfall thinking is important, but you can't just leave them to it and not support them. They need support to become a learning organisation. You don't need backlogs, you don't need scrum masters, you don't need Sprints. You don't need any of it. Scrum was just a way to make agile acceptable to bureaucratic micromanagers. But all frameworks fly against agile thinking. It's important that they're part of the development team, that they're not a silo, they aren't the boss or decision maker for the team & they aren't a replacement for the customer We don't need big long complicated specs, we don't need backlogs, estimates, story points or velocity charts. We'd be better off with index cards stuck to a wall (or Miro!) Listen to the episode for this and more! Allen is writing a book! Check out the progress of the book here. If you want to go to Allen's upcoming class on User Stories, check out the details here. You can reach out to Allen on Twitter, or book a chat with him.
4 September 2022 •
Claire Vo is a product & technology executive leader, startup founder and future Queen of TechTok, who believes that cynicism and a negative mindset is product and career-limiting, and that people need to stop asking permission to do their jobs. Here are some of Claire's insights about her career and approach to work: Claire moved to HealthTech because the opportunity was right. It's great to join a worthy company but you need a team you can work with, a problem you can contribute to & a company that needs your skills. There are a lot of benefits of having clear, joined up leadership between tech & product but it has to work for your organisation & you need a strong leader that ultimately supports the business and not one or other of the functions. Use frameworks as conversation starters and mechanisms to help you along but you still need to do the hard work of product management to actually make a difference in the world. Frameworks won't help you win on their own. It's possible for leaders to be credible & professional and have a sense of humour. It's important to bring your full self to work & to social media as long as you are respectful to your colleagues and customers. Just because work can be hard doesn't mean you should have a negative mindset. It's important to be realistic & critical but mix this with a sense of optimism, "how might we" attitude and empower yourself as a product manager or leader. There continues to be bias against women & mothers at work. Women have to live up to expectations that men don't. Claire beat the system by refusing to ask for permission to do her job, and you should too. Listen to the episode for this and more! You can reach out to Claire on Twitter, find her on LinkedIn, or most importantly on TikTok!
28 August 2022 •
About the Episode Whatever her job, Yana Welinder has always had a passion for improving broken experiences. She did this as Product Lead at Wikimedia, she did this as Head of Product at If This Then That, and now she's here as CEO of her own IoT firm, Kraftful. Here are some of Yana's insights on IoT & startups: Yana was Head of Product at IFTTT & they have an important mission - to make IoT devices interoperable. Yana wanted to solve an even greater pain - how to make them work well at all. She started a company to do this Early adopters have very technical needs & want more features. Mainstream users want good quality & ease of use. Early adopters are your biggest champions but you need a plan to scale past them Many investors have been burned by hardware projects and people want to knock you down. Also, not everyone is Adam Neumann - underrepresented founders can barely raise off the back of successes, let alone failures. AirTags have been in the news for stalking, but Apple have at least made an effort to fix that. Not everyone has their resources, but it's important to at least keep an eye on digital rights groups and try to stay clean Don't just throw yourself into something cool - make sure there's appetite for what you're building, go as lean as possible to start with and leverage No Code tools to help you get started quick Listen to the episode for this and more! You can reach out to Yana on Twitter.
21 August 2022 •
An interview with Chris Mason. Chris is an executive recruitment consultant who started his agency Intelligent People over 20 years ago. Chris is passionate about diversity & inclusion in recruitment, as well as helping product leaders in general land their next job. We speak about a lot, including: The state of the product hiring market today and how product management recruitment has changed over the last 20 years How product management has moved from IT to a strategic partner for product-led companies and when companies should hire a CPO Whether we're seeing more product practitioners getting a seat at the top table and how there are two main types of product leadership job Why you should be careful which job you wish for, and how to know when to stop trying to climb the career ladder Whether product job titles are getting more consistent and whether it's true that job titles don't matter Why women should consider not divulging their current salary as it can help to perpetuate gender biased salary and whether the gender pay gap is getting better or worse What hiring companies can do to make sure they're developing a diverse talent pipeline and the importance of hiring for "not fit" rather than culture fit And much more! You can find Chris at Intelligent People or check him out on LinkedIn.
14 August 2022 •
An interview with Russ Laraway. Russ was a Company Commander in the US Marines before entering Big Tech at Google, Twitter & Qualtrics. He also co-founded Radical Candor LLC with Kim Scott, and believes that anyone can be trained to be a good manager with the right approach. He wrote about this approach in his new book "When They Win, You Win". We speak about a lot, including: Why the world needs doesn't need another person's opinion on what makes a good manager, and how he wants to move away from opinions and move to data driven, measurable results How the US Marines set the stage for him to be a good manager, what moving to Big Tech taught him about focusing on results, and how the military can teach Big Tech a thing or two about Commander's Intent Why it was important to simplify the mission to make managers better, because most people aren't getting better and some are getting worse because there's so much conflicting information out there Why companies are so bad at developing managers, and how his STAC (Select, Teach, Assess, Coach) approach might help get us away from the best Individual Contributor getting thrown into the pit with no support How everyone wants to do great work & be totally psyched whilst doing it, and why people's direct managers are ultimately the key to making that happen The big three of Direction, Coaching, Career, how they can help managers thrive and the importance of helping managers not just concentrating on the stuff they're best at Whether managers are born or bred, and whether introverts or extrovert make the best managers And much more! I'm terrible at asking for money but if you would like to throw any spare change at me to prevent me having to read out tiresome generic podcast ads, you can buy me a coffee. If not, I love you all anyway! Check the book out wherever you get your books, or check it out on Amazon or the book website. I spoke to Russ's former colleague Kim Scott last year on the podcast about her book "Just Work" - it was a fantastic conversation and you can check it out here. You can find Russ on his website or check him out on LinkedIn or Twitter
17 July 2022 •
About the Episode An interview with Martina Lauchengco. Martina is a product marketing guru who once worked on MS Office before a glittering career in a variety of tech companies led her into partnerships with SVPG and Costanoa Ventures. She's recently released her new book, "Loved" to try to help product managers & founders get good at product marketing. We speak about a lot, including: Why she wanted to write a book to help early stage founders and product managers understand how to market their products to make sure they make a difference How most tech companies are getting their marketing wrong, what it looks like when they do, and what they should be doing instead The problems companies can have using traditional marketing approaches led by traditional market folks, and how any initial successes inevitably fade out Whether you need to go all in and drink the Product Marketing Kool Aid or can iterate your way to product marketing success Some of the traits of a good product marketer, how they are similar to product managers, whether you need specialised product marketers or it's just a mindset issue How soon you need product marketers and whether there's value in fractional roles helping you out when you're early Top tips for product managers who want to work effectively with their product marketing team, and treat them as equal partners in their product success And much more! I'm terrible at asking for money but if you would like to throw any spare change at me to prevent me having to read out tiresome generic podcast ads, you can buy me a coffee. If not, I love you all anyway! Check the book out wherever you get your books, or check it out on Amazon or the book website. You can find Martina on her personal website. Also, if you bought a copy of her book, you can send your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org for a free chat!
10 July 2022 •
An interview with Étienne Garbugli. Étienne is the lead instructor and CEO of Lean B2B, and a three-time startup founder. He's the author of three books: "Find your Market", "Solving Product" and "Lean B2B". The latter book is out for a second edition, and we decided to talk all about it. We speak about a lot, including: How the second edition has gone down, why there's a second edition at all and why this book matters to B2B entrepreneurs & product managers How the book can help both non-technical, subject matter expert startup founders as well as tech-first founders with little to no B2B experience The Lean B2B methodology, represented by its handy pyramid and key considerations at the various levels Vision: How to systematise your product vision, where to get started, and whether you need a Eureka moment Market: Working out who your target market is, the perils of going too wide, and how many people don't even really know what a market is Jury: Getting your buyers, approvers, users and even veto-ers together to ensure there's a good reception for your proposition Needs: The merits of good customer discovery and why we need to understand our buyers and sellers Offer: How to factor in risks, associated costs to your value proposition, and why it's important to separate the value from the specific solution Solution: How to get your MVP into the hands of early adopters, and whether all types of B2B customer are ready for MVPs What happens after the pyramid once you've validated your solution, and what product/market fit really means in a B2B sense And much more! I'm terrible at asking for money but if you would like to throw any spare change at me to prevent me having to read out tiresome generic podcast ads, you can buy me a coffee. If not, I love you all anyway! Visit The Book Website for more info, and links to Étienne's other books. You can find Étienne on LinkedIn, Twitter or visit his website.
3 July 2022 •
About the Episode An interview with Saielle DaSilva. Saielle is Director of User Experience at Cazoo, an online car marketplace. Saielle believes in "putting the soft back into software", is a well regarded conference speaker, and also came out as a transgender woman to her friends & colleagues a few months ago. We speak about a lot, including: Her work at Cazoo, helping to transform a traditional industry for the good of users & the planet, and what "putting the soft into software" really means The start of her journey, how long she's known she's a woman and how no one chooses to be transgender for fun or because of peer pressure Her disappointment with celebrities that she used to admire or support, how transgender people are unfairly labelled by people with zero knowledge, and how everyone should be humble enough to do the work and learn to be better The transition roadmap - how she got ready, the step-by-step approach she took, how she was happy to find people were generally supportive and not as hateful as the mainstream media often portray The letter she wrote to her colleagues when she came out at work, the level of detail she went into, types of inappropriate questions transgender women get and her desire to avoid living "reality TV" transgender How troublesome the "Hugh Grant" style bumbling apology for misgendering your colleagues can be, and why you should just apologise and move on What we can all do, both through our company culture and our own actions to ensure we foster a diverse, welcoming workplace and help our transgender colleagues feel accepted & safe And much more! Saielle is undergoing further surgery to help with her transition. If you would like to donate, please check out Saielle's fundraiser. If you want to donate to charities that support gender diverse charities, check out Mermaids in the UK, or The Trevor Project in the US. You can reach out to Saielle on Twitter or visit her blog.
28 June 2022 •
About the Episode An interview with Amogh Sarda. Amogh is a former Atlassian and Intercom product manager turned company founder with Eesel, a company that aims to take the pain away from managing your documents. He's also a keen improv comedian, and believes there are similarities between how you create an improv skit and how you make a winning product. We speak about a lot, including: The story behind founding Eesel, how they're trying to make finding your own documents as easy as finding President Obama's shoe size, and whether they can save us from Slack thread hell The pros & cons of starting a company with a founder who lives 10 hours' time difference away, and how to make it work for you The jump from big structured product company to startup life, how you have to identify your ground truths as well as accept the layers of uncertainty that will evolve as you go and making sure you don't change everything all the time How you should bring nuance to product principles, what this means and why sometimes it's worth spending some time in the solution space and working back to the problems His love of improv comedy, how he got into it, and how it maps to product management practices more than you might think: The base reality - working out where you're at and the unarguable truths of your situation The game - the key insights or ways that you can affect the base reality The funny scene / a great product - executing and bringing it all home The importance of keeping it simple, not getting sidetracked or going after everything you could And much more! I'm terrible at asking for money but if you would like to throw any spare change at me to prevent me having to read out tiresome generic podcast ads, you can buy me a coffee. If not, I love you all anyway! You can find Amogh on Twitter or check his blog, The Paperclip.
