How to create a product strategy – Nacho Bassino "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs September 09 2021 False Product Strategy, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 6306 How to create a product strategy - Nacho Bassino on The Product Experience Product Management 25.224

How to create a product strategy – Nacho Bassino

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How to create a product strategy - Nacho Bassino on The Product Experience

In his new book, Product Direction: How to Build Successful Products at Scale with Strategy, Roadmaps, and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), Xing Product Director Nacho Bassino details the parts of the job that any senior product person needs to master – but which are really difficult to learn before you’re responsible for them.  We chatted with him on the podcast to dig in deeper.

Listener Offer: This episode is sponsored by Stream. Stream makes it easy to give your users the perfect experience, right inside your own app. Try Stream for free at getstream.io.

Featured Links: Follow Nacho on LinkedIn & TwitterProduct Direction: How to Build Successful Products at Scale with Strategy, Roadmaps, and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)The Opportunity Solution TreeMcKinsey Three Horizons of Growth ModelGoogle’s 70:20:10 Rule of InnovationBlue Ocean Strategy

Discover more: Visit The Product Experience homepage for more episodes.


Episode transcript

Randy Silver:

Hey Lily, I hear you’ve got a new role.

 

Lily Smith :

I have. I’m working at sustainable e-comm startup Bower Collective, running product. And Randy, you’re doing something new as well. Is that right?

 

Randy Silver:

Yeah, absolutely. I’m doing an interim maternity cover as the product director at a really interesting scale-up. But as we’re both sitting in new seats, that means it’s time to brush up on our skills developing product strategy, unless, Lily, do you have your product strategy all set yet?

 

Lily Smith :

Of course I do. I mean, I’ve been at Bower Collective for a whole day so I’ve got it nailed now, but you’ve been there for a few weeks now. What are you, some kind of slacker?

 

Randy Silver:

Yeah, I’m a slacker you’ve caught me out. So I guess I’m just lucky that we have not to have Nacho Bassino on today as a guest, as he’s just published a whole book on this stuff, it’s called Product Decoded.

 

Lily Smith :

And he’s also just started a new job, so let’s see what he’s got to teach us on this topic. The product experience is brought to you by Mind The Product.

 

Randy Silver:

Every week, we talk to the best product people from around the globe about how we can improve our practice and build products that people love.

 

Lily Smith :

Visit mindtheproduct.com to catch up on past episodes and to discover an extensive library of great content and videos.

 

Randy Silver:

Browse for free or become a Mind The Product member to unlock premium articles, unseen videos, AMAs, round tables, discount store conferences around the world, training opportunities and more.

 

Lily Smith:

Mind The Product also offers free ProductTank meetups in more than 200 cities and there’s probably one near you.

 

Randy Silver:

Nacho, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast this week.

 

Nacho Bassino:

Really happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

Randy Silver:

For anyone who doesn’t know you or hasn’t bought your book already, can you just give us a quick introduction, tell us what you’re doing these days and how you got into product management.

 

Nacho Bassino:

Absolutely. So I’m currently director of product at Xing, the social network for business

professionals with a large footprint in the German-speaking countries. For years I was

working as chief growth officer in Best Day Travel Group, which is a company in Mexico

after a long career in travel and product in travel, eventually America. So I’ve been working for management for more years than I care to admit. And I got into product management through what I can call a traditional engineer to product manager if that’s a thing. So I work as a software developer for six years, and then I got tired of people defining things that didn’t make any sense and try to get into the product manager role, probably one of the first product manager roles that were available in Argentina. So I got lucky there and also I liked getting involved in the product community, especially North America, hosting product things for many years. I also try to speak and write whenever I can to share experiences. And most recently I wrote a book called Product Direction about the strategy and the connection of the alignment of its execution through roadmap.

 

Randy Silver:

One of the things I was interested in that is you talk about product strategy in the book. Is that different from what a business strategy is?

 

Nacho Bassino:

Well, it depends. I’m not sure if I would call it business strategy, but maybe there is an overarching company strategy. So for instance, if you think about Netflix, they are trying to focus on their original content and that’s probably a company-wide strategy, so there will be commercial teams or production teams trying to get that original content and writing contracts with partners and things like that. And then the product team will have a product strategy, more focused on getting the original content exposed to users and building some loyalty of the users through that content. I don’t know anything about Netflix strategies, so I  talk about the travel companies, which I have more experience with. So for instance, many companies have the strategy of increasing the number of activities at destination

for passengers because when selling airline tickets, you don’t make any money. So companies are focused on cross-selling and the same thing happens. You have sourcing or partner teams that go all over the world, trying to acquire these partners, that the actual activities providers and product teams are focused on the problem of how we’ll cross-sell that activity. So users that bought airline tickets. So how, when, which channels, how do we promote that? That being said, if there is, for instance, a small startup B2B software to service, probably the company sub-issues same as a product of

sub-issue. So there is no need to make an explicit division there. 

 

Randy Silver:

Is there a difference between who’s responsible for the overall business strategy and the product strategy? If there is, how should they be working together? 

 

Nacho Bassino:

That’s a great point. The procedures should be in the case. I mentioned Netflix or the topic company, in this case, there is an overarching company, strategy, that should be aligned with the product strategy. So for instance, in my case, when I was CPO,  the CEO was responsible for the overarching company strategy, and I need to work closely with him to find the product strategy that will support that business strategy. In the other case, for instance, in smaller startups, probably the CEO either is acting as CPR. So finding the strategy himself or herself, or is closely working with the product team to make one single strategy for the entire company.

 

Lily Smith :

And what would you expect to see in your product strategy? What does a good product strategy contain?

 

Nacho Bassino:

It should contain sufficient drivers that let you know or let teams know which direction you are trying to approach to achieve your vision or your high-level goals. And those touching drivers should not only be a guideline for making decisions but should also have a reason to be there. So be based on insights that you prepared before when you were selecting your strategy and also goals that will let you know if you are moving in the right direction.

 

Lily Smith :

Okay. So just to recap then, it needs to contain, it needs to kind of hook off of your vision and your mission. And it has to have drivers that indicate whether you’re being successful in getting towards your vision or mission. Is that right?

 

Nacho Bassino:

Maybe I can walk through what I consider good steps for crafting a strategy and maybe that clarifies the question. So of course you start with the vision and what you are trying to achieve. So that will be the product vision. And you may have also high-level goals. Like for example, I always use the example of YouTube when they say we want to reach 1 billion hours of watch videos,  that will be your starting points.

