60 / Define Your Brand With Innovative UX Design

Description

As product people, how do we know when the time is right to “color outside the lines”? Maybe experiment with a new design approach or re-create some of the early Wild West days when design standards were the exception, not the rule. After all, isn’t that a fundamental piece of the innovation puzzle – standing convention on its head by doing something that hasn’t been done before?

In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, award-winning product designer and strategist Bill Flora joins Sean and ITX’s Mike Thone (a designer/disruptor in his own right) to chip away at the question. 

“I always feel like it’s our job to push,” Bill explains. “There are so many opportunities to innovate. But I also think there are areas where we can innovate within established patterns. You know, ‘let’s not try and reinvent here.’ At the end of the day, our job is to make sure our customers are happy.”

Bill’s resume includes stints with Microsoft, Nike, MasterCard, and NASA. And he is currently the Chief Creative Officer at Blink, a user experience consulting and usability research firm. So if you’re keen on  defining your brand through UX design and collaboration, Bill shares some key insights throughout the pod. He also defines design language and explains the key role it plays in boosting company culture and user experiences.

Listen to hear more from Bill, including –

  • Enhancing wonder and discovery through communication and design at NASA
  • Scrollytelling, the art of creating interactive experiences using content in multiple media to make stories come to life
  • Setting priorities as a designer, making time for things that fit in your vision

Bill’s Reading Recommendations

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell.


About Bill

Bill Flora is an award-winning design director and strategist with more than 20 years of experience in leading teams and shipping products. In his current role as Chief Creative Officer at Blink, he leads projects for clients including NASA, Nike, Mastercard, Facebook, and HBO. Before joining forces with Blink, Bill founded Tectonic, a strategic experience design firm, where he worked with the world’s leading companies envisioning next-generation content platforms and expressing brand through software. During his two decades with Microsoft, he led design efforts for Xbox, Windows Media Center, Zune, and Encarta, and he was the design force behind Microsoft’s “Metro” design language. Flora’s influences can be found in the design of software that lights up millions of screens around the globe every day.

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59 / Balance Mission & Vision For Great Products

Description

What does it really mean to be obsessed with serving your customers? How can we balance mission and vision to build great products?

In this episode, ITX product leader Matt Bush joins Sean in a lively conversation with Esteban Contreras, a Senior Director of Product Management at Hootsuite. Like many so organizations in the space, Hootsuite deftly adapted to a pandemic-driven business climate to continue serving customers from a fully remote work environment. Esteban shares how celebration and culture were key to this process.

Some customers seem less concerned with the long-term vision of your product. Even product teams sometimes struggle to grasp their long-term goals when they don’t know the path for getting there. For some, Esteban adds, “A successful day simply means getting out of work on time.”  And that’s why mission is so important. Mission explains why we exist in the first place.

Listen in to catch more from Esteban; learn about his unique entrance into product management and cools ways to celebrate activities that are integral to customer success.

Esteban’s Recommended Reading

Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age, by Paul Graham.

The Product-Led Organization: Drive Growth By Putting Product at the Center of Your Customer Experience, by Todd Olson.


About Esteban

Esteban Contreras is a Senior Director of Product Management at Hootsuite, the global leader in social media management software. Esteban has spent over a decade at the convergence of technology and marketing. He is passionate about solving problems with software and developing customer-centric, mission-driven product teams.

At Hootsuite, Esteban has driven the vision for social media marketing solutions and led product portfolios responsible for publishing, engagement, mobile, analytics, integrations, and machine learning initiatives. He has advised tech startups in SaaS, gaming, social networking, and e-commerce. Originally from Guatemala, Esteban lived in the United States before moving to Vancouver, BC where he now lives with his wife and two kids.  

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Teresa_Torres

58 / Innovate With Continuous Discovery

Description

Innovation is important, especially for digital products. However, it can also be an annoyance if a clear focus on customer needs is not present.

In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul talk with Teresa Torres, a product discovery coach focused on continuous discovery. Continuous discovery has numerous benefits for companies, product people, and customers, but product leaders must make time for continuous discovery on a weekly basis. Only by talking to customers can real value-producing innovation occur.