26 June 2022 •
An interview with Darby Maloney. Darby is a product manager and an avid TikToker who made an innocuous video about product management for her non tech friends and was all of a sudden centre stage for tech bros across TikTok and Twitter, getting criticised for being a woman in tech, for being a woman in a pool, for being a product manager and just about everything else. We talk about a lot, including: How she made the move into product management from customer support, got that tricky first product management job by putting extra hours in on top of her day job, and the importance of finding good mentors to help you along the way The story behind that video, why she was making a video about product management with a laptop in a swimming pool in the first place, and whether she stands behind her (and her colleague's) description of product management The three main types of criticism she got after the video went viral, how much of that was about her being a woman, how much was about her being a product manager and the crass double standards it exposed The effect of the abuse on her mental & emotional state, and how she started to worry about her job and the credibility that she had to work so hard for How young women in general have to work extra hard, in a way that young men don't tend to have to do, to prove that they're intelligent, reliable and good at their job How she tried to give due credit to engineers & designers for doing the "impressive" work and it why it was disappointing to be attacked in return The supportive comments that she got after the hate, how much this meant to her and how some people got in touch to admit wrongdoing and that they'd changed their minds Whether she's going to double down on tech videos in future, and if she does whether she'll do the next ones in a serious looking room with lots of books behind her And much more! A brief interruption from my sponsor - me! I'm terrible at asking for money but if you would like to throw any spare change at me to prevent me having to read out tiresome generic podcast ads, buy me a coffee. If not, I love you all anyway! Here's the original video that started it all off. The swimming pool video Darby also posted two follow up videos: Rebuttal 1 Rebuttal 2 You can find Darby on TikTok or Instagram. We're also trying to get her to spend more time on Twitter!
22 June 2022 •
An interview with Daniel Elizalde. Daniel is a Product Advisor to ClimateTech product teams and long time IoT guru. He's also recently decided to tackle some of the problems B2B product managers have getting their ideas to market. He's tackling this with his own podcast as well as new book "The B2B Innovator's Map". We speak about a lot, including: Why he decided to write his new book now, and how he tried to make it actionable and fresh with numerous real world examples from his own career and long experience consulting with B2B firms How the vast majority of B2B innovations fail, how his book aims to offer a solution to this and give a process to enable B2B product leaders to get from zero to their first ten customers (and who those ten customers should be) How his experience in Climate Tech has helped him come up with recommendations on how to frame seemingly esoteric B2B products in ways that resonate with those customers' real problems and drawing a line back to real world ROI The six stages of the B2B Innovators' Map (Strategic Alignment, Market Discovery, User Discovery, Solution Planning, Prototyping, Early Adopters), what they involve and when to double back The importance of cutting your losses with Early Adopters, and not succumbing to the temptation to do absolutely anything to keep a customer on board if you've proved it doesn't make sense for you in the wider context of your product The risks of coming to the end of the process with a niche product for a limited audience, and how to make sure that the things you're building are made generic for an entire market What comes after the B2B Innovator's Map and the importance of aligning next steps with your leadership team to take your learnings to the big time And much more! Visit The Book Website for more info. You can find Daniel on LinkedIn or DanielElizalde.com.
19 June 2022 •
A message from our sponsor Do you struggle with communicating with dev teams and understanding technical terminology and concepts? On episode 98, I hosted Irene Yu, founder of Skiplevel, an on-demand training program that helps professionals and teams become more technical in just 5 weeks... All without learning to code. Learn the knowledge and skills you need to better communicate with devs and become more confident in your day-to-day role with the Skiplevel program. Go to Skiplevel.co and use code OKIP75 to get $75 off the program by 15th June, 2022. An interview with Andy Budd. Andy is the founder of Clearleft, one of the UK's original design consultancies. He's now an in demand speaker, thought leader and advisor on the topics of design & entrepreneurship. We speak about a lot, including: The story behind his departure from day-to-day operations at Clearleft, how he believes that startup founders have a shelf life as CEO, and the importance of bringing new blood into the company as you scale The problems with getting design practices changed in established companies and why he's focusing now on going back to basics with early stage startups and working with founders to instill good design practices from the beginning Why it's important to get design into the startup as early as possible to apply structure and rigour, but how many founders have done more product discovery than we give them credit for How early product managers in founder-run startups are often brought in as the equivalent of short order chefs and the folly of trying to turn McDonalds in to a Michelin starred restaurant The common situation when early founders being people into the company to help apply process, get frustrated when everything slows down but how it's fair enough for founders to feel this since it's ultimately their business on the line How most companies should probably do more research but how most product designers should be more pragmatic and realise that ultimately they can help to sustain the business with less-than-perfect designs The trouble that product & design people can have getting to the top table, the things they might need to do to get there and how product & design teams are playing chess while the rest of the leadership team are playing poker And much more! You can find Andy on Twitter or check out andybudd.com
12 June 2022 •
A message from our sponsor Do you struggle with communicating with dev teams and understanding technical terminology and concepts? On episode 98, I hosted Irene Yu, founder of Skiplevel, an on-demand training program that helps professionals and teams become more technical in just 5 weeks... All without learning to code. Learn the knowledge and skills you need to better communicate with devs and become more confident in your day-to-day role with the Skiplevel program. Go to Skiplevel.co and use code OKIP75 to get $75 off the program by 15th June, 2022. An interview with Nicole Reineke. Nicole is a strategist and author with 75 patents to her name. She wanted to help others unlock the innovator within them and wrote "Compassion Driven Innovation" with a cross-functional group of co-authors. The book aims to give business owners and product leaders a proven methodology to defeat the Innovator's Dilemma and get the best innovation results. We speak about a lot, including: Some of the early reception for her book, how people have started to adopt it and use in within their organisations, and how she wrote it very cross-functionally with 2 co-authors from different fields Why she needed to "write the book she needed to read" after having been granted 75 patents and realising that there was a method to drive true innovation How she started off researching a number of companies to work out the four core root causes of innovation failure: Exclusivity, Missing the most pressing challenges, Overestimated value and Unsupported moon shots How this book tackles some of the gaps left behind by the classic Innovator's Dilemma and offers innovators a way to solve it The tale behind the compassion driven innovation methodology, how can it help mitigate the 4 different types of innovation failure, and the 4 stages of the compassion driven innovation process: Include, Discover, Enlighten & Activate. The importance of transparency and openness, using artifacts to ensure everyone knows why decisions are being made, and having political nous to make sure you get buy in and nip dissent in the bud Why it's essential to be able to pivot based on new information or data throughout the innovation cycle, not falling in love with your ideas and the perils of discovery theatre And much more! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. You can find Nicole on Twitter or LinkedIn
5 June 2022 •
A message from our sponsor Do you struggle with communicating with dev teams and understanding technical terminology and concepts? On episode 98, I hosted Irene Yu, founder of Skiplevel, an on-demand training program that helps professionals and teams become more technical in just 5 weeks... All without learning to code. Learn the knowledge and skills you need to better communicate with devs and become more confident in your day-to-day role with the Skiplevel program. Go to Skiplevel.co and use code OKIP75 to get $75 off the program in the next 30 days. An interview with Radhika Dutt. Radhika is a product leader, consultant & author of "Radical Product Thinking". This is actually the third time I've spoken to Radhika about some of the themes from her book, and product vision in general and on this episode we go deep on vision vs survival. We speak about a lot, including: How the book's going international these days into various markets, how it's going down there and whether she has plan for world domination Why she's not making the mistake of some product companies and avoiding getting seduced by expanding market share or increasing revenue by going to international markets unprepared Why revenue can never be your North Star or part of your vision at all, and how product companies need to learn to prioritise vision against survival The concept of vision debt where you just build stuff to survive, how much vision debt is healthy and how you're always going to have to pay it back The importance of storytelling when trying to sell the benefits of a vision-led approach and a lesson from the different strategic approaches Marvel & DC took with their films The idea of an ethical line in the sand which product people don't want to cross but how easy it is to accidentally cross it, not with one big mistake but many small ones Why you should examine your personal vision and survival metrics, make sure you stay true to yourself and take an ethical stand where you can And much more! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. 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 or our second episode Episode 92 - Digital Pollution & The Product Hippocratic Oath. You can find Radhika on Twitter or LinkedIn
29 May 2022 •
A message from our sponsor Do you struggle with communicating with dev teams and understanding technical terminology and concepts? On episode 98, I hosted Irene Yu, founder of Skiplevel, an on-demand training program that helps professionals and teams become more technical in just 5 weeks... All without learning to code. Learn the knowledge and skills you need to better communicate with devs and become more confident in your day-to-day role with the Skiplevel program. Go to Skiplevel.co and use code OKIP75 to get $75 off the program in the next 30 days. An interview with James Mayes. James is the co-founder and former CEO of Mind the Product, one of the world's leading product communities. James came on to talk about the recent acquisition of Mind the Product by Pendo, his new role as Product Evangelist for Pendo, and some of the themes he's talking about on his travels. We talk about a lot, including: Why the Mind the Product team decided to sell themselves to Pendo in the first place, why they did it now and whether they've maintained editorial independence post-acquisition Whether there was any concern that they might be doubling up or treading on each others' toes with the two sets of product conferences, podcasts and online communities His new role as a Product Evangelist, what that means for Mind the Product and for Pendo, and whether he's an evangelist for product management as a whole or for Pendo's solutions Whether he's the Pendo answer to John Cutler, the prospect of an arms race of content creation and whether James could beat John in an arm wrestle Whether there's a growing need for product advocacy to help product people be successful & some of the similarities with developer relations teams His continuing desire to support the growth of product teams and product processes but also the fundamental craft of product management Some of the thoughts on his mind right now about scaling product teams through technology & the missed opportunities of many attempted digital transformations And much more! You can email James at email@example.com or connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.
22 May 2022 •
A message from our sponsor Do you struggle with communicating with dev teams and understanding technical terminology and concepts? On episode 98, I hosted Irene Yu, founder of Skiplevel, an on-demand training program that helps professionals and teams become more technical in just 5 weeks... All without learning to code. Learn the knowledge and skills you need to better communicate with devs and become more confident in your day-to-day role with the Skiplevel program. Go to Skiplevel.co and use code OKIP75 to get $75 off the program in the next 30 days. An interview with Tessa Kriesel & Wesley Faulkner. Tessa & Wesley are passionate advocates for the craft of Developer Relations (DevRel), building communities and supporting users of products aimed at developers. We talk about a lot, including: What DevRel is, what they love about it and how there's not one boring DevRel person in the world Their journeys into DevRel and whether there's a standard career path for people trying to get into the trade The types of companies that need DevRel teams and how the concept of "developer-first" and "developer plus" products informs when you need to spin up a DevRel team Where DevRel sits within the organisation, the other functions it intersects with and whether it's really just a part of marketing Why it matters that business leaders understand the true value of DevRel rather than seeing them as one team to do just about anything that comes up Whether we need DevRel at all when the vast majority of PMs claim to be technical enough to talk to developers anyway The ways that DevRel and Product teams can work together, some of the things that DevRel teams need from PMs & what they can give back in return And much more! If you want to catch up with Tessa, you can reach out to her on Twitter, on Polywork, at TessaKriesel.com or check out Devocate If you want to catch up with Wesley, you can reach out to him on Twitter, on Polywork or check out his podcast Community Pulse.