 

So now we want to say how to get there. The first thing you should do is making a diagnosis of your situation. And the problem we made in space is that our diagnosis only includes, for instance, our current product metrics or things like that, instead of having a more wide view, considering your use of research, your competitors, the tendencies in the industry or the market, et cetera. So you start with the diagnosis and with the diagnosis, you come up with insights and those insights are actually those problems or opportunities that if you act upon, you will have a really strong differentiation and a really strong advantage. So that’s what you can really, how you can really change the game. So you decided to come up with many of them and then with our different tools to prepare for that. And then you select the ones that will build those winning paths. Those are the ones who transform into, or a combination of those other ones, which aren’t formed into the strategy drivers. So the drivers advise based on those insights and will be problems or opportunities that are higher level that will pay. If we act upon this, we will really make a difference. So they will be actionable so to speak. Around then, you will set up goals that will let you know if you are actually moving forward in your path to conquer that strategic driver or that opportunity or problem that you set yourself to accomplish. Does that make sense?

 

Lily Smith:

Yeah, absolutely. That was a really good explanation. So when you’re crafting your product strategy, you’re obviously kind of making decisions between different paths or options that you may have based on data and information that you’ve gathered. If you’re just starting out at a new company and you don’t have the benefit of necessarily having undertaken all of that research or sort of lived through the process of gathering that information is there a cheat sheet thing started on your product strategy or do you kind of have to go through that process, do you think, of learning in order to get to a strategy that you can really get behind?

 

Nacho Bassino:

Yeah. I think that it’s quite a different process. Probably the biggest difference is that you’re not trying to solve that many problems. You are probably trying to focus on one problem or one opportunity. I will suggest that you go through the process of diagnosis, even though you’re going to have your own metrics, you still follow following a hunch. Just try to sit down with users, try to understand what our players are doing in the industry and things like that. So you still have a diagnosis and insights about what to do, but then when you come up to deciding the subject drivers, you probably are focusing on just one problem, one opportunity, and you can skip, in my opinion, the roadmap section. So you can just move forward with goals that will let you experiment with your position where we are trying to achieve and see if you are actually making any progress towards those goals.

 

Randy Silver: 

Is there a difference between how you approach us, if you’re working with a company that’s already established, if you come into a job where you’re looking after a product or products that are already live in the market at a certain level of maturity versus starting something new, whether it’s having an established company or a startup?

 

Nacho Bassino:

Yeah, absolutely. So for starting something new probably [inaudible 00:11:04] what I was mentioning to Lily is more around what one problem that we’re trying to focus on when you are on an established company, maybe it’s even a portfolio of products within a single product, your diagnosis will be much deeper because you have more information and more experience and even more opportunities that it can capture given your current position in the markets. So the diagnosis will be deeper. And then of course you may have more insights to select from. And one of the things that I like to do when working on an existing product is to think about how we can strengthen our current value proposition or core value proposition because you do have customers that are selecting you for some reason. So you should make sure that you know that reason and how you can strengthen that value proposition to further increase your market share with that segment, but also prevent other competitors from winning your position.

 

Lily Smith :

It’s such a kind of tricky area as well because there are lots of potential outside forces that could change the environment that you’re working in or change the assumptions that you’ve made. And kind of just thinking about COVID happening for one, probably through loads of problems for many product strategies or opportunities, even.

 

Nacho Bassino: Working at Southern company, I can let you know for sure that’s what’s happened.

 

Lily Smith : 

But do you think, generally, if there’s not any of these big forces kind of coming at you off from the side and the assumptions that you’ve made are fairly static, you can kind of live with the same product strategy for a long period of time, and is it like a year? Is there a kind of a time at which you need to regularly revisit your strategy?

 

Nacho Bassino:

I think that it depends a lot in, as you say the context, but also on the maturity of the company, the maturity of the product, the maturity of the industry. So I won’t say there’s a single answer, but I do think that more, if we don’t consider these new products or very young startups, you should aim for at least one year of strategy. But I think it’s very important, it’s actually a pitfall that we many times fail to do is to have feedback loops for the strategy that is even shorter than that. So when I try to connect or align this strategy with goals, it’s because we have much smaller cycles for OKRs, it’s been months, in which we can capture feedback for our strategy in a shorter period of time, and even farther on that, when you are setting your experimentation, your discovery, even in a single month, you should be able to know if you are moving towards the right direction with the strategy. So if we think about the timeframe probably it’s one year or more, but when we think about feedback loops and updating the strategy, you should consider having these close feedbacks to make sure that you are moving in the right direction before wasting one year off a wrong strategy.

 

Randy Silver:

So making sure that you’re not wasting years sounds like really good advice. So here’s the dirty secret, both Lily and I have started new projects recently where we have to put together strategies. And I’m sure she, like me and lots of other people, you come into a new job and there are lots of people who have opinions and who have information, and you’re looking at it from both the customers, but you’re looking at internal people as well. How do you get on top of this quickly? How do you separate the signal from the noise and make sure that you’re actually listening to the right information and you’re going in the right direction to craft your strategy?

 

Nacho Bassino:

That’s very hard. So you’ll catch me. I was surprised. [crosstalk 00:15:03] this challenge personally. In serious, I think it’s a very challenging part of crafting the strategy and making sure that you involve the right people in the room. One of the balances you need to kind of play is whether you involve everyone and you risk paralysis, or if you have very few people and that probably may end up in people complaining afterwards or not being committed to your strategy so it’s a waste of time. So it’s a delicate balance. I think that there are things you need to consider. The first one is that you attempt to co-create the strategy, even if you are the CTO or the VP of product and it’s yours. So you need to come up with the strategy, it’s not that you are sitting alone and writing the strategy by yourself, it’s that you are, or you own the process.

 

Nacho Bassino:

And you need to make sure that those move forward, but you need to involve the right people. And we’re going to split it in two ways, so there are different ways to solve the problem of having many people in the same room, the first one is the stakeholders that you can collaborate as synchronously. So for instance, there are many stakeholders for which you may have input before a strategy session or workshop, and then bring that inputs a product team from the stakeholders, and then going back of course with him and let him know how the session went and some decisions that were made to see if you are aligned. The other thing that’s important, probably within the blog team, is making sure that you are not just deciding by seniority. So it’s not that you were involved in all of the kinds of products, but not the product managers. There might be product managers either with a very good strategic sense, so you want to involve them, or that they own a strategy part of the product so they need to be involved because this can have a very large impact on their future actions. So I think that those are two ways to think about both the product team and the stakeholders and how to balance who is involved or who sits in the room and who can collaborate without being in all sessions.