Moving away from old-school ways of working can be difficult, no matter what industry your organization is in. Teresa says that you often have more influence than you might think and that a lot can be done just by “rocking the boat a little bit.” 

Listen to glean more valuable insights from Teresa, including: 

  • Constantly evolving methods of work and how to contextualize them
  • The place for products that create joy, even if they don’t solve a problem
  • How to get started, no matter how daunting a new initiative might seem

Teresa’s Recommended Reading

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Workby Chip Health and Dan Heath. 

Strong Product People: A Complete Guide to Developing Great Product Managers, by Petra Wille. 


About Teresa

Teresa Torres teaches a structured and sustainable approach to continuous discovery that helps product teams infuse their daily product decisions with customer input. She’s coached hundreds of teams at companies of all sizes, from early-stage start-ups to global enterprises, and has taught core discovery skills to more than 6,500 product people through the Product Talk Academy. She’s the author of the upcoming book, Continuous Discovery Habits, and blogs at ProductTalk.org.

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Terrence-Liverpool

57 / The Product-Led Organization

Description

What does “product-led” really mean, and how can you leverage it in your personal practice and throughout your organization?

In this episode, Sean and Paul catch up with Terrence Liverpool, AVP, Consumer Bank Digital Product Manager at Synchrony Bank. Terrence brings a wealth of insights that come from working across the digital sector at companies such as Comedy Central and Nasdaq. Terrence is both an intrapreneur and an entrepreneur and he shares how product ownership is central to both roles.

Terrence also draws our attention to another key skill for product managers: intuition. He encourages PMs to question decisions that are made and then “dig deeper to get the story behind it all.” With changing business goals, it is also important to continually refocus on the big picture.

Tune in to this episode to hear all of Terrence’s insights, plus more on:

  • Sustaining two-way communication with stakeholders to prioritize the user experience
  • Leveraging your organization’s core values to guide long-term goals
  • Promoting customer advocacy through innovation

Terrence’s Recommended Reading:

Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love, by Marty Cagan.

Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value, by Melissa Perri.


About Terrence

Terrence Liverpool is an innovator who loves tackling complex problems and building products from the ground up. He currently serves as Synchrony Bank‘s AVP, Consumer Bank Digital Product Manager where he is responsible for emerging digital products. Before joining Synchrony, Terrence worked as Senior Director, Digital at Emerald Expositions, and as Senior Manager of Marketing and Digital Communications at NASDAQ. He has also held positions with Publishers Clearing House (PCH) and Comedy Central. He has a passion for fitness, social entrepreneurship, and community development. Youth mentoring and education with organizations in NYC are particularly near and dear to his heart.

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Carlos-Gonzalez-de-Villaumbrosia

56 / Lifelong Learners Propel Product 

Description

In today’s episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia, the Founder and CEO of Product School, shares his inspiration for Product School and its role in shaping the next generation of product leaders. Carlos has an unending passion for helping others succeed in the product space, and his enthusiasm is contagious!

The most successful and inspiring product leaders are all very curious and interesting people, but it can sometimes be difficult to find time in our busy lives for learning and self-improvement. Carlos shares strategies to make lifelong learning a reality.

“We are all creating the future together,” he says. Working towards product-oriented goals throughout your organization can eliminate silos and drive better customer outcomes. Likewise, sharing your insights and learnings with others can fuel long-term success in the industry.

Listen to hear more about:

  • Democratizing access to education in product management and more generally
  • Finding mentors, no matter what stage of your career you are in
  • Product managers as generalists and the importance of product-specific, on-the-ground experience if you are transitioning from a more specialized role
  • The future of product management now that the profession has gained traction and clarity

Carlos’s Recommended Reading

Product Chiefs podcast

The Product Book: How to Become a Great Product Manager by Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia and Josh Anon

Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends, and Colleagues by David Bradford and Carole Robin


About Carlos

Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia 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.