15 May 2022 •
A message about mentoring I'm passionate about mentoring & think it is a high leverage activity for product managers as they develop in their careers. I mentored 76 people in Q1 2022 but have realised I don't scale so am working with a buddy to match mentors & mentees. Sign up here to be a mentor, mentee or both! An interview with Jim Morris. Jim's a product discovery & experimentation coach who wants teams to stop wasting their time with discovery if they're not going to do anything with it. He's currently running Product Discovery Group out in Silicon Valley. We talk about a lot, including: The goals of Product Discovery Group, the problems he helps to solve, how he got started as a product discovery coach and that time he hung out with Jeff Bezos How many companies see funding as the ultimate validation of their idea but forget to talk to their customers and check if the idea is actually viable for the business Why we need to remember that product discovery is not just there as an artificial stage gate to delay decision making and should always serve the overall business goals How there are bad product companies with good product managers and good product companies with bad product managers, and how Silicon Valley startups are in the same boat as the rest of us when it comes to good product discovery practices How we can bed product discovery in with leadership, how to persuade them that there's a different way to lead, and how to skill up product teams that have never done product discovery before The concept of a Solution Test, the importance of presenting multiple solutions, why you have to get interactive rather than just show stuff, and why you should never concentrate on usability first How to apply structure to your discovery data collection to make it easier to extract insights from the data and turn them into action And much more! You can reach out to Jim on Twitter, on LinkedIn or check out Product Discovery Group.
8 May 2022 •
A message about mentoring I'm passionate about mentoring & think it is a high leverage activity for product managers as they develop in their careers. I mentored 76 people in Q1 2022 but have realised I don't scale so am working with a buddy to match mentors & mentees. Sign up here to be a mentor, mentee or both! An interview with Sophia Höfling. Sophia is a former Head of Product at Babbel and now co-founder and Head of Product at Saiga, a Berlin-based productivity startup where they're aiming to save people from life admin. Sophia's passionate about life-centred design and collaborative product discovery. We talk about a lot, including: The mission behind Saiga and how they have started with a Wizard of Oz product as they try to work out the most important problems to solve The tricky transition from established product companies to new startup foundership and having to do everything yourself The concept of life-centred design and why we can't just listen to users but have to consider the holistic impact of our products on all stakeholders What to do when your customers don't care about the ethical merits of your product but you want to do the right thing anyway The importance of collaborative, rather than cooperative, product discovery and how to include people from outside the classic product trio in your discovery journey Whether doing all this discovery slows you down, whether that's OK and the importance of timeboxing discovery efforts to avoid getting caught in an infinite loop How to get buy-in for product discovery from sceptical leadership and convince them of the benefits of a good discovery flywheel And much more! Check out Sophia's articles on Medium, including It’s time we move to life-centered product development The importance of collaboration in product discovery (and how to get it right) If you want to catch up with Sophia, you can reach out to her on LinkedIn.
1 May 2022 •
An interview with Anna Maste. Anna is a software developer turned company co-founder who set up Boondockers Welcome with her mum. Having never owned an RV or had any dealings with the community, Anna engaged with said community via her mum's influencer status and ended up scaling the business and exiting. She's now back with her second company and going for it again in another industry. We talk about a lot, including: Explaining what the heck a "boondocker" is to this Brit, the problems they where having that were worth solving, and how they created a mix of Airbnb and Tinder to solve it Whether starting a company with your mum is the ultimate Mom Test and the pros and cons of working with close family members How she had no experience with the RV community, but used her RV influencer mum's experience to understand the needs that the community had and how they might solve them Some of the challenges of creating a digital platform for people that are by definition "off grid" and how the platform grew over time as mobile technology improved Whether playing the long game and working to build community relationships would have been possible if they'd been forced down the growth at all costs VC route How their successful exit came about, how they had to pick a company that they could trust to carry on their good name, and whether the community felt it was a betrayal or sell out How she's started a new company to solve a problem she had in her first company, and how she's going about engaging with a brand new community for the second time And much more! If you want to catch up with Anna, you can reach out to her on Twitter or check out Subscribe Sense.
24 April 2022 •
An interview with Dan Chapman. Dan is a British export to the US where he's busy building internal products to help make smart scientists more successful. Dan's strong on product principles but flexible on the details as he tries to transfer book talk into action for one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world. We talk about a lot, including: His work with Merck, how there are actually two Mercks and a summary of the differences between them and why they diverged The challenges & opportunities of working in product management when your end users are hardcore scientists, and whether this is the one time you actually do need to be an industry expert to be an effective product manager Whether situations like the Theranos scandal loom large over the medical research industry, and how "move fast & break things" doesn't work when people's lives are on the line That tricky balancing act where you're trying to be agile and move fast whilst working for a company (and an industry) that values process, predictability & compliance Whether working for a big multinational means he's defaulted to having to use SAFe and why legacy waterfall companies are attracted to such frameworks Whether being an introvert in product management is a barrier or a superpower, and how to survive all the meetings & presentations when your natural tendency is not to want to be in the room Why idealistic product principles only get you so far, how to work out which ones matter, which don't, and why waterfall might actually be the better option sometimes (🤢) And much more! If you want to catch up with Dan, you can reach out to him on LinkedIn or on Twitter.
17 April 2022 •
An interview with David Dylan Thomas. David is a product designer and self-taught expert in cognitive bias. He's now consulting with companies to help them make ethical product design decisions and is the author of "Design for Cognitive Bias", a book that aims to help us all understand the implicit biases that underpin our decision making when we design products. We talk about a lot, including: How he got into writing and consulting about cognitive biases in the first place, whether you need to go back to college to learn about this stuff and whether it's intimidating having your work reviewed by academic experts Why we have cognitive biases, how our brains are constantly lying to us, and how we'd struggle to cope with having to make a trillion decisions a day without them The importance of taking complicated scientific concepts back to a human level and making sure you can explain things like you would to a five-year-old How cognitive biases can manifest themselves when we're designing products, the most common biases that we might come across, and why the framing bias is by far the most dangerous bias of all Why it's sometimes important to insert speed bumps into our products rather than continuously trying to optimise for speedy decision making Some of the ways to interrupt cognitive biases in product design, including the red team / blue team approach and the Black Mirror test The importance of participatory design and giving the people most affected by bias the power to decide when something that affects them is actually ready to go And much more! Visit the book website or check it out on Goodreads. If you want to catch up with David, you can reach out to him at https://www.daviddylanthomas.com
10 April 2022 •
An interview with Moustapha Seck. Moustapha is a seasoned product professional and entrepreneur who cut his teeth in Canada before being inspired to go back to Africa to use his product management skills to build solutions for the poorest Africans. He's doing this with his new startup, Fluid, which aims to help derisk financial inclusion for marginalised communities. We speak about a lot, including: How he started out in engineering and moved into product management after finding that he got more joy out of working with & designing solutions for his users The core elements of product management, how they're not complicated individually but difficult to execute consistently, and how mentors can help you understand what's OK and what's not His journey from Canada to Africa to Canada to Africa and how the classic book Zero to One inspired him to tackle meaningful problems for Africa's poorest communities How Africa has a lot of opportunities to fix things as so many basic things don't work, how he identified the key problem to solve and the research he had to do to validate his idea The importance of leaving technology out of it when dealing with marginalised communities & how you have to do way more listening than talking in order to build trust His desire for entrepreneurs and investors to look across Africa, not just concentrate on the biggest markets and how to pick the right markets to enter into there Why it's important to enlist power users to build advocacy and help you co-create solutions in traditional industries that are not used to trying out new solutions The need to keep your power users close, but not too close as you try to work out how to build for the wider market and prepare to scale the business And much more! Moustapha called out some mentors that have shaped his product management career, including my good friend & previous podcast guest Saeed Khan. Check out Check out Saeed's episode here! If you're interested in Moustapha's company or the mission behind it, you can check out fluidfinance.co. You can find Moustapha on LinkedIn.
3 April 2022 •
An interview with Holly Schroeder. Holly is a Senior UX Researcher and passionate accessibility advocate who wants us all to get better at including everyone in our product design choices. She's also a recent contributor to a new UX book, 97 Things Every UX Practitioner Should Know. We speak about a lot, including: Her life as a UX researcher, the tension between business needs & user needs and the need to be pragmatic when finding a balance between the two Her passion for making sure that we design our products with accessibility in mind, and how come we're still in a situation where people aren't thinking about accessibility as a matter of course How only 3% of websites have been verified as accessible by the accessibility organisation WebAIM, and how we would feel if only 3% of buildings had ramps or 3% of pavements had dropped kerbs or curb cuts Some of the worst offenders when talking about (lack of) accessible design, how people are failing to get even the simple things right, how it's not just about screen readers, and how accessibility overlays are just putting lipstick on a pig Why we shouldn't be surprised that people aren't learning about accessibility when coding courses & boot camps don't even mention accessibility in passing Whether it's fair enough for startups to make the choice to "go fast and break things" and ignore accessibility, why we might consider slowing things down, and whether this is all the fault of tiresome tech bros The importance of including people with disabilities in user testing, but how accessibility is everyone's problem and how we shouldn't just rely on disabled people to do our homework for us And much more! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Holly has collated, and continues to maintain, an excellent list of accessibility resources. Check it out! You can find Holly on Twitter.
25 March 2022 •
An interview with Matt Arbesfeld. Matt is a Thiel Fellow and founder of LogRocket, a platfom that helps you understand problems affecting your users, so that you can get back to building great software & great products. Matt is passionate about using data to drive product decisions & helping to align all of the parts of the product trio around what's important for the product. We talk about a lot, including: The mission behind LogRocket, how they started out building a tool for developers before realising that product managers were coming and using it too How he went from a tech internships into company foundership, how this wasn't his first rodeo and how he's known his cofounder since he was 1 month old Whether they had trouble taking a developer-focused tool, abstracting just the right level of data for non-developer users, and why good UX isn't just for B2C apps How they validated the need for the product management use case and whether they tried to build everything with the same team or split everything by value stream The importance of being able to have data to monitor your product feature launches and the types of decisions you can quickly make if you have that data available How having one source of truth on your product can help to align all parts of the product trio and allow you to make good product decisions The story behind Thiel Fellowships and whether they help or hinder the tendency for tech firms to hire out of the same exclusive circles And much more! If you like the sound of LogRocket and want to check it out, try the LogRocket website? You can reach out to Matt on Twitter or LinkedIn.