 

Lily Smith:

So it’s the classic: it depends.

 

Nacho Bassino:

Strategy is such a broad topic and has so many differences among companies. That is, wouldn’t make any sense to not say it depends on many questions, so sorry about that.

 

Randy Silver:

Sometimes our users need their questions answered at the moment and we can’t be there quick enough to help. A chat app can be the perfect solution. And the good news is your team doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel.

 

Lily Smith :

Scalable APIs and STKs enable your team to ship a custom chat feature in a matter of days,  not months.

 

Randy Silver:

Try stream for free at getstream.io. That’s getstream.io. Okay, Nacho, that’s very clear, It sounds hard. It’s always hard, but one of the ways that I saw in the book that you try and simplify this is by using a lovely two by two matrix. Everything works in a two by two matrix, right? But this one has some terms that I haven’t seen before, or at least not used this way. It was eliminated, reduce, raise and create. Well, how do you use this model?

 

Nacho Bassino:

That’s a good question. Actually, one of the things probably building on top of the last question is it depends on the answer. What I usually say in the books is that I’ve tried to sense many frameworks because I don’t like being dogmatic. So I tried to throw many tools that people can see which fits best for the context and the case of the eliminate, reduce, raise and create, it’s actually from a great book called blue ocean strategy, which is very, very good for you on this topic. And basically, the best example that I think that very explains the list is the low-cost elements. So what you’re doing when you’re using that framework is splitting your valuable positions into multiple dimensions are important for the user. So if we think about an outline, there are multiple attributes of the value proposition.

 

Nacho Bassino:

But if you simplify that into comfort, on time and price, you probably measure the shin points for the customer. So what this framework does is make it very explicit that you need to make trade offs to build a strategic position. So that’s probably, I said the example at the beginning, but if you think about low cost, what they did was making this trade-off between comfort and price very explicit. And by doing so, they were able to reduce comfort, but also in this case increase the value of the conversation around the price, which would be a flight from reducing the price. But it’s basically, what they did was capture a segment of customers that valued that attribute more than the other ones, and they built a really strong strategic position. So that’s a way to use that framework. It’s not being very easy to do, but then that is very difficult is discussing among the company all of those trade offs and what this framework does is making that very explicit and it helps you drive the product decisions in a very strong tax.

 

Lily Smith :

And one of the things that I find really interesting is that it takes a really different mindset between thinking strategically and then kind of working tactically. So do you have tips or methods that you use for being in strategy mode and then kind of doing your more sort of tactical day-to-day work?

 

Nacho Bassino:

I think that there is, per year in which you set your strategy and then you live with that strategy for a year, so I think that also goes in line with some company processes. And so part of my process, I know probably everybody hates it, but it’s also this sort of videos in which you sit down or the entire company is thinking about the future. So I think there are opportunities to change your mindsets in that way. And the other thing I tried to do in the book provides these tools that, as we just were discussing, are not difficult to use, but they let you think in a broader sense about your product. So when you are in tactical mode, you are thinking about a future decision of a single metric. And when you are thinking about strategy, this is the beginning of that strategy, you really need to open your mind and think of the wide context of your product. And that’s something that I just said that we don’t do every day. And these tools may help you come up with some ideas outside of your natural boundaries.

 

Lily Smith :

Oh, cool. Okay. What kinds of tools are the ones that help you go into that kind of mindset? Because that’s definitely something that I struggle with. Nacho Bassino: Well, I think that, for instance, the opportunity solution tree, the one by Teresa Torres, that’s a great tool to self-fixating in a single solution, forces you to come up with many different angles. So I like to start with, which are the high-level goals? You can even transform your visions, your goals. You wants to achieve high-level goals. And then for those opportunities trying to come up with many different

alternatives, different parts, problems to solve. The other one is with custom, for instance, using the framework, increase, reduce, create, erase. And in that sense, what you are thinking is the different attributes of your product. You’re still focusing on a single one. And also, for instance, you have the three horizons of growth McKinsey that let you think about the future. Something that we, again, we don’t usually normally do in thinking about technical work. So, as I said, I don’t want to be dogmatic and you come up with any tool. What you need to think about is what tools would help you to come up with more ideas, not just the ones that you are, or the focus that you have at that moment.

 

Randy Silver:

That’s the first time that anyone’s talked about McKinsey in a positive way on the podcast. That’s not a bad thing. I’ve been using the three horizons model on my current project and it works really well. So I have absolutely no problem with that one, but I can’t remember the last time someone said a good thing about a big consultancy.

 

Nacho Bassino: 

That’s the only thing I would say about McKinsey.

 

Lily Smith : 

I think you should now talk about the three horizons model and what that is. Those that haven’t heard of it before.

 

Nacho Bassino:

That’s a good idea. I mean, actually, just to conclude the conversation on the item, I don’t like when companies try to force a strategy by big consultancy, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have good tools that you cannot by yourself. So in this case, this is a very well-known tool. And what they propose is that you have opportunities that will help you grow your core business opportunities for a second horizon that will let you capture adjacent markets or adjacent user segments or fits for your context. And then you have long-term bets that are for a third horizon that will secure revenues for the future if you are successful. 

 

So I think it’s a great tool because many product teams, and again, thinking about how we come up with the product strategy, think about the core business, because it’s just the normal thing for all of us, that we are more focused on tactical work and everything is portioned, and things like that. So it forces you to think about the future because I always say that product teams usually have a stronger responsibility for making sure that we are preparing for those future sources of revenue and that future success of the company.

 

Randy Silver:

So how do we use that properly now too? Because we know about now next future roadmaps. And that just means you’re able to say no to certain things, or at least able to concentrate on some things in short term. And it means that we’re keeping things in mind for the long term, but this implies that you’re spending a certain percentage of your time working on the current stuff, but you’re actually spending some time, whether it’s discovery or build time, on the future stuff. How do you balance that properly? 