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Aaron-Cooper

55 / Encouraging Great Ideas

Description

Great ideas can come from anywhere. It is the job of product leaders to seek out these ideas by taking educated risks, thinking (and working) outside the box. In this episode Aaron Cooper, the Enterprise User Experience Leader for Navigation and Sensors at Honeywell, shares key strategies for ideation, workshopping, and working across disciplines.

Aaron believes that “excellent facilitation helps you scale your ideation.” In fact, great ideas and great leadership go hand in hand. An idea can lay dormant for years waiting for just the right moment to be applied; the quietest team members often contribute the deepest insights. The key is creating a space for everyone’s contributions, then recognizing which can be applied to build better products.

Listen in to learn some strategies that improve your facilitation skills, and be sure to catch Aaron’s thoughts on:

  • Persona speed dating to keep customers’ needs front-of-mind across the organization
  • Gleaning deep insights by asking the right questions and asking them often
  • Challenging the status quo and choosing people who are “willing to be a little crazy”
  • The impact of AI on the future of product, especially for designers

Aaron’s Recommended Reading:

Frank Lloyd Wright, by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer.

On Fairy-Stories (essay), by J.R.R. Tolkien.


About Aaron

Aaron Cooper is the Enterprise User Experience Leader for Navigation and Sensors at Honeywell. He leads end-to-end design, from researching customer needs through ideation and into implementation and iteration of products and services.

Aaron collaborates and leads, leveraging more than 20 years of growth as a designer in domains ranging from product design and architecture to marketing and interaction design. Every day, he works with cross-functional teams, driving ideation and prioritization to deliver new value for customers and businesses. Aaron is a certified Design Thinking and User Experience instructor, is certified in Scrum, and is a Six Sigma Green Belt. On the side, he does stained glass, which can be viewed at prairiehomeglass.com.

His motto is, “There is always a person I can help to be successful, more efficiently, and with greater joy.”

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Giff-Constable

54 / Navigating Complexity and Uncertainty

Description

As a product leader, it can be hard to work within a multitude of constraints: profits, product-market fit, time, customers’ needs; the list goes on. Giff tackles the tough questions and elaborates on the product leader’s job as “chief synthesizer.”

In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Giff Constable, a self-proclaimed “healer” within the product community. He has a vast breadth and depth of knowledge pertaining to testing new ideas, innovation, and teamwork.

Giff’s experience in many roles such as chief product officer, CEO, and consultant in “messy situations” has given him unique insight into the role of product within organizations and how product leaders can advocate for their products in ever-changing markets. All in all, he stresses the importance of “looking uncertainty in the eye” in everything you do.

Listen to hear Giff’s thoughts on:

  • Sacrificing short-term gains for long-term success in business models, research, and continuous improvement.
  • Asking the hard questions and challenging your assumptions as a product leader.
  • Experimentation and user research strategies for both new and seasoned product managers.

Giff’s Recommended Reading:

Talking to Humans: Success starts with understanding your customers, by Giff Constable with Frank Rimalovski.

Testing with Humans: How to use experiments to drive faster, more informed decision making, by Giff Constable with Frank Rimalovski.

Gibson Biddle’s writings


About Giff

Giff Constable is a product leader, entrepreneur, and author. He was most recently the Chief Product Officer at Meetup, and earlier was the CEO of Neo, a global innovation consulting company acquired by Pivotal. He is the author of two books on how to test new business ideas, which are used as core curriculum in top university entrepreneurship programs and accelerators around the world. He has two headstrong children, an extraordinarily lazy dog, and publishes science fiction when life permits under the pen name GW Constable. To hear more from Giff, check out his blog, giffconstable.com.

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Nina-Foroutan

53 / If You’re In Product, You’re the Connector

Description

We often talk about product living at the intersection of technology, business, and UX. And that makes sense in a limited, Venn diagram way of thinking: Product as the place where these things converge. But as we have discovered, using a 3-piece diagram to explain what product is all about is a gross oversimplification.

