Picture: From L to R, Shiyan Koh (Hustle Fund), Radhika Dutt(Radical Product), Anna Gong(Perx), Reshmi Roy (Skyscanner)
Last night, I had the privilege of moderating a panel of hosted by Women in Product, where we explored what product management was to our panelists, as well as perspectives on growth, metrics, localisation and careers. It was a broad-ranging conversation, appropriate given the wide range of experiences of our panelists. We probably could have spent 30 minutes on each topic alone!
I shared the definition of product management that I like best, shamelessly pilfered from Gib Biddle, fr VP Product @ Netflix, who I worked with at NerdWallet.
Delight customers, in hard to copy, margin-enhancing ways.
Customer delight and customer centricity is often cited as a key value of a business, yet we see a ton of products that are shipped that almost seem dis-interested in the end user experience. Yet delight alone does not make a great business, and at the end of the day, if you create an amazing product, that no one is willing to pay for, or that is easily replicable, I would consider that a failure of product management.
Reshmi Roy of Skyscanner shared her experiences on how to incubate new markets when working for a global business, and the challenges of dealing with a centralized product team, when localisation is required, be it from a product feature or channel perspective. The call out of channel is particularly apt, because first-time PMs and founders often focus on product and neglect distribution.
Anna Gong of Perx shared the challenges of pivoting Perx from a B2C to a B2B business. It’s nice example to of founder-market fit, given Anna’s past experiences in Enterprise sales and business development, she was able to see that the core rewards/loyalty platform they had built was much more valuable to enterprises with large customer bases, legacy systems, and no vendors, than their initial SME market.
Radhika Dutt emphasised the importance of being true to one’s product vision, and the dangers of being entranced by metrics that are not appropriate to the stage of product development you may be in.
Turnout was fantastic, ~100 women and men in the audience. It skewed towards folks wanting to get into the discipline, which I see as a great sign for the vibrance of the region. Props to Christine Sou and Deepika Murthy (Singapore chapter leads) for pulling this together.