 

Nacho Bassino:

That’s a great question. And actually, that’s a good point because when in the book I moved from strategy to roads maps and actually what you are doing is doing things in the now timeframe of the roadmap, but that will impact your revenues in the future. So it’s a tricky, tricky side, but how to balance it. I think the other model that we compare to that is Google’s 70, 20, 10 frameworks in which you say, okay, you can allocate 70% of your efforts to the closer opportunities or the opportunities that build your core, better position, your core business. Then 20% to capture these opportunities that will grow your business and grow to adjacent opportunities. And then 10% for these long-shot opportunities of long-shot bets that they always try to keep doing. And they come from doing it very successfully by the way.

 

Lily Smith:

Okay. So one of the other things you cover in your book is how you align your strategy with OKRs if you use those as, as well as roadmaps. So can you show your strategy within your OKRs? Like, is it a separate document or a separate artefact in the business, or can it be presented as objectives and key results? 

 

Nacho Bassino:

Well, actually following the process I proposed in the book, you cannot put the strategy drivers that we mentioned at the beginning of our conversation in this road map, what you will do is to actually break those down into smaller or more actionable opportunities and problems to solve and sequence them in a logical order to actually achieve your outcomes.

So then when you have these more granular problems to solve, these more granular opportunities you want to tackle, it’s rather easy, I would say, to go down to OKRs and set metrics that will let you know if you are actually solving that problem. And one thing that I like about this, or thinking in these terms, is that I used to start my OKRs each quarter as kind of a blank slate, and then try to think about everything that we were pursuing, we needed to do. 

 

In many companies, it’s a messy process in which you kind of doesn’t know what to do. And the mix of processes has many pitfalls. So by answering your question, if you have these

strategy drivers that you break down into opportunities or problems that you want to tackle this quarter, it’s really easy to think, “Okay, which are the key performance indicators that will let me know that I’m actually moving those needles or solving response.”

 

Lily Smith:

Yeah, that makes sense.

 

Randy Silver:

I think we’re getting towards the end of our time, unfortunately, Nacho, but we have a couple more questions. I’m curious about how you communicate this out. How you communicate the strategy out, who you communicated to and then how you communicate progress or, well let’s not call it failure, let’s call it learnings made against it. What’s the way that you do it because it can be a hard thing to keep everybody on the same page.

 

Nacho Bassino:

Yeah. Actually one of the things we find out, I’m doing this research about strategies is that many companies actually fail to communicate it. And so strategy that nobody knows is as bad as not a strategy at all. So communication is very important. And what I think you must do is to create a one-pager. That’s what I call it, but it can be any diagram. I propose a few diagrams in the book. You take those strategy drivers, with a lot of context information, and put them in this one-pager or single diagram that you can not only communicate, but also use as a five-minute pitch in many meetings that you may have. So for instance, when we are presenting OKRs, we start the presentation with a two-minute pitch or five-minute pitch for a strategy.

 

Nacho Bassino:

So we keep everyone in sync or aligned with that strategy at every moment. So that’s around communication. And the other thing that you need to consider around communication is that the strategy may have implications for different areas of the company. So for instance, in our case, best they have four business units. And what we did is come up with a single strategy, we communicate to the entire company in the first meeting and then during repetitions, each head of product for each business unit will communicate with more specific points of that business unit the strategy to their counterparts. So there is an active process of keeping that information top of mind for everyone. I think it’s a very important responsibility of all product leaders. The second part about communicating unfortunate results. I think it’s, again, there are many instances, I don’t want to be dogmatic. My preference is around OKRs because they are the fastest ones. In our case, for instance, we have all hands month for the OKR result meetings. So in those, we will communicate these results, what went wrong and what we learned that might invalidate our strategy. So again, that’s going back to what I’m saying about coming short feedback loops for the strategy. So having those conversations and being able to have a meeting in which you can communicate, allows you to make faster decisions and be what if you need it.

 

Lily Smith:

I think we’ve got time for just one more question. So you’ve obviously done a lot of work on strategy in your time. What do you think people often get wrong about coming up with their product strategy?

 

Nacho Bassino:

So I think we’ve done, divide that in three. And the first one is actually what we said at the beginning, not widening your view and making a full diagnosis. Either we follow our first hunch or we start with the product metrics diagnosis, and we just keep that focus. The second one will be around what I call the wrong play level, which is having a strategy that I’ve seen in many companies, which is the CPO or CEO or whoever saying, “Okay, this is the forty strategy initiatives for the year that we need to complete. And that’s, to a level that’s not a strategy. Or on the other extreme, you have the very high-level idea of when you set that goal and you set that goal, the strategy like we need to duplicate sales and things like that, that they don’t give any context for teams to make decisions. And the last one is around the communication and aligning to actual execution. So when we fail to communicate, or if let’s say that the strategy is something that came up from the leadership team, and then there no connection to the product managers and the roadmaps and the OKRs, that’s of course a way to fail and many companies do it. So it’s very important to have these 

ways of connecting those and that’s where I tried to go.

 

Lily Smith:

Awesome. I think those are really interesting points to make, and I think everyone needs to read your book basically if they’ve got any work on products strategy they need to do.

 

Nacho Bassino:

Actually, my last call to action would be that many, many product leaders struggle with the product strategy because we don’t know how to do it, it seems too scary, and actually, there are practical ways to do it. Again, as I said, I’m not dogmatic, so I’m just proposing some ideas that people can follow up on and build upon, but it’s actually something that we should do. It’s not that hard of a process. It’s time-consuming and hard work, but it’s not complex.

 

Lily Smith:

Awesome. Thank you, nacho. It’s been so great having you here on the podcast and having a chat with you about strategy. 

 

Nacho Bassino: I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.

 

Lily Smith:

Nacho has so many great things to say about product strategy. That was actually really timely and really helpful. And I will definitely be using lots of steps.

 

Randy Silver: 

And do you know, Lilly, magically I’ve crimped together my entire strategy during that chat. So I’m all set now, I’ve caught up with you.

 

Lily Smith:

Oh, fantastic. Fantastic. So you can just kick back and relax now, right?

 

Randy Silver:

That’s it. Rest of the maternity cover sorted.

 

Lily Smith:

And if you enjoyed that episode and would like to hear more, then please do like and subscribe and also leave us a review. We haven’t had a review for a few weeks, so yeah, that’d be great.

 

Randy Silver:

Yeah. We’re lonely. Tell us something.

 

Lily Smith:

Oh, hey, it’s me, Lily Smith and Randy Silver

 

Emily Tate is our producer and Luke Smith is our editor.

 

Randy Silver:

Our theme music is from Humbard Baseband Pau. That’s P A U. Thanks to Arna Kitler who runs ProductTank and MTP engaged in Hamburg, and plays bass in the band for letting us use their music. Connect with your local product community via ProductTank or regular free meetups in over 200 cities worldwide.