20 March 2022 •
An interview with Princess Akari. Princess is a product manager at Brass where she's helping to disrupt the Nigerian banking industry. She's also passionate about supporting local product managers & standing up for the very value of product management via her community PeopleInProduct, the "Alcoholics Anonymous of Product Management". We talk about a lot, including: Her day job as a product manager building mobile applications for a disruptive fintech, and how they're taking on the banking industry in Nigeria Why someone who starts out with a degree in civil engineering and a job as a structural engineer subsequently moves into product management Her journey into product management, how it was difficult to get community support to ease the transition and how this gave her the idea to start up her own community The mission behind PeopleInProduct and how they aim to be a warm, inclusive community where people can share their issues & doubts but also celebrate their successes The problem with many Nigerian product companies not really understanding the value of product management, and how that manifests itself in the financial packages and the respect they're given How she feels that there's a need product managers to be more explicit about the value they're creating for the company & standing up for themselves How everything's always worse for women, how they're discouraged from coding or design and forced into "easy" product management jobs, and then struggle to get their voices heard once they're in there And much more! If you like the sound of PeopleInProduct and want to join in, or maybe use it as inspiration to set up your local version, why not check out PeopleInProduct? You can reach out to Princess on Twitter, LinkedIn. She also writes on Medium.
13 March 2022 •
About the Episode An interview with Dan Olsen. Dan's a product consultant, text adventure & interactive fiction fanatic and author of 2015's "The Lean Product Playbook", a book that aimed to help people innovate faster with minimum viable products and rapid customer feedback. We talk about a lot, and try to get as many tenuous 80s gaming references in as possible: Whether "The Lean Product Playbook", published in 2015, still holds up and how a new generation of product managers are finding it for the first time, and why it wasn't published as a Choose Your Own Adventure book Given that software is eating the world, whether it's good software and good product companies doing the eating, or whether there's a dastardly bad product Pac-Man on the loose How his passion for interactive fiction & text adventures was good practice for getting deep into the problem space, and whether product managers even belong there The need to develop a common vocabulary with users, being able to use the right words and ask the right questions to get the results you need from discovery and prototyping The key attributes you need on your Character Sheet to be a good product manager, and how a wide dynamic range of abilities can help you succeed in your quest What to do to battle HIPPOs when they come crashing through the door trying to derail your roadmaps and why it all stems from starting the quarter at 120% capacity and having no protection from incoming Asteroids The types of tasks that product managers should carry in their limited inventory, and why they need to advocate for the value of hiring other disciplines and not just fill in gaps And much more! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. If you want to catch up with Dan, you can reach him on Twitter or his website dan-olsen.com.
6 March 2022 •
An interview with Richard Awe. Richard is a Senior Business Analyst with the European Central Bank who got bored writing all those requirements documents & user stories, and decided to build a tool to help him do that at scale. He's now here with Requstory, a platform that aims to help people write user stories fast. A day in the life of a business analyst at the European Central Bank, the sorts of projects he's working on, and whether banks can ever be truly agile How he moved from training as a scientist and wannabe process engineer to business analyst because he loved being close to the users & engineers What a business analyst actually does and how similar it is or isn't to being a product manager or product owner on an agile team How working on a big project & having to write loads of user stories led him to build a no-code tool to help him do that quicker.. and how interest from friends & colleagues made him decide to make it ready for primetime How he's managing the user feedback and trying to keep focused on delivering real value rather than any niche feature that comes up Some of the characteristics of a good or bad user story and how the ultimate point is always to be something that starts off a discussion When user stories might not work for you, the different types of stories you can use, what some of the alternatives might be & whether they're really just interchangeable And much more! You can reach out to Richard on Twitter or check out Requstory.
27 February 2022 •
An interview with Melissa Perri. Melissa is a product leader, educator, board member, consultant, coach and also the author of one of the best books on product management, "Escaping the Build Trap". These days she's an evangelist for the role of product operations and setting up CPOs for success in the executive suite. We talk about a lot, including: Revisiting Escaping the Build Trap, what the build trap is, why people find themselves there and why they struggle to get out How her thinking has evolved since the book, and why she believes that product operations is a critical lever for scaling organisations What product operations is, how it enables you to scale, and the three pillars of product ops transformation that companies tend to go through Whether it's fair to label product operations as the revenge of process people or whether that's a total misrepresentation Why we should always be looking to optimise how we're working, not just sticking to what has worked in the past because it worked in the past The need for strong CPOs so that product teams have a seat at the top table, why this is essential for product led companies and at what stage you need them What the CPO role actually involves, what product people need to do to get good at it, and the tendency for product people to lack the confidence for the top table And much more! Check it out on Amazon, or on Goodreads. You can also check out book website. Melissa is writing a new book on product operations with her friend & colleague Denise Tilles. Check out the progress on ProductOperations.com. You can reach out to Melissa on Twitter or check out MelissaPerri.com.
18 February 2022 •
An interview with Katerina Suchkova. Katerina is a product leadership coach with Ahead of Product. She's passionate about helping people up the product management career ladder, and helping them work out how to be their real selves. We talk about a lot, including: Her journey into coaching and how much joy it gives her to watch people getting better at what they do and elevating their confidence at work The product management career ladder, the transition points along the way and whether the ladder actually exists in most companies Whether the lack of real definition or understanding of the value of product management is actively blocking the existence of such a ladder The importance of taking a step back and understanding what your own motivations are, being what you want to be not what you think people think you should be How to manage the transition into product leadership, identifying your strengths & weaknesses and how to handle the conversation with your manager The importance of widening your perspective to make sure people see your potential for leadership rather than just seeing you as a good individual contributor The things you need to let go of to be a good leader, what you need to forget and let go of if you want to enable your teams to be the most effective they can be And much more! You can reach out to Katerina on LinkedIn or check out Ahead of Product.
16 February 2022 •
An interview with Holly Hester-Reilly. Holly is the founder of H2R Product Science, a consultancy that aims to help companies large & small build high growth products by following a scientific approach to product development. We talk about a lot, including: The mission behind H2R Product Science, her belief that there's a science to building products and the types of problems she can help to solve How she got a gig as Head of Product & Engineering at YourBase, whether she thinks CPTOs are a positive trend and whether there are disadvantages to having combined tech & product leadership The five step Product Science success path, what those steps looks like and how not all companies start at the first step The timescale for impact from the Product Science process, how it's not a quick fix, and whether it fits with all companies' timescale expectations The need for strong product leadership to take up the baton when she moves on, and how Holly jumped the product leadership leadership chasm herself How life isn't like the books & whether product managers should just get on with it or try their best to drive transformative change through the companies they work for Using the "Built / Learned / Planning" product demo format to help build a ripple effect through the whole company and bed in the concept of a learning organisation And much more! Holly's all about product discovery, but she hasn't written a book yet! I asked her to recommend a book on product discovery that was not Teresa Torres's book Continuous Discovery Habits. Holly recommends that book but also Lean UX. She also promises to write her own book one day. You can reach out to Holly on Twitter or check out H2R Product Science.
13 February 2022 •
An interview with Derek Osgood. Derek is a former Playstation product manager who turned to product marketing and realised that there was a big problem keeping aligned with product management around go-to-market launches. He's now started Ignition, a go-to-market platform aiming to help solve this problem and get teams releasing products more effectively. We talk about a lot, including: The mission behind his conpany Ignition and how they're trying to solve the problems many product marketing teams have getting products out to market How he chose the features for the MVP of his product, how he realised that this limited feature set wouldn't do the trick and why he had to go wide to cover a variety of smaller pain points to really win in the market Why he advocates white glove treatment and eschewing product led growth for early products in order to get good early customer feedback, but how you should still follow PLG principles to ensure you have a compelling user experience Why we still need go-to-market plans even when we're living in an agile world, and how product marketing is necessarily more waterfall Why it's so important to get product marketing up front to the beginning of the product development process so they know what's coming and why, and aren't just thrown a grenade at the last minute The impact that a lack of launch planning can have on a release, how people can end up spending too much or too little time on the wrong things, and the importance of having a coherent launch process What a perfect product launch plan looks like and why it involves the product marketing teams doing their own research to optimise their messaging, not just rewriting other people's product specs in a different style And much more! You can reach out to Derek on LinkedIn or check out his company Ignition.
4 February 2022 •
An interview with Merina Khanom. Merina is a Product Manager at BBC iPlayer, which she boldly names as the inspiration for Netflix, and a passionate advocate for increasing diversity & inclusion within product companies as well as the wider product community. We talk about a lot, including: Her work for BBC iPlayer, how she took her passion for mobile solutions into product management, and whether mobile product management is easier or harder than other types of product management How her CV doesn't look like anyone else's, how she took a non-linear path in product management, and the challenges of getting past recruitment filters when you have a different-sounding name How she felt when she found out she was the only hijab-wearing Muslim woman in the history of BBC iPlayer, and why it's reductive and lazy to blame that on a pipeline problem The problems with breaking into tech when you have no role models that look like you, and the problems you can have getting taken seriously if people have never seen someone that looks like you working in the role How the killing of George Floyd affected her personally & gave her the energy to speak up & take a stand for racial equality at work, and some of the challenges marginalised people can have opening up when they've been bullied into submission Some of the initiatives she helped kick off at work, and how she tried to work with product conferences & communities to challenge the lack of diversity on their rosters Why a lack of diversity & inclusion is everyone's responsibility, not just something for marginalised people to sort out or advocate for alone And much more! You can reach out to Merina on LinkedIn.
28 January 2022 •
An interview with Crystal Parker. Crystal is a Product Manager at Spear Education and an entry-level career coach. She's using her personal experience of getting into product management to help others do the same through her coaching, where she aims to map out a strategy and work out their golden path to that first product management role. We talk about a lot, including: The mission behind Spear Education, what it's like building an analytics platform for dentists and how she built up her dental domain knowledge How she got into product management in the first place, why it's the perfect job for her and how she got past the interview process given that she had zero product management experience How she upped her product management game once she got in, how she managed to "finesse the rest", and the resources she used to build her product management skills Her passion for mentoring others & how it led her to start coaching those following her and help get people from non-traditional backgrounds into tech careers where they belong How she gets strategic with the people she's coaching to map out their path to success and how that's informing a new e-book which will allow the wider world to follow the Crystal Parker approach (™?) The sorts of things you shouldn't really waste your time on when trying to get that first product management role, and where to best focus your efforts instead Some of the gateway positions you could consider to get into a product company, get close to the product management team & eventually transfer into the role you're after And much more! You can reach out to Crystal on Twitter or check out her website crystalaparker.com.
22 January 2022 •
An interview with David Bland. David is a Lean consultant who aims to help you make good business decisions by testing your business ideas and making sure they're worth pursuing. He's doing this through his day job as founder of Precoil, and also as the co-author of "Testing Business Ideas", a desk reference with 44 different experimental techniques you can use to do the same. We talk about a lot, including: The story behind "Testing Business Ideas", the idea behind the visual design, and how it's part of a box set that will make you the ultimate businessperson Whether there's anything he would have change from his book based on his work since, and whether there are any new techniques that people should be considering Some of the preconditions you need to have in your organisation to enable an experimentation culture, and whether this can work at all stages of a company How to tackle the reluctance to experiment with customers, either because they're seen as too important or because the company leadership think they already know what they want The importance of ethical experiments, and making sure you're working with customers & not on them or against them How assumption mapping can help land the idea of risk of desirability, feasibility, viability risks and how this framing can help pierce leaders' reality distortion fields The importance of balancing discovery & delivery and ensuring that discovery & validation is part of the work, not an optional extra And much more! Check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. If you want to catch up with David, you can reach him on Twitter or LinkedIn. You can also check out his work at Precoil.