Through her lens as a journalist-turned-product leader, Nina Foroutan, Director of Product Management at Forbes, sees product not at the intersection, but more as the oxygen each requires to sustain itself. In this episode, Nina joins Sean and Paul describing her product leader role as participant in all things product, as she puts it: “in the in-betweens.”

Sometimes her day is technology-focused, on others it’s more on UX, and sometimes it’s more business and data. But one thing is clear: every day is focused on users.

“When you’re in product, you have to be involved in every aspect,” she says, “and understand user pain points and how the solution you’re trying to build helps get to the organization’s business goals.”

Where product truly plays its role, “where it’s actually actionable,” is as facilitator. “When you’re in product, you’re the connector. You’re the reason why and the one who makes it all make sense. That is where product lives.”

Be sure to catch more of our conversation with Nina to get her take on —

  • This period of awakening we’re in right now – especially as it relates to hiring for diversity and inclusion and creating an environment that’s accepting of everyone.
  • The importance of soft skills, like having the emotional intelligence to remain calm and roll with the punches when everyone else is panicking.
  • That in her world content is the product, and technology is the vehicle for delivering the user’s experience with it.

Nina’s Recommended Reading:

Little Black Stretchy Pants, by Chip Wilson.


About Nina

Nina Foroutan is the Director of Product Development at Forbes where she leads a team of product owners focused on driving content and revenue experiences on Forbes.com. Prior to Forbes, she was a product lead at Hearst Digital Studios launching new brands and building platforms for their partnership with Verizon. Nina has an MBA from Babson College F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business and currently lives in Manhattan.  

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David-Wang

52 / Mindset, Process, and Tools

Description

If you’ve never done product before, the journey can be super-scary. So many questions: Do I have what it takes? Is this the career I want for myself? What type of PM do I want to be? Where am I in my career product life cycle?

Worry no more.

In this episode of ITX’s Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul are joined by ProductGo co-founder, David Wang. David is a true champion of product managers around the world – especially if you’re just breaking into the field. In our conversation, he outlines a prescribed path for product management newcomers who may not have a PM degree but who do have a passion for “creating things that can change the world.”

Our initial connection with David arrived compliments of podcast guest, Adrienne Tan.  

David’s own path to product management took him 5 years “just to know what I was doing, and another 5 years just doing the job,” he says. “But what I realized was that everything I learned [about product management] can be categorized into one of these three areas: mindset, process, and tools.”

Once he started thinking about product management through that three-part lens, it helped him make sense of all the information he had read and practiced, he added.

David also realized that as our knowledge grows and technology evolves, the same happens to the mindsets, processes, and tools that once guided our thinking. Avoid tying yourself to one mindset or process or toolbox, he cautions. Part of learning product management is understanding that it is a repeatable, almost cyclical process.

“We can add mindsets to our mindset category and get rid of others over time. Tools and processes come and go. So as a PM, that realization has actually helped me learn management much faster.”

In this pod, David shares what he means by “much faster.” He lays out a prescribed 12- to 18-month plan for what onboarding to a product career might look like and involve. But don’t be in a rush to make it happen, he advises.

“It takes time for that mindset to change, and product managers are really hired for their mindsets, not so much on their certifications.”

Listen in to hear David’s thoughts on: where ideas come from, the power of the Growth mindset, and what he means by your “origin story.” Knowing your origin story will help to remove any doubts about whether and where you belong in your PM role.

David’s Recommended Reading

Lovability: How to Build a Business That People Love and Be Happy Doing It, by Brian de Haaff.

INSPIRED: How To Create Tech Products Customers Love, by Marty Cagan.


About David

David Wang is a global product leader with 15+ years of experience building products for start-ups and coaching corporates in Australia. Currently, David is the Founder of ProductGo – an online school advancing the art of Product Management in the APAC region.

Before starting Product Tree, David was the Head of Product for SocietyOne - a Fintech start-up raised over $70M. David is also a Distinguished Lecturer in General Assembly for Product Management, where he taught over 3,000+ students globally.

In his spare time, he runs a book summary site 5minuteknowledge.com and he is also a top writer for a product publication with over 1 million readers globally. Read more from David on his blog or website.

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