 

Lily Smith:

If there’s not one near you, you can consider starting one yourself. To find out more, go to

mindtheproduct.com/producttank.

 

Randy Silver: 

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How to create a product strategy - Nacho Bassino on The Product Experience [buzzsprout episode='8711791' player='true'] In his new book, Product Direction: How to Build Successful Products at Scale with Strategy, Roadmaps, and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), Xing Product Director Nacho Bassino details the parts of the job that any senior product person needs to master - but which are really difficult to learn before you're responsible for them.  We chatted with him on the podcast to dig in deeper. Listener Offer: This episode is sponsored by Stream. Stream makes it easy to give your users the perfect experience, right inside your own app. Try Stream for free at getstream.io. Featured Links: Follow Nacho on LinkedIn & TwitterProduct Direction: How to Build Successful Products at Scale with Strategy, Roadmaps, and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)The Opportunity Solution TreeMcKinsey Three Horizons of Growth ModelGoogle's 70:20:10 Rule of InnovationBlue Ocean Strategy Discover more: Visit The Product Experience homepage for more episodes.
Episode transcript
Randy Silver: Hey Lily, I hear you’ve got a new role.   Lily Smith : I have. I’m working at sustainable e-comm startup Bower Collective, running product. And Randy, you’re doing something new as well. Is that right?   Randy Silver: Yeah, absolutely. I’m doing an interim maternity cover as the product director at a really interesting scale-up. But as we’re both sitting in new seats, that means it’s time to brush up on our skills developing product strategy, unless, Lily, do you have your product strategy all set yet?   Lily Smith : Of course I do. I mean, I’ve been at Bower Collective for a whole day so I’ve got it nailed now, but you’ve been there for a few weeks now. What are you, some kind of slacker?   Randy Silver: Yeah, I’m a slacker you’ve caught me out. So I guess I’m just lucky that we have not to have Nacho Bassino on today as a guest, as he’s just published a whole book on this stuff, it’s called Product Decoded.   Lily Smith : And he’s also just started a new job, so let’s see what he’s got to teach us on this topic. The product experience is brought to you by Mind The Product.   Randy Silver: Every week, we talk to the best product people from around the globe about how we can improve our practice and build products that people love.   Lily Smith : Visit mindtheproduct.com to catch up on past episodes and to discover an extensive library of great content and videos.   Randy Silver: Browse for free or become a Mind The Product member to unlock premium articles, unseen videos, AMAs, round tables, discount store conferences around the world, training opportunities and more.   Lily Smith: Mind The Product also offers free ProductTank meetups in more than 200 cities and there’s probably one near you.   Randy Silver: Nacho, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast this week.   Nacho Bassino: Really happy to be here. Thank you for having me. Randy Silver: For anyone who doesn’t know you or hasn’t bought your book already, can you just give us a quick introduction, tell us what you’re doing these days and how you got into product management.   Nacho Bassino: Absolutely. So I’m currently director of product at Xing, the social network for business professionals with a large footprint in the German-speaking countries. For years I was working as chief growth officer in Best Day Travel Group, which is a company in Mexico after a long career in travel and product in travel, eventually America. So I’ve been working for management for more years than I care to admit. And I got into product management through what I can call a traditional engineer to product manager if that’s a thing. So I work as a software developer for six years, and then I got tired of people defining things that didn’t make any sense and try to get into the product manager role, probably one of the first product manager roles that were available in Argentina. So I got lucky there and also I liked getting involved in the product community, especially North America, hosting product things for many years. I also try to speak and write whenever I can to share experiences. And most recently I wrote a book called Product Direction about the strategy and the connection of the alignment of its execution through roadmap.   Randy Silver: One of the things I was interested in that is you talk about product strategy in the book. Is that different from what a business strategy is?   Nacho Bassino: Well, it depends. I’m not sure if I would call it business strategy, but maybe there is an overarching company strategy. So for instance, if you think about Netflix, they are trying to focus on their original content and that’s probably a company-wide strategy, so there will be commercial teams or production teams trying to get that original content and writing contracts with partners and things like that. And then the product team will have a product strategy, more focused on getting the original content exposed to users and building some loyalty of the users through that content. I don’t know anything about Netflix strategies, so I  talk about the travel companies, which I have more experience with. So for instance, many companies have the strategy of increasing the number of activities at destination for passengers because when selling airline tickets, you don’t make any money. So companies are focused on cross-selling and the same thing happens. You have sourcing or partner teams that go all over the world, trying to acquire these partners, that the actual activities providers and product teams are focused on the problem of how we’ll cross-sell that activity. So users that bought airline tickets. So how, when, which channels, how do we promote that? That being said, if there is, for instance, a small startup B2B software to service, probably the company sub-issues same as a product of sub-issue. So there is no need to make an explicit division there.    Randy Silver: Is there a difference between who’s responsible for the overall business strategy and the product strategy? If there is, how should they be working together?    Nacho Bassino: That’s a great point. The procedures should be in the case. I mentioned Netflix or the topic company, in this case, there is an overarching company, strategy, that should be aligned with the product strategy. So for instance, in my case, when I was CPO,  the CEO was responsible for the overarching company strategy, and I need to work closely with him to find the product strategy that will support that business strategy. In the other case, for instance, in smaller startups, probably the CEO either is acting as CPR. So finding the strategy himself or herself, or is closely working with the product team to make one single strategy for the entire company.   Lily Smith : And what would you expect to see in your product strategy? What does a good product strategy contain?   Nacho Bassino: It should contain sufficient drivers that let you know or let teams know which direction you are trying to approach to achieve your vision or your high-level goals. And those touching drivers should not only be a guideline for making decisions but should also have a reason to be there. So be based on insights that you prepared before when you were selecting your strategy and also goals that will let you know if you are moving in the right direction.   Lily Smith : Okay. So just to recap then, it needs to contain, it needs to kind of hook off of your vision and your mission. And it has to have drivers that indicate whether you’re being successful in getting towards your vision or mission. Is that right?   Nacho Bassino: Maybe I can walk through what I consider good steps for crafting a strategy and maybe that clarifies the question. So of course you start with the vision and what you are trying to achieve. So that will be the product vision. And you may have also high-level goals. Like for example, I always use the example of YouTube when they say we want to reach 1 billion hours of watch videos,  that will be your starting points.   