16 January 2022 •
An interview with Dan Balcauski. Dan is a pricing & packaging consultant who is aiming to demystify the world of high-volume SaaS pricing and support this via his own consultancy, Product Tranquility. We talk about a lot, including: The mission behind Product Tranquility, the problems they solve and some of the ways they can help you get your product packaging & pricing strategy right The pros & cons of the three main pricing models; cost plus, competition based pricing and value based pricing Why it can be dangerous to "herd", where everyone is following everyone else's pricing models but no one's done the research to see if that pricing's right Some of the early warning signals of bad pricing that you can look out for before you go bankrupt The 4-step plan a company should go through to identify its target market, the value the product brings, the competitive alternatives & the pricing model that can support it The importance of keeping packaging simple so that customers can understand what they're going to get & salespeople are able to sell it effectively Why freemium pricing is "almost always a bad idea" - some of the downsides of this approach and what you can do instead And much more! You can reach out to Dan on LinkedIn or check out his pricing blog on Product Tranquility.
12 January 2022 •
An interview with Richie Lokay. Richie is the VP of Product Design & Services at Wunderkind, a "one-to-one performance marketing engine". Richie is passionate about the field of performance design and driving for a world where user experience meets customer experience. We talk about a lot, including: The mission behind Wunderkind, how they're balancing white glove services with products & tools to enable them to scale The importance of mixing big picture strategy with an understanding of how the sausages are made, and knowing when to hand over to people with more suitable skills The importance of having a good working dynamic between product, design & engineering teams, with each contributing their own unique skills to the mix Why you need to get designers up the front of the funnel and make them true partners, and how to weigh up strategic decision making with actually having time to do the design Whether it's possible for designers & developers to work well together in an agile, iterative fashion The importance of good design systems as enablers for scale and how they can enable the big picture work The concept of pioneers, settlers & town planners, what kind of mix you need in your team and who thrive in which environment And much more! You can reach out to Richie via email of all places firstname.lastname@example.org. He's social media averse!
8 January 2022 •
An interview with Hanne Ockert-Axelsson. Hanne is a Senior Product Manager at accuRx, a UK-based Healthtech company revolutionising the world of General Practioners (GPs) in the UK National Health Service (NHS). Hanne formerly worked at various NGOs and health-focused organisations before seeking out digital product management to make a measurable impact quickly. We talk about a lot, including: The mission behind accuRx, how their solution got into the hands of 98% of GP practices in the UK, and how healthcare providers deserve great products like the rest of us How she got her first product job without any experience, and used her passion for healthcare to become the first product hire at accuRx The resources she used to level up her game once she'd got that first job, and the one key book she'd recommend to other people making the move Her passion for high performing teams, what that means to her and some of the ways she tries to help build a performant culture The difference between Big Tech product management & other companies and why it's important to get in the trenches with your team Why you shouldn't fix what ain't broke when moving into a new team, to avoid demoralising people and losing their buy in to fix the real problems How to be a good team leader, the importance of identifying your leadership style, being your authentic self but the being best version of yourself where required And much more! You can find Hanne at Twitter, LinkedIn or check out her writing on Medium.
4 January 2022 •
An interview with Jonathon Hensley. Jonathon is a digital transformation consultant who has seen the problems of misalignment up close and wanted to help companies avoid it. He's the recent author of "Alignment", a book that aims to show how companies need to drive for alignment through the business to avoid internal sabotage costly product failure. We speak about a lot, including: How misalignment within companies represents a billion dollar problem and how this spurred him to write the book to help avoid that His definition of alignment, why it's not as simple as people think it is, and how he structures it into four pillars Some of the early warning signs of misalignment in a company, and why it all starts from having a measurable product strategy What happens when companies are misaligned, how toxic it can be to innovation, and how it can impact team morale How some companies seem permanently misaligned and whether it's even possible for misaligned companies to succeed The importance of aligning incentives & breaking out of solos, avoiding cognitive dissonance & aligning on a common language Why leaders need to be honest, open to new input, self-reflective and humble and why the HIPPO can't be the loudest voice driving a decision And much more! Visit Amazon for more info. You can find Jonathon at Emerge or LinkedIn.
31 December 2021 •
An interview with Wolfgang Bremer. Wolfgang is the Head of Design at Elli, an electric vehicle company that is part of the Volkswagen group. Wolfgang wants to help make people's lives simpler through design, build true cross-functional relationships and is passionate about getting designers a seat at the table and making them valued business partners. We speak about a lot, including: The mission behind Elli and some of the considerations & challenges of creating physical products where you actually have to make things Why he tends to bounce from big company to small company and vice versa, the pros & cons of each type of company and whether, given Volkswagen own Elli, he's in a small company or a big company right now Some key considerations you need to think about when hiring designers depending on the size of your company and what you might optimise for The problems that silo thinking can bring, where you have designers, product and engineering throwing grenades backwards and forwards over the fence Why it's so important for designers to be true business partners and some of the problems it can cause when they're not Whether it's important to have a CXO representing the design team at the top table, or whether it really matters who the team reports through Some of the hallmarks of bad managers, how even small things can make a difference, and some principles to live by when trying to build effective teams And much more! You can join Wolfgang's 20K followers (and counting) on Twitter or visit bremer.co.
24 December 2021 •
An interview with Phyllis Njoroge. Phyllis is a product manager, cognitive scientist and now author of "From Fraud to Freedom". Phyllis wants us all to know that imposter syndrome is something that can be tackled, and wrote a book to help us examine how to tackle an issue that affects many product managers due to the ambiguity of our roles. We speak about a lot, including: Her book, from Fraud to Freedom, and how it digs into what Imposter Syndrome actually is and whether everyone has it Her journey into product management, and whether going into an industry she had no experience in made her imposter syndrome worse The problems of getting into self-reinforcing negative feedback loops and the ways you might intervene to stop you sabotaging yourself How imposter syndrome isn't just in your head but can be imposed on marginalised groups by a society that gives every impression that you don't belong there How imposter syndrome isn't something that goes away with seniority or perceived success, and how these might even make it worse Whether her background in cognitive sciences informed the book, and how she used that background to examine the cognitive biases that reinforce imposter syndrome Whether product managers are more prone to imposter syndrome due to the vague, ambiguous nature of many product management roles And much more! Visit The Book Website for more info. You can find Phyllis on LinkedIn or Twitter.
21 December 2021 •
An interview with Ebenezer Ikonne. Eb is an experienced product leader and social scientist who wanted to contribute to the product leadership community. To support this goal, he's recently published a book, "Becoming a Leader in Product Development" which aims to help us all take a long, hard look at our leadership practices and make us the best leaders we can be. We speak about a lot, including: How most leaders are winging it, with teams that are successful in spite of the leader in question, and how effective teams can hide ineffective managers The chain of leadership mediocrity; how people are left to work out leadership on their own, with their only role models being people that were left to work it out on their own Why the world needed another leadership book and how he sees it as the healthy alternative to "microwave thought leadership" & meaningless leadership memes Whether we need "assigned leaders" these days in this lean & agile world and whether it's really true that "everyone's a leader" What good leadership looks like, and why it should be more than whether the job got done but how the job got done The often discussed, poorly understood concept of servant leadership, what it really means, why it's important and whether it can be taken too far Why it's so important to take care of yourself as a product leader, how leadership is hard and how you can't be a good leader if you don't take care of yourself And much more! Visit Amazon or Goodreads for more info. Eb has a YouTube channel! Check it out Joy at Work. You can find Eb on LinkedIn or Twitter.
19 December 2021 •
An interview with Irene Yu. Irene is a former software developer for up-and-coming everything store Amazon, where she found herself mentoring non-technical product managers to help them get better at tech. Inspired by her success, she left to found Skiplevel, a technical training startup aimed at teach actually useful tech skills to product managers & non tech founders. We talk about a lot, including: The mission behind Skiplevel and how she's trying to provide a good and easy place to learn useful technical knowledge for non-engineering tech workers What being technical means, why being technical is helpful, and the importance of giving PMs and founders confidence to have constructive conversations with engineering The target audience for Skiplevel and whether it's suitable for the wider business or focused relentlessly on PMs and founders Why learning to code is not the best way to learn technical skills and how learning a broad set of technical concepts is superior The four pillars of technical knowledge that Skiplevel teaches and how they contribute to helping people go wide not deep Whether product managers even need to be technical, whether coding interviews are appropriate, and why companies use them The potential risks of people knowing enough to contribute but not enough to make decisions, but then trying to make them anyway And much more! If you want to get better at tech & go beyond learning how to code toy apps for the sake of it, why not check out Skiplevel.co? You can reach out to Irene on Twitter.
15 December 2021 •
An interview with Brian Shen. Brian is Product Director and head of Product Ops at ClickUp, an all-in-one productivity platform that you've definitely seen an advertisement for recently. ClickUp are taking aim at JIRA and other productivity platforms and aim to "save you one day a week". The company is on a hypergrowth path and Brian is trying to ensure the team remains effective along the way. We talk about a lot, including: What ClickUp does, how it's different from other productivity tools, and how they can "save you one day a week" How they can avoid becoming the next JIRA, and how they aim to keep UX at the centre & develop a fully integrated solution How they use Product Ops at ClickUp and whether it's fair to label Product Ops as merely "process people" or whether they're strategic enabler for the business How using ClickUp within the product team helps them to build a tool that helps product people build products using ClickUp Some of the challenges of running a product team during hypergrowth & some of the things they've had to change along the way The problems with "unintentional communication", why you have to vary your message for your audience and the importance of telling a coherent story How to prepare for a live talk to thousands of people at your company conferences and how stretch experiences like this help you become a better leader And much more! If ClickUp sounds good to you, and you want to see if you can save one day a week, why not check out ClickUp.com? You can reach out to Brian on LinkedIn.
12 December 2021 •
An interview with Sigurd Seteklev. Sigurd is the co-founder of Y Combinator backed Kitemaker, a startup that is trying to enable true cross-team collaboration and empowered product development teams. He is keen to ensure that people have the ability to step beyond JIRA, and boldy claims to be the tool that "people who want to work like Marty Cagan says" should use. The story behind Kitemaker, the problems they're trying to solve, and why you need to step beyond bug trackers Why it's critical to empower cross-team collaboration and getting everyone into the same tool so they don't have to log in everywhere How they're hoping to use Kitemaker to help drive home "proper" product practices but how it's not possible to solve it with software alone Whether he's trying to force people to work in a very specific way or whether they believe in flexibility in the process The problem with dogmatically following product processes & going through the motions & the importance of cultural change How good product development teams all look different, whilst not good teams look similar, and some of the hallmarks of good teams How you might try to change a company that isn't working the way you want to work, and the importance of matching type of company to your interests And much more! If Kitemaker sounds good to you, why not check out Kitemaker.co and see what the fuss is about? You can reach out to Sigurd on LinkedIn or Twitter.
8 December 2021 •
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! Visit Amazon or Goodreads for more info. You can find Brendan on BrendanMcAdams.com or Twitter
1 December 2021 •
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! Visit the book website for more info. 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. You can find Eva at The Inclusive Safety Project or Twitter
28 November 2021 •
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! Visit the book website for more info. 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? You can find Ian on Peterman Design Firm or LinkedIn
25 November 2021 •
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! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. 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. You can find Radhika on Twitter or LinkedIn
21 November 2021 •
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! You can contact Gabriele on Twitter or coinrule.com.
