Creating for creators – Peter Yang "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs July 07 2021 False Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 6705 Product Management 26.82

Creating for creators – Peter Yang

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We all know that solving your customer’s problem – in a way that’s feasible, viable and usable – is the key to a product’s success.  (Or one of them, anyway!) Inherent in that is clearly understanding your users, and their problems.  We talked with Peter Yang, product lead at Reddit, about understanding the needs and mindsets of creators, and how to build products for them.

Featured Links: Follow Peter on LinkedIn and TwitterCreator Economy|Build for Creators Course  | Buy Peter’s book ‘Principles of Product Management‘  | Rob Fitzpatrick’s book ‘The Mom Test

Episode transcript

Lily Smith: 

Hey listeners, I usually talk to Randy when we record our intro, but this week, I’m talking to you. How you doing?

Randy Silver: 

You’d know that they can’t actually answer you, Lily. I mean, not in real time anyway.

Lily Smith: 

Well, I’m just checking in to see if they call, you know, making sure we’re listening to our listeners. Okay. Okay, I

Randy Silver: 

see what you’re trying to do. This has something to do with inviting our customers in, you know, to be part of the whole product development process, isn’t it?

Lily Smith: 

Yes, listeners, Randy is right. This week, we’re talking to Peter Yang product lead at Reddit and creator economy expert, we had a great chat with Peter about creating products for creators very matter, and also what it means to do community led product

Randy Silver: 

development. Peter has also been at Twitch and Facebook and Twitter. But we’re the creators of this podcast. So you know, we hit him up for some advice that should be useful for all of you to let us know what you think.

Lily Smith: 

Let’s get to the chat. 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: 

Because it mind the product calm to catch up on past episodes, and to discover an extensive library of great content

Randy Silver: 

and videos, browse for free, or become a mind the product member to unlock premium articles, unseen videos, ama’s roundtables, discounts to our conferences around the world training opportunities.

Lily Smith: 

Mining product also offers free product tank meetups in more than 200 cities. And there’s probably one way you

Randy Silver: 

Peter, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. Yeah, glad to be here. Thanks for inviting me. For anyone who doesn’t already follow your your writing. Can you just give us a quick introduction? Tell us what you’re doing these days? And how did you get into product?

Peter Yang: 

Yeah, so right now I am a product lead. I read it. I’m also a wannabe Twitter influencer, I tried to publish content on the creator economy. And it was pretty hard for me to get a product I think, you know, five or six years ago, I was at Facebook, working in marketing. And I tried to transition to product for like three years in a row and couldn’t make it through the loop. And then somebody told me like, hey, you’re the person who tried to most in this companies you’re trying to transition internally, like maybe we should think about externally or something. And yeah, eventually, because I was lucky enough to be part of the live video, Tim Murphy’s Facebook, I build expertise in the industry. So I was able to transition to Twitter as a live video pm. So it was probably like a three or four year journey to become a product manager.

Randy Silver: 

Yeah, fantastic. And when so when you finally landed in the role wasn’t what you expected it to be? or How was it different?

Peter Yang: 

Yeah, I think it’s pretty different. I mean, I think when I was working in marketing, I really wanted to have input on the product itself, as opposed to just how to launch the product. Right. But after I became a PM, and as I become more experienced, I think a pm is someone who is much more of a facilitator, someone who actually posed the best opinions out of other people out of your team. And also, you know, very importantly, out of customers, and kind of like these a team towards building the right product that solves a real customer problem problem. So it’s less than someone who’s calling the shots and more someone who’s trying to drive the effort forward. Does that make sense?

Lily Smith: 

Yeah, absolutely. And I think we’re going to talk a little bit about how the customer can be part of your team later. But before we get into into that, one of the things that you are known for writing about and that you are quite expert in, is the creative economy, which you mentioned earlier. So for anyone who hasn’t heard the term before, what is the creator economy?

Peter Yang: 