So now we want to say how to get there. The first thing you should do is making a diagnosis of your situation. And the problem we made in space is that our diagnosis only includes, for instance, our current product metrics or things like that, instead of having a more wide view, considering your use of research, your competitors, the tendencies in the industry or the market, et cetera. So you start with the diagnosis and with the diagnosis, you come up with insights and those insights are actually those problems or opportunities that if you act upon, you will have a really strong differentiation and a really strong advantage. So that’s what you can really, how you can really change the game. So you decided to come up with many of them and then with our different tools to prepare for that. And then you select the ones that will build those winning paths. Those are the ones who transform into, or a combination of those other ones, which aren’t formed into the strategy drivers. So the drivers advise based on those insights and will be problems or opportunities that are higher level that will pay. If we act upon this, we will really make a difference. So they will be actionable so to speak. Around then, you will set up goals that will let you know if you are actually moving forward in your path to conquer that strategic driver or that opportunity or problem that you set yourself to accomplish. Does that make sense?   Lily Smith: Yeah, absolutely. That was a really good explanation. So when you’re crafting your product strategy, you’re obviously kind of making decisions between different paths or options that you may have based on data and information that you’ve gathered. If you’re just starting out at a new company and you don’t have the benefit of necessarily having undertaken all of that research or sort of lived through the process of gathering that information is there a cheat sheet thing started on your product strategy or do you kind of have to go through that process, do you think, of learning in order to get to a strategy that you can really get behind?   Nacho Bassino: Yeah. I think that it’s quite a different process. Probably the biggest difference is that you’re not trying to solve that many problems. You are probably trying to focus on one problem or one opportunity. I will suggest that you go through the process of diagnosis, even though you’re going to have your own metrics, you still follow following a hunch. Just try to sit down with users, try to understand what our players are doing in the industry and things like that. So you still have a diagnosis and insights about what to do, but then when you come up to deciding the subject drivers, you probably are focusing on just one problem, one opportunity, and you can skip, in my opinion, the roadmap section. So you can just move forward with goals that will let you experiment with your position where we are trying to achieve and see if you are actually making any progress towards those goals.   Randy Silver:  Is there a difference between how you approach us, if you’re working with a company that’s already established, if you come into a job where you’re looking after a product or products that are already live in the market at a certain level of maturity versus starting something new, whether it’s having an established company or a startup?   Nacho Bassino: Yeah, absolutely. So for starting something new probably [inaudible 00:11:04] what I was mentioning to Lily is more around what one problem that we’re trying to focus on when you are on an established company, maybe it’s even a portfolio of products within a single product, your diagnosis will be much deeper because you have more information and more experience and even more opportunities that it can capture given your current position in the markets. So the diagnosis will be deeper. And then of course you may have more insights to select from. And one of the things that I like to do when working on an existing product is to think about how we can strengthen our current value proposition or core value proposition because you do have customers that are selecting you for some reason. So you should make sure that you know that reason and how you can strengthen that value proposition to further increase your market share with that segment, but also prevent other competitors from winning your position.   Lily Smith : It’s such a kind of tricky area as well because there are lots of potential outside forces that could change the environment that you’re working in or change the assumptions that you’ve made. And kind of just thinking about COVID happening for one, probably through loads of problems for many product strategies or opportunities, even.   Nacho Bassino: Working at Southern company, I can let you know for sure that’s what’s happened.   Lily Smith :  But do you think, generally, if there’s not any of these big forces kind of coming at you off from the side and the assumptions that you’ve made are fairly static, you can kind of live with the same product strategy for a long period of time, and is it like a year? Is there a kind of a time at which you need to regularly revisit your strategy?   Nacho Bassino: I think that it depends a lot in, as you say the context, but also on the maturity of the company, the maturity of the product, the maturity of the industry. So I won’t say there’s a single answer, but I do think that more, if we don’t consider these new products or very young startups, you should aim for at least one year of strategy. But I think it’s very important, it’s actually a pitfall that we many times fail to do is to have feedback loops for the strategy that is even shorter than that. So when I try to connect or align this strategy with goals, it’s because we have much smaller cycles for OKRs, it’s been months, in which we can capture feedback for our strategy in a shorter period of time, and even farther on that, when you are setting your experimentation, your discovery, even in a single month, you should be able to know if you are moving towards the right direction with the strategy. So if we think about the timeframe probably it’s one year or more, but when we think about feedback loops and updating the strategy, you should consider having these close feedbacks to make sure that you are moving in the right direction before wasting one year off a wrong strategy.   Randy Silver: So making sure that you’re not wasting years sounds like really good advice. So here’s the dirty secret, both Lily and I have started new projects recently where we have to put together strategies. And I’m sure she, like me and lots of other people, you come into a new job and there are lots of people who have opinions and who have information, and you’re looking at it from both the customers, but you’re looking at internal people as well. How do you get on top of this quickly? How do you separate the signal from the noise and make sure that you’re actually listening to the right information and you’re going in the right direction to craft your strategy?   Nacho Bassino: That’s very hard. So you’ll catch me. I was surprised. [crosstalk 00:15:03] this challenge personally. In serious, I think it’s a very challenging part of crafting the strategy and making sure that you involve the right people in the room. One of the balances you need to kind of play is whether you involve everyone and you risk paralysis, or if you have very few people and that probably may end up in people complaining afterwards or not being committed to your strategy so it’s a waste of time. So it’s a delicate balance. I think that there are things you need to consider. The first one is that you attempt to co-create the strategy, even if you are the CTO or the VP of product and it’s yours. So you need to come up with the strategy, it’s not that you are sitting alone and writing the strategy by yourself, it’s that you are, or you own the process.   Nacho Bassino: And you need to make sure that those move forward, but you need to involve the right people. And we’re going to split it in two ways, so there are different ways to solve the problem of having many people in the same room, the first one is the stakeholders that you can collaborate as synchronously. So for instance, there are many stakeholders for which you may have input before a strategy session or workshop, and then bring that inputs a product team from the stakeholders, and then going back of course with him and let him know how the session went and some decisions that were made to see if you are aligned. The other thing that’s important, probably within the blog team, is making sure that you are not just deciding by seniority. So it’s not that you were involved in all of the kinds of products, but not the product managers. There might be product managers either with a very good strategic sense, so you want to involve them, or that they own a strategy part of the product so they need to be involved because this can have a very large impact on their future actions. So I think that those are two ways to think about both the product team and the stakeholders and how to balance who is involved or who sits in the room and who can collaborate without being in all sessions.   