16 November 2021 •
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! Visit the book website. You can contact Daniel on Twitter or check out his company at Lolly Co.
7 November 2021 •
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! You can contact Anthony on Twitter or LinkedIn.
29 October 2021 •
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! You can contact Anna on Twitter or LinkedIn.
22 October 2021 •
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! If you don't have a Polywork account already you can sign up using this VIP link and check it out. You can contact Matt at Polywork and Peter either on Polywork or Twitter.
17 October 2021 •
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 Steve's a published musician! Check his work out on Spotify. You can find Steve on Twitter or LinkedIn. His consultancy website is https://www.under10consulting.com/.
13 October 2021 •
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! 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 You can find George on Twitter or LinkedIn. His personal website is https://nurijanian.com/.
10 October 2021 •
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! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. You can find Rich on Twitter or LinkedIn. You can also check out Rich Mironov's Product Bytes here.
5 October 2021 •
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! You can find Jas on Twitter or LinkedIn. You can also check out his consultancy Bitsul.
2 October 2021 •
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! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. You can find Radhika on Twitter or LinkedIn
28 September 2021 •
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! Why not visit the website to find out more about Survival Metrics? You can find Adam on Twitter. He's also got a Substack mailing list and his website is theadamthomas.com
22 September 2021 •
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! Check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. You can contact Giff on Twitter or LinkedIn. He also has a blog at GiffConstable.com.
15 September 2021 •
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! 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.
8 September 2021 •
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! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. You can contact Michele on Twitter or check out deployempathy.com.
1 September 2021 •
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! You can reach out to Carlos on LinkedIn or LastresCarlos.com. You can check out Kaiyan Medical on KaiyanMedical.com.
24 August 2021 •
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! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. You can contact Peter or Braxton on LinkedIn.
18 August 2021 •
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! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. You can contact Rand on Twitter or check out sparktoro.com.
4 August 2021 •
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 If you want to find out more about Paul's company, check out aampe.com. You can catch up with Paul on LinkedIn or Twitter.
30 July 2021 •
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! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. You can contact Ramli on Twitter, LinkedIn or productled.com. 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?
27 July 2021 •
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! You can reach out to Abisoye on LinkedIn or Twitter.
23 July 2021 •
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! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. 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.
20 July 2021 •
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! You can check out the Launch Day website or connect with John on LinkedIn or Twitter.
14 July 2021 •
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! You can check out the Productboard website or connect with Hubert on LinkedIn or Twitter.
9 July 2021 •
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! If you want to catch up with Chris, you can reach him on LinkedIn, Twitter or check out his company Otus
4 July 2021 •
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! If you want to catch up with Korbinian, you can reach him on LinkedIn or check out his company Insaas.ai
30 June 2021 •
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! If you like the sound of Henry's product training programme, check out the Prod MBA website for more details. Henry has two books: Check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. Check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. If you want to catch up with Henry, you can reach him on LinkedIn.
25 June 2021 •
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! 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. If you want to catch up with Emily, you can reach her on LinkedIn or Twitter.
22 June 2021 •
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 report here: State of Product Management in Africa Report. 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
18 June 2021 •
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! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. If you want to catch up with Rajesh, you can reach him on LinkedIn, Twitter. You can also visit his website prodify.group
15 June 2021 •
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! 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! 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. If you want to catch up with Rhiana, you can reach her on LinkedIn or Rhiana's Medium page
11 June 2021 •
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! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. If you want to catch up with Julia, you can reach her on LinkedIn or her website productdoctor.co.uk
8 June 2021 •
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! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. If you want to catch up with Christina, you can reach her on Twitter or her website wodtke.com.
1 June 2021 •
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 If you want to catch up with Udhaya, you can reach him on LinkedIn.
29 May 2021 •
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! You can contact Rekha on LinkedIn.
26 May 2021 •
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 Stephanie wants you to start using the PES to measure your product engagement. Find out more about that on the Product Engagement Score website. 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.
21 May 2021 •
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 If you want to catch up with David, you can reach him on LinkedIn, Twitter or read his work on Medium.
18 May 2021 •
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 You can find Samuel on Twitter, LinkedIn or Samuel's website.
14 May 2021 •
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! Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads. You can contact Wes on Twitter, LinkedIn or productled.com.
11 May 2021 •
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! You can reach out to Stephanie on LinkedIn or Twitter.
7 May 2021 •
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 Just Work Radical Candor Get in touch with Kim You can check out Kim's work on the Just Work website, or follow her on Twitter.
4 May 2021 •
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 "Resumes are overrated, show me what you've built" Check out the SIDE PRJCT website. You can reach out to Polina on LinkedIn.
30 April 2021 •
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 Nacho's book, "Product Direction" is available in all the usual places. Check it out! Product Direction website. If you speak Spanish, why not try Nacho's podcast Conversaciones de Producto. You can reach out to Nacho on LinkedIn or Twitter.
27 April 2021 •
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! It's ok, we can have an open relationship. Check out Nis's podcast This is Product Management. You can reach out to Nis on LinkedIn or Twitter.
21 April 2021 •
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! Gib answers the most upvoted questions once a week on his newsletter, Ask Gib. Sign up here and never be bereft of content again. 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! You can contact Gib on Twitter, LinkedIn or gibsonbiddle.com.
14 April 2021 •
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 You can find out about Reeview on Reeview's website or Reeview @ Product Hunt. You can find Nichole everywhere. A few places included Product Hunt, LinkedIn, Twitter or their own website nicholeelizabethdemere.com
7 April 2021 •
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! 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. You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn.
31 March 2021 •
An interview with Emily Reid. Emily is a Product Manager for FCT, a Canadian insurance company, as well as consulting for AgeRate, a healthtech startup. Emily is passionate about demystifying data and is leading FCT's charge towards being a data-driven, API-enabled company. We talk about a lot, including: The most important question - is it "this data" or "these data"? The pros & cons of working for a big, established firm and the imperative to move to a more agile mindset Why she moved from banking into product management, and the misogynistic attitudes she was trying to get away from How she skilled up in product management hard skills, as well as data science fundamentals The importance of embracing not being the smartest person in the room How a background in biotech at uni helped her really explain complicated concepts The importance of picking good product metrics & why you need stats knowledge to be an effective PM How data science isn't the be all and end all, how to factor failure into the process, and why we might see a new breed of data science specialist product managers Why unsolicited internet advice is never welcome and people should just stop How she has been judged and patronised as a young, up and coming, blonde woman in technology And much more!
24 March 2021 •
An interview with Moshe Mikanovsky. Moshe is a Senior Product Manager for Procom, a Canadian-based recruitment company, as well as a blogger and budding podcaster. We speak about a lot, including: His journey from developing software for the Israel Defence Force to Product Management, how agile the army was, and what it taught him The difference in working cultures between Israel, the USA and Canada, and how he has navigated them His side hustle as a product consultant for a "social media for content creators" His passion for transforming companies, and bringing in agile processes & practices What do do when Agile transformation doesn't work and how to keep it relevant The importance of building his personal brand, and his plans for a new podcast focused on "Products for Product Managers" His plans to pay it forward by writing blogs, appearing on webinars, and sharing his expertise with others And much more!
17 March 2021 •
An interview with April Dunford. April is a Positioning Consultant and author of 2019's "Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It". We speak about a lot, including: The origin of "Obviously Awesome", why she self published and how publishers don't like "doing" books How taking over a failing product and repositioning made it a success, and showed her the power of good positioning for the exact same product How conferences and publishers reacted in horror at the concept of positioning content, and how it's swung back into fashion these days The shocking story of what happened when she asked a real author for advice and what they said about her book The problem with "fill in the blanks" positioning statements and why they won't help, and might harm The importance of positioning against your actual competition and not just your direct competitors Why Product Market Fit doesn't exist, isn't operationally useful, and is a VC pipe dream The importance of creating a market point of view story to help land your positioning and drive alignment across the organisation How you can use the POV story to help people buy your offering over that of your competitors And much more!
10 March 2021 •
An interview with Yoav Farbey. Yoav is a Senior Product Manager at PARK NOW, an international company aiming to find you parking spaces and ensure you don't have to fumble around for spare change when you get one. Yoav has travelled from Computer Science to foundership, Product Analyst, Product Consultant and now leading teams and pushing design thinking. We talk about a lot, including: The age old battle about whether "Product Owner" should be a job title of its own, and how it differs from being Product Management Starting his own startup because engineering wasn't for him, how it went and why he called it quits Getting into Product Analytics as a first step, how it helped him be better Product Manager What it was like working for a consultancy, and how he managed to keep engaged when the client relationship is so transitory Using design sprints in the wild, getting engagement and how to get buy in and demonstrate their value What to do when you can't get a design sprint going, and how to use the best aspects in shorter sessions How to help large corporations make products effectively and communicate efficiently How SAFe isn't all that bad really (the humanity!) And much more!
6 March 2021 •
An interview with Petra Wille. Petra is a Product Leadership Coach and author of the new book "Strong Product People - A Complete Guide to Developing Great Product Managers". We speak about a lot, including: How a desire to affect change at scale moved her away from individual coaching to coaching Product Leaders How she happened upon Product Management by being the best communicator on the development team How a desire for a practical Product Leadership playbook led her to write her own The importance of setting expectations and making incremental progress and not always aiming for perfect The challenges of selling good Product thinking to senior management and some approaches to do it The challenge of getting good management experience and becoming a good people manager without focused coaching Some of the challenges facing women Product Leaders and if it's getting better or worse Whether it's necessary to have a background in development to be an effective PM, or if it's even desirable When to stick at a Product job and try to make it better, and when it's time to leave The importance of making time for people development amongst all of the urgent day-to-day work And much more!
3 March 2021 •
An interview with Büşra Coşkuner. Büşra is a Product Consultant & Coach who works with organisations and individuals to embed Product Management principles. We speak about a lot, including: Practical Product Management - you can't learn all of the frameworks How her experience in Berlin helped but also hindered her move to a different working culture in Switzerland The challenge of the acronym "MVP" and how no two people think it means the same thing Companies where leaders don't have product thinking or worse still think they have product thinking The importance of demonstrating product thinking not just talking about it and being idealistic How important No Code solutions are for the Product community and what they unlock for busy Product teams The challenges of being a woman in tech and seeing things in retrospect, and her trepidation of being a working mum And much more!
28 February 2021 •
An interview with Candice Poon. Candice is a Program Manager at Microsoft (which is really a Product Manager at any other company) working on Microsoft Edge. Candice recently caused a stir on Twitter when she tweeted about her experience being prevented from signing up to Clubhouse because of her name. We speak about a lot, including: What it's like working for Microsoft and ensuring Internet Explorer stays in its coffin Whether being called a Program Manager is confusing and whether she still gets invited to Product Manager parties How she felt being blocked from signing up to Clubhouse and whether it's happened before How Clubhouse responded and whether the response was satisfactory Some of the reasons why people have blind spots when developing products and what we should do to fix them How Microsoft are promoting diversity & what's left to do The importance of mixing tech and non-tech skills to further diversify your experience And much more!