Lily Smith: So it’s the classic: it depends.   Nacho Bassino: Strategy is such a broad topic and has so many differences among companies. That is, wouldn’t make any sense to not say it depends on many questions, so sorry about that.   Randy Silver: Sometimes our users need their questions answered at the moment and we can’t be there quick enough to help. A chat app can be the perfect solution. And the good news is your team doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel.   Lily Smith : Scalable APIs and STKs enable your team to ship a custom chat feature in a matter of days,  not months.   Randy Silver: Try stream for free at getstream.io. That’s getstream.io. Okay, Nacho, that’s very clear, It sounds hard. It’s always hard, but one of the ways that I saw in the book that you try and simplify this is by using a lovely two by two matrix. Everything works in a two by two matrix, right? But this one has some terms that I haven’t seen before, or at least not used this way. It was eliminated, reduce, raise and create. Well, how do you use this model?   Nacho Bassino: That’s a good question. Actually, one of the things probably building on top of the last question is it depends on the answer. What I usually say in the books is that I’ve tried to sense many frameworks because I don’t like being dogmatic. So I tried to throw many tools that people can see which fits best for the context and the case of the eliminate, reduce, raise and create, it’s actually from a great book called blue ocean strategy, which is very, very good for you on this topic. And basically, the best example that I think that very explains the list is the low-cost elements. So what you’re doing when you’re using that framework is splitting your valuable positions into multiple dimensions are important for the user. So if we think about an outline, there are multiple attributes of the value proposition.   Nacho Bassino: But if you simplify that into comfort, on time and price, you probably measure the shin points for the customer. So what this framework does is make it very explicit that you need to make trade offs to build a strategic position. So that’s probably, I said the example at the beginning, but if you think about low cost, what they did was making this trade-off between comfort and price very explicit. And by doing so, they were able to reduce comfort, but also in this case increase the value of the conversation around the price, which would be a flight from reducing the price. But it’s basically, what they did was capture a segment of customers that valued that attribute more than the other ones, and they built a really strong strategic position. So that’s a way to use that framework. It’s not being very easy to do, but then that is very difficult is discussing among the company all of those trade offs and what this framework does is making that very explicit and it helps you drive the product decisions in a very strong tax.   Lily Smith : And one of the things that I find really interesting is that it takes a really different mindset between thinking strategically and then kind of working tactically. So do you have tips or methods that you use for being in strategy mode and then kind of doing your more sort of tactical day-to-day work?   Nacho Bassino: I think that there is, per year in which you set your strategy and then you live with that strategy for a year, so I think that also goes in line with some company processes. And so part of my process, I know probably everybody hates it, but it’s also this sort of videos in which you sit down or the entire company is thinking about the future. So I think there are opportunities to change your mindsets in that way. And the other thing I tried to do in the book provides these tools that, as we just were discussing, are not difficult to use, but they let you think in a broader sense about your product. So when you are in tactical mode, you are thinking about a future decision of a single metric. And when you are thinking about strategy, this is the beginning of that strategy, you really need to open your mind and think of the wide context of your product. And that’s something that I just said that we don’t do every day. And these tools may help you come up with some ideas outside of your natural boundaries.   Lily Smith : Oh, cool. Okay. What kinds of tools are the ones that help you go into that kind of mindset? Because that’s definitely something that I struggle with. Nacho Bassino: Well, I think that, for instance, the opportunity solution tree, the one by Teresa Torres, that’s a great tool to self-fixating in a single solution, forces you to come up with many different angles. So I like to start with, which are the high-level goals? You can even transform your visions, your goals. You wants to achieve high-level goals. And then for those opportunities trying to come up with many different alternatives, different parts, problems to solve. The other one is with custom, for instance, using the framework, increase, reduce, create, erase. And in that sense, what you are thinking is the different attributes of your product. You’re still focusing on a single one. And also, for instance, you have the three horizons of growth McKinsey that let you think about the future. Something that we, again, we don’t usually normally do in thinking about technical work. So, as I said, I don’t want to be dogmatic and you come up with any tool. What you need to think about is what tools would help you to come up with more ideas, not just the ones that you are, or the focus that you have at that moment.   Randy Silver: That’s the first time that anyone’s talked about McKinsey in a positive way on the podcast. That’s not a bad thing. I’ve been using the three horizons model on my current project and it works really well. So I have absolutely no problem with that one, but I can’t remember the last time someone said a good thing about a big consultancy.   Nacho Bassino:  That’s the only thing I would say about McKinsey.   Lily Smith :  I think you should now talk about the three horizons model and what that is. Those that haven’t heard of it before.   Nacho Bassino: That’s a good idea. I mean, actually, just to conclude the conversation on the item, I don’t like when companies try to force a strategy by big consultancy, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have good tools that you cannot by yourself. So in this case, this is a very well-known tool. And what they propose is that you have opportunities that will help you grow your core business opportunities for a second horizon that will let you capture adjacent markets or adjacent user segments or fits for your context. And then you have long-term bets that are for a third horizon that will secure revenues for the future if you are successful.    So I think it’s a great tool because many product teams, and again, thinking about how we come up with the product strategy, think about the core business, because it’s just the normal thing for all of us, that we are more focused on tactical work and everything is portioned, and things like that. So it forces you to think about the future because I always say that product teams usually have a stronger responsibility for making sure that we are preparing for those future sources of revenue and that future success of the company.   Randy Silver: So how do we use that properly now too? Because we know about now next future roadmaps. And that just means you’re able to say no to certain things, or at least able to concentrate on some things in short term. And it means that we’re keeping things in mind for the long term, but this implies that you’re spending a certain percentage of your time working on the current stuff, but you’re actually spending some time, whether it’s discovery or build time, on the future stuff. How do you balance that properly?    