26 February 2021 •
Kate is a consultant who advises organisations how to build Product teams and practices. She is also the author of "Hiring Product Managers: Using Product EQ to go beyond culture and skills", a book that aims to help hire effective Product leaders in the first place, or develop Product leaders that are struggling to make an impact. We talk about a lot, including: How her experience hiring Product leaders helped her write a book about it, and how hard it was to keep it succinct How hot shot VPs / Heads of Product can fail if they rely too much on technical skills, and how as an industry we focus too much on hiring for them How long to stick with Product leaders before having that difficult conversation about their next move How new leaders often aren't set up for success through lack of coaching, and just left to get on with it The importance of a shared understanding of what the job role entails, and not just copying and pasting job descriptions from Google The problem with "Cultural Fit" and how you need different puzzle pieces and not a stack of the same How neurodiversity fits into a high EQ world and how to adapt hiring processes to cater for different ways of thinking What progress we've made with advancing women in Product Management, and what hasn't changed at all And much more!
23 February 2021 •
An interview with Deepti Tadala. Deepti is a Technical Product Manager with Synacor, a technology firm based in upstate New York, and a former management consultant with Deloitte. She's also a Founding 200 Member at Product School, former Content Lead for Products by Women, and a member of Toastmasters International. We talk about a lot, including: The difference between Technical Product Managers and non-Technical Product Managers The importance, even as a TPM, of having close contact with customers and considering the market How working as a Management Consultant for Deloitte prepared her for Product Management, and how it didn't The troubles of getting that first Product Management job when racing against the immigration clock Learning to be a Product Manager and the importance of walking the walk Her passion for education and using her story to inspire others and pay it forward The importance of learning public speaking skills even if you don't want to speak publicly The importance of having a platform for women to share experiences and support each other Her power morning schedule and what it helps her to achieve
21 February 2021 •
An interview with Cindy Alvarez. Cindy is Director of Customer Research at GitHub, the world's leading software development platform. Cindy has long experience in customer research with GitHub, Yammer, Microsoft and Kissmetrics. She also wrote the leading book on customer research, 2014's Lean Customer Development which aims to guide teams to build products their customers need. We speak about a lot, including: What it's like doing customer research with the world's largest community of software engineers The importance of testing your customer interview questions and working out what does and doesn't work The importance of empathy, keeping down-to-earth and being someone customers feel comfortable talking to Whether a Bachelor's in Psychology helps her to play mind games with her subjects (mwahahaha) Why she wrote the book, how she did it, and whether she's going to write another one How to answer some of the common objections to customer interviews, and how ensure you can build a culture of speaking with customers directly How to optimise for Continuous Discovery and ensure you get a flow of customer feedback and learning And much more!
19 February 2021 •
An interview with Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia. Carlos is the Founder and CEO of Product School, the global leader in product management training with a community of over one million product professionals. Product School instructors are real-world Product Leaders working at top companies including Google, Facebook, Netflix, Airbnb, PayPal, Uber, and Amazon. We talk about a lot, including: How a lack of Product training resources when he started led him to start a Product Management training start up How he fills his days at CEO of the largest Product Management learning community How he ensures that, as the leading Product Management learning community, he isn't seen as all size, no quality His passion for lifelong learning and giving away as much free content as possible What led him to write The Product Book with Josh Anon and what he expected to achieve from it How MBAs are great but they don't really prepare people to execute as Product Managers His and Product School's commitment to inclusion & diversity on their team, their instructors and their attendees And much more!
16 February 2021 •
An interview with Melanie McKay. Melanie is the Head of Consumer Product at Rightmove, the UK's #1 property marketplace. She has worked in a number of Product Management roles, and took an interesting move into secondary school teaching in the middle. Since coming back to Product she's gone from strength to strength, including an appearance at Product School's ProductCon. We talk about a lot, including: How Product works at the biggest property marketplace in the UK and whether you get loads of weird requests you get when your TAM is pretty much the entire UK population How she got into Product by mistake, and what she did to get good at it with no good information to lead her Whether it is in fact harder for new PMs now because there is too much competing information for them How her passion for education got her into teaching, how it was teaching computing to kids, and why she came back What her experience of teaching taught her that she can use in her Product Management career Getting involved with ProductCon and the importance of going outside of your comfort zone Her well-received take on the classic PM Venn diagram, and how it's gone down with the PM community And much more!
13 February 2021 •
James is a Delivery Manager for Discovery Inc., a VOD entertainment platform. James is a passionate advocate for using story points for just about everything, and using data to inform delivery decisions. We speak about a few topics, including: How to bring delivery together across multiple technical streams for a big media company The interplay between Delivery and Product and the importance of a good Product Manager How to get Product, Delivery & Engineering to work harmoniously How story points can save the world and how to use them properly Whether Scrum is any good and some of the ways to make it work for your business The tricky balance between Product Delivery and fixing tech debt How to use the data you already have to help inform future delivery decisions How to use data to sell your message to the leadership team How running a band and running Product Delivery are pretty similar And much more!
10 February 2021 •
An interview with Marty Cagan. Marty is a renowned Product Management thought leader. He has had an illustrious career at Netscape, eBay, his own original startup (acquired by IBM) and then founding the Silicon Valley Product Group consultancy. He has worked with hundreds of companies to help them build products right. He's also a widely read blogger, and author of a best-selling book on how to build products; "Inspired - How to Create Tech Products Customers Love". Now he's back with co-author and SVPG partner Chris Jones, with "Empowered - Oridinary People, Extraordinary Products" which aims to do for organisations what Inspired did for teams. I could have spoken to Marty for hours, but here are the highlights: How come Marty started SVPG after working for some of the best tech companies How he got good at Product, and the role of luck in that journey Why he started blogging and how that helped him get his thoughts in order for his books How he's such a Product Guy that he evens writes his books iteratively How come the 2nd edition of Inspired was basically a total rewrite, and whether the 1st edition has anything useful in it Some of the challenges that companies face when trying to be truly Product-led What to do when your company really doesn't get Product How to persuade the leadership team that maybe this stuff actually does work Why he is so passionate about inclusion & diversity in tech, and how he's trying to help And much more!
5 February 2021 •
An interview with Christine Itwaru. Christine is Senior Director of Product Operations at Pendo. Christine is a problem-solving, Product-obsessed New Yorker who has swapped the Big Apple for the City of Oaks as Senior Director of Product Operations for Pendo. We talk about the fundamentals of Product Ops, how it works at Pendo, the types of people you need, what they can do for you, and when you need them. We talk about a lot: How she traded the Big Apple for the City of Oaks, moving to Raleigh, North Carolina to work with Pendo The exciting challenges and opportunities of working for a hypergrowth SaaS company What Product Operations is and how it can help a company as it scales, and how Christine made it happen The core skills and mindset needed to work in Product Operations The difference between being data-driven & data-informed, or whether there's any difference at all The importance of cross-functional communication for Product Ops, and Product teams in general Some of the challenges being a woman in tech and how she's trying to help solve them And much more!
3 February 2021 •
An interview with Jackie Bavaro. Jackie started her Product Management career as a Program Manager at Microsoft, before joining Google's Associate Product Manager programme and then getting hired as the first Product Manager at Asana. Back in 2013, she collaborated with Gayle McDowell to write the best-selling book "Cracking the PM Interview", which inspired a generation of Product Managers to get their first jobs. Jackie and Gayle are back with "Cracking the PM Career" which explains how to get good at it once you're in. Understandably, we cover a lot, including: How Jackie got into Product in the first place, and why Microsoft calls Product Managers Program Managers The pros and cons of working for Google versus a new startup How she met and decided to collaborate with Gayle McDowell and how they write together How the FAANG companies reacted to her giving away all their secrets Excellent advice on how to make an impact in your new PM job How to avoid the dreaded Feature Factory, build a strategy and sell it Why it's important to look outside your Product bubble for inspiration And much more!
29 January 2021 •
An interview with Heather James. Heather is the Founder of The Product-Led Alliance, providing a community, events and materials fora community of passionate product professionals, obsessed with Product-Led Growth. We talk about... What the Product-Led Alliance is and what it offers Why Heather is so passionate about Product-Led Growth and some of the challenges in getting there How she defines Product-Led Growth and how it differs from the dictionary definition What made her start the Product-Led Alliance when she did How a community with so much free content pays the bills How they had to pivot because of COVID-19 What makes her most proud of the Product-Led Alliance so far Future ambitions to take over the world Shock horror ... a rival podcast! mumble grumble And much more!
26 January 2021 •
An interview with Jack Stevens. Jack is Senior Product Manager for Publicis Sapient, a product consultancy that helps large companies with their digital transformation. Aside from his day job working on a secret project that he can't tell us about, Jack was also featured in a BBC article last summer "Stress, burnout and redundancy: Tough times in IT". I spoke to Jack about a few things: His work with Publicis Sapient and how they work really hard to be a flat, open company at scale How SAFe and other scaled agile approaches (probably) can't work How he got onto the BBC article in the first place, and how the reaction has been How hustle culture is toxic, mainly a lie, and we just see the survivors who probably succeeded partially through luck How it's OK for some people to just be OK and not everyone has to change the world to be successful How his employer reacted after seeing the article, and the support they gave him How personal hardship has driven his ambitions to work in financial services to ensure people have the right tools to make good financial decisions And much more!
23 January 2021 •
An interview with Abby Hehemann. Abby is Senior Product Marketing Manager for GetResponse, a full stack marketing platform. She's passionate about Product Management and Product-Led Growth, and using data to monitor and inform Product Marketing decisions. Abby is also a features speaker with Product-Led Growth Hub. The role of Product Marketing and importance of getting close to the Product team Pirate metrics (AARRR!) and how you can use them to monitor the health of your funnel The concept of Product-Led Growth and how companies can take their first steps to being Product-Led The importance of communication and collaboration between functions How she got involved with Product-Led Growth hub and their future collaboration plans Whether Product Marketing should report to the VP of Marketing or the VP of Product Most importantly, whether you can get get good nachos in Poland And much more!