Nacho Bassino: That’s a great question. And actually, that’s a good point because when in the book I moved from strategy to roads maps and actually what you are doing is doing things in the now timeframe of the roadmap, but that will impact your revenues in the future. So it’s a tricky, tricky side, but how to balance it. I think the other model that we compare to that is Google’s 70, 20, 10 frameworks in which you say, okay, you can allocate 70% of your efforts to the closer opportunities or the opportunities that build your core, better position, your core business. Then 20% to capture these opportunities that will grow your business and grow to adjacent opportunities. And then 10% for these long-shot opportunities of long-shot bets that they always try to keep doing. And they come from doing it very successfully by the way.   Lily Smith: Okay. So one of the other things you cover in your book is how you align your strategy with OKRs if you use those as, as well as roadmaps. So can you show your strategy within your OKRs? Like, is it a separate document or a separate artefact in the business, or can it be presented as objectives and key results?    Nacho Bassino: Well, actually following the process I proposed in the book, you cannot put the strategy drivers that we mentioned at the beginning of our conversation in this road map, what you will do is to actually break those down into smaller or more actionable opportunities and problems to solve and sequence them in a logical order to actually achieve your outcomes. So then when you have these more granular problems to solve, these more granular opportunities you want to tackle, it’s rather easy, I would say, to go down to OKRs and set metrics that will let you know if you are actually solving that problem. And one thing that I like about this, or thinking in these terms, is that I used to start my OKRs each quarter as kind of a blank slate, and then try to think about everything that we were pursuing, we needed to do.    In many companies, it’s a messy process in which you kind of doesn’t know what to do. And the mix of processes has many pitfalls. So by answering your question, if you have these strategy drivers that you break down into opportunities or problems that you want to tackle this quarter, it’s really easy to think, “Okay, which are the key performance indicators that will let me know that I’m actually moving those needles or solving response.”   Lily Smith: Yeah, that makes sense.   Randy Silver: I think we’re getting towards the end of our time, unfortunately, Nacho, but we have a couple more questions. I’m curious about how you communicate this out. How you communicate the strategy out, who you communicated to and then how you communicate progress or, well let’s not call it failure, let’s call it learnings made against it. What’s the way that you do it because it can be a hard thing to keep everybody on the same page.   Nacho Bassino: Yeah. Actually one of the things we find out, I’m doing this research about strategies is that many companies actually fail to communicate it. And so strategy that nobody knows is as bad as not a strategy at all. So communication is very important. And what I think you must do is to create a one-pager. That’s what I call it, but it can be any diagram. I propose a few diagrams in the book. You take those strategy drivers, with a lot of context information, and put them in this one-pager or single diagram that you can not only communicate, but also use as a five-minute pitch in many meetings that you may have. So for instance, when we are presenting OKRs, we start the presentation with a two-minute pitch or five-minute pitch for a strategy.   Nacho Bassino: So we keep everyone in sync or aligned with that strategy at every moment. So that’s around communication. And the other thing that you need to consider around communication is that the strategy may have implications for different areas of the company. So for instance, in our case, best they have four business units. And what we did is come up with a single strategy, we communicate to the entire company in the first meeting and then during repetitions, each head of product for each business unit will communicate with more specific points of that business unit the strategy to their counterparts. So there is an active process of keeping that information top of mind for everyone. I think it’s a very important responsibility of all product leaders. The second part about communicating unfortunate results. I think it’s, again, there are many instances, I don’t want to be dogmatic. My preference is around OKRs because they are the fastest ones. In our case, for instance, we have all hands month for the OKR result meetings. So in those, we will communicate these results, what went wrong and what we learned that might invalidate our strategy. So again, that’s going back to what I’m saying about coming short feedback loops for the strategy. So having those conversations and being able to have a meeting in which you can communicate, allows you to make faster decisions and be what if you need it.   Lily Smith: I think we’ve got time for just one more question. So you’ve obviously done a lot of work on strategy in your time. What do you think people often get wrong about coming up with their product strategy?   Nacho Bassino: So I think we’ve done, divide that in three. And the first one is actually what we said at the beginning, not widening your view and making a full diagnosis. Either we follow our first hunch or we start with the product metrics diagnosis, and we just keep that focus. The second one will be around what I call the wrong play level, which is having a strategy that I’ve seen in many companies, which is the CPO or CEO or whoever saying, “Okay, this is the forty strategy initiatives for the year that we need to complete. And that’s, to a level that’s not a strategy. Or on the other extreme, you have the very high-level idea of when you set that goal and you set that goal, the strategy like we need to duplicate sales and things like that, that they don’t give any context for teams to make decisions. And the last one is around the communication and aligning to actual execution. So when we fail to communicate, or if let’s say that the strategy is something that came up from the leadership team, and then there no connection to the product managers and the roadmaps and the OKRs, that’s of course a way to fail and many companies do it. So it’s very important to have these  ways of connecting those and that’s where I tried to go.   Lily Smith: Awesome. I think those are really interesting points to make, and I think everyone needs to read your book basically if they’ve got any work on products strategy they need to do.   Nacho Bassino: Actually, my last call to action would be that many, many product leaders struggle with the product strategy because we don’t know how to do it, it seems too scary, and actually, there are practical ways to do it. Again, as I said, I’m not dogmatic, so I’m just proposing some ideas that people can follow up on and build upon, but it’s actually something that we should do. It’s not that hard of a process. It’s time-consuming and hard work, but it’s not complex.   Lily Smith: Awesome. Thank you, nacho. It’s been so great having you here on the podcast and having a chat with you about strategy.    Nacho Bassino: I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.   Lily Smith: Nacho has so many great things to say about product strategy. That was actually really timely and really helpful. And I will definitely be using lots of steps.   Randy Silver:  And do you know, Lilly, magically I’ve crimped together my entire strategy during that chat. So I’m all set now, I’ve caught up with you.   Lily Smith: Oh, fantastic. Fantastic. So you can just kick back and relax now, right?   Randy Silver: That’s it. Rest of the maternity cover sorted.   Lily Smith: And if you enjoyed that episode and would like to hear more, then please do like and subscribe and also leave us a review. We haven’t had a review for a few weeks, so yeah, that’d be great.   Randy Silver: Yeah. We’re lonely. Tell us something.   Lily Smith: Oh, hey, it’s me, Lily Smith and Randy Silver   Emily Tate is our producer and Luke Smith is our editor.   Randy Silver: Our theme music is from Humbard Baseband Pau. That’s P A U. Thanks to Arna Kitler who runs ProductTank and MTP engaged in Hamburg, and plays bass in the band for letting us use their music. Connect with your local product community via ProductTank or regular free meetups in over 200 cities worldwide.   Lily Smith: If there’s not one near you, you can consider starting one yourself. To find out more, go to mindtheproduct.com/producttank.   Randy Silver:  ProductTank is a global community of meetups driven by and for product people. We offer expert talks, group discussion, and a safe environment for product people to come together and share winnings and tips.