19 January 2021 •
An interview with Ana Kresina. Ana is a self-described vagabond, a Canadian living in Australia, passionate Product Manager at Redbubble, a leading online art marketplace. We speak about the following and more: Ana's journey into Product Management from Marketing via UX The importance of guidance and mentorship at the early stages of a PM career The importance of getting shots on goal early Some of the systemic problems with returning to work after maternity leave How we're pretty far from having acceptable diversity in tech & product, but at least the conversations have started
16 January 2021 •
An interview with Harpal Singh. Harpal is an award-winning product consultant and interim CPO with long experience working with a variety of startups and helping them set up effective product teams and achieving Product/Market Fit. We talk about his journey and specifically: The benefits of being a consultant and how it's helped him to be a better leader His passion for Product/Market Fit and why he wrote a playbook on it His ambitions for the book and how it's helped him challenge his assumptions What Product/Market Fit really means, why it's not just about MVPs, and the concept of a "Hair On Fire" problem The importance of Marketing when finding Product/Market Fit and not being led solely by technology The variability of the Product Manager role between companies & the importance of a career plan The perils of poor LinkedIn content
13 January 2021 •
An interview with Dave Martin. Dave is a product leader with a strong history of transforming companies into effective product-focused organisations. Most recently, he's co-founder of consultancy Right to Left, where he takes some of his past learnings and pays them forward to the next generation of product-hungry companies. We speak about a lot, including: How he works with early to mid stage companies to transform them The Product Management Health Check How Product Managers must not be seen as mere requirements gatherers The difference between different types of Product Manager, even within successful organisations The challenges of moving from product management into product leadership The importance of evidence in decision making
9 January 2021 •
An interview with Janna Bastow. Janna is co-founder of ProdPad and Mind the Product, and inventor of the Now/Next/Later roadmap. We talk about a few things: How ProdPad started as an idea to solve a problem for Janna in her Product Management job and became a company serving thousands of Product Managers How date-based roadmaps are the devil and how to tackle management wanting false security The perils of building features for clients, falling into the trap of being an agency instead of a product company, and never getting the chance to solve big problems How Mind the Product started out and how they've pivoted to run successful events even in the middle of a pandemic (and how she misses a good flat white) Janna's recent ADHD diagnosis, what that meant to her, how she's managing it, and some of the advantages and disadvantages the condition brings to Product Management
6 January 2021 •
An interview with Andrea Saez. Andrea works in Product Growth & Education for ProdPad. She's a lifelong learner, educator and advocate, looking to help Product Managers make good decisions. We talk about her journey into Product Management, why certifications aren't all that they cracked up to be and how Human Psychology helps make good product decisions. We talk about: How Andrea got into Product Management after being the first person to ask her boss "why?" Why Customer Support staff are ideally placed to become Product Managers How Andrea stays motivated during all of her social media product management advocacy, and how she loves Mondays Why date-based roadmaps are the devil and why management want them because of Previous Product Trauma How Product need to take more responsibility when Sales make a commitment Why certifications aren't really worth much without follow on experience And much more!
6 January 2021 •
An interview with Marc Abraham. Marc is the Head of Product - Engagement for ASOS.com, author of two books on Product Management and co-curator with Mind the Product. I originally picked up Marc's first book, My Product Management Toolkit as I was looking for a good primer for people transferring into my Product team from elsewhere in the business. I found the book a great primer and guide to product management. I was excited to see his new book come out, which covers a lot more around the psychology of Product. I spoke to Marc about his journey into Product Management, his new book 'Managing Product = Managing Tension', and some great advice about navigating a career in Product. Marc also gives some excellent advice for Product Leaders (or aspiring Product Leaders) and ways that they can create psychological safety for their teams. As a keen boxer, Marc is also a massive advocate for using exercise to help work out some of the tensions of product management. https://www.oneknightinproduct.com/s1e21
2 January 2021 •
An interview with Busayomi Omotosho, Product Manager at Softcom. Busayomi speaks to me about Softcom's mission to connect consumers to businesses across Africa, her past working in LegalTech, how you need to apply efficient processes to Product Management, the importance of work / life balance and much more. Catch up with Busayomi on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/omotosho-busayomi-1ab461b0/ or Twitter: https://twitter.com/Buu_buu10
30 December 2020 •
An interview with Victoria Tkatch, Senior Product Manager at Sonos. Victoria is an ambitious, driven professional, operating at a million miles an hour, and she's definitely going to be your boss one day. We talk about her journey to Sonos via her own nutrition startup, her plans for the future and how she manages to keep 3 side hustles going. You can catch up with Victoria on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/victoriatkatch/ or on her YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCym4-hlfCs0M1iitZ9xSDWw UPDATE: She is also soliciting feedback for her new idea, a book for PMs! https://techforpms.online/ - so that's *4* side hustles
20 December 2020 •
An interview with Mark Yamashita, Technical Product Director at Sensibill, a fintech company that means you never have to worry about expense forms again. Mark moved into Product Management from working on supercomputers and compilers, via an MBA. We talk about how technical PMs should keep away from solutioneering, how education & mentoring are so important for PMs, as well as why "Singin' in the Rain" is basically the Lean Startup. Catch up with Mark here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-yamashita/
13 December 2020 •
An interview with Elina Sokolovska, Product Manager at Flux, an exciting fintech startup working with some big retailers via their API. Elina talks about how she loves integrations and API Product Management, as well as her addiction to startup culture, and how mountain climbing has taught her strength in the face of adversity. Catch up with Elina on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elina-sokolovska-17560b32/ or https://twitter.com/ElinaSokolovska
6 December 2020 •
An interview with Mark Graham, Lead Product Manager at Sharktower, working with some smart data scientists to revolutionise project management software. We talk about the importance of communication in Product Management, how Product Management is similar to Football Management, and much more. Catch up with Mark here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iammarkgraham/
29 November 2020 •
An interview with Matt Wilkinson, founder of Zenquiries, an early stage startup focusing on helpdesk integrations with Shopify. Matt talks about his journey from an Economics degree into company foundership via a career in mobile development, and why he's currently "eating glass & staring into the abyss". Catch up with Matt here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/7d26fc3818e66c496b9c5b2e87dc2171/ - you can find out more about Zenquiries here: https://www.zenquiries.com/
22 November 2020 •
An interview with Mac Maistrelli, engineering leader with a strong background in education with the Council of Europe - passionate about creating high-performing teams, ensuring psychological safety, and creating a learning environment and getting the best out of his team. Catch up with Mac here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/macmaistrelli/
15 November 2020 •
An interview with Nidhi Wadmark, Product Manager with PayPal, Women in Product Chapter lead and Global Awareness Lead for Thrive, PayPal's neurodiversity and disability awareness Employee Group. Nidhi is passionate about amplifying the voice of women in tech and product as well as ensuring diversity across the board to ensure we make better product decisions. Catch up with Nidhi on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nidhiwadmark/ or Twitter https://twitter.com/nidhiwadmark
8 November 2020 •
An interview with Priyanka Naik, Growth Product Manager with Advarisk and Women in Finance Top 100. Priyanka is a fearless advocate of speaking up, marketing yourself, and supporter of gender and neuro diversity. She talks about some of the challenges she's faced in a male-dominated working culture, and some of the approaches she's taken to stand out. Catch up with Priyanka on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/priyankanaik042/ or Twitter: https://twitter.com/priyankanaik042
8 November 2020 •
An interview with Anna Lieberman, an aspiring Product Manager already on her first side hustle. Anna is passionate about taking her first steps into Product, documenting her journey and benefitting from strong mentorship from other strong Women in Product. Catch up with Anna on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/annajlieberman/ or at her blog: https://www.annajlieberman.com/ Find out more about the charity we mention at https://www.whiteswan.org.uk
8 November 2020 •
An interview with Maanas Bukkuri, a passionate educator who started out in Engineering & QA before getting a taste for Product Management. Maanas has started teaching up-and-coming PMs via Product School and shares some of his thoughts about product management, continuously learning, and paying it forward to the next generation of Product Managers. Catch up with Maanas on Medium https://medium.com/@msbukkuri or LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/msbukkuri/
1 November 2020 •
An interview with Dr Nick Fine PhD, on a one-man mission to save UX by applying scientific thinking and reviving the controversial opinion that it should involve talking to users. We talk about all things UX and find out why Nick's work may have inadvertently inspired Cambridge Analytica. You can catch up with Nick on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drnickfine/ or Twitter: https://twitter.com/doctorfine although the old boy finds Twitter a bit too full on so be gentle. You can also catch his YouTube lecture about Scientific Design here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T5M_ispuaQ. Nick is also speaking at this conference, coming soon! https://techcircus.io/future_events/ux-live-conference/
24 October 2020 •
An interview with Pouya Jamshidiat. Pouya is an author, AI expert and self-described Product Dude working in the exciting field of genomics. Pouya talks about how he got into Product Management, some of the things he's learned and approaches that he uses to be an effective Product Manager when everyone around you has a PhD. Catch up with Pouya on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/pouyajamshidiat/ or Twitter https://twitter.com/PouyaJam You can find the AI Book here https://fintechcircle.com/ai-book/
17 October 2020 •
An interview with Becca Vibert, Product Manager at Fiit and Product School featured speaker. Becca talks about her journey into Product Management via setting up an educational startup in Hong Kong, what she's learned along the way and how she's trying to help those following behind her. Catch up with Becca here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/becca-vibert/ or watch her Product School webinar here: https://youtu.be/OzKlbroljSk
10 October 2020 •
An interview with Saeed Khan, Product Leadership consultant, proud Canadian, builder of strong product organisations. Saeed talks about his long career in Product, how Product needs a seat at the executive table, and how some of the companies that look great on the outside are held together by sweat and toil and can never scale. Catch up with Saeed on LinkedIn : https://linkedin.com/in/saeedwkhan/ or Twitter: https://twitter.com/saeedwkhan - you can also catch "Don't Release the Kraken" here: https://transformationlabs.io/dont-release-the-kraken/
3 October 2020 •
An interview with Anshuman Bagri, merchandising tycoon (retired), top quality dancer and currently redefining UX for mobile-controlled sex toys. Ansh speaks about his passion for UX, the challenges and advantages of working in a taboo industry, and how you might try to explain it to your mum. Keep in touch with Ansh on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/anshumanbagri/ or http://ansh.digital/ Ansh's top UX tips include https://twitter.com/jmspool who you can follow on Twitter for all the awesomeness.
26 September 2020 •
An interview with Kristy Olinger, credit card product manager, passionate relationship builder, co-host of The Opposite of Small Talk podcast, closet Patrick Dempsey fan. Kristy talks about why relationship-building is so important and why you should never be afraid in meetings to admit you don't know what the acronym means. Catch up with Kristy on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristyolinger/ or visit https://www.kristyolinger.com/ Dip your toe into Kristy's podcast here: https://pod.link/1484434210
19 September 2020 •
An interview with Marton Gaspar, neuro-atypical product leader, advocate for autism awareness in the workplace, producer of a literally secret sauce. Marton talks about some of the challenges and benefits of autism in the workplace, how colleagues and hiring managers tend to treat autistic candidates, and how neurotypical people seem to autistic people. Catch up with Marton here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/martongaspar/ or here: https://product-whisperer.com/ Here is the thought piece mentioned in the interview about a different autistic guy's take on "allistic" (e.g. non-autistic) people: https://www.fysh.org/~zefram/allism/allism_intro.txt
12 September 2020 •
Deepak is a champion marshmallow stacker, experienced product leader terrified of presenting to 10-year olds. Deepak was passionate about trains growing up in India, and is excited to be working in a startup within a big company, revolutioning transport technology by using AI for good. Catch up with Deepak here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/deepakparamanand/
5 September 2020 •
David is the author of Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain and a leading commentator on Bitcoin, blockchain and related technologies. TL;DR David doesn't think that any of this stuff is any good, and that blockchain is a solution looking for a problem. For further Bitcoin-related banter, you can visit https://davidgerard.co.uk/blockchain/ or @ him on https://twitter.com/davidgerard
29 August 2020 •
Welcome to my new podcast! I may have a face for radio and a voice for books, but I'm asking you to come with me on this journey into the wonderful world of tech and product. We'll be releasing every Sunday and we've got some great episodes already lined up! Music credit: https://freesound.org/people/FoolBoyMedia/sounds/347848/
26 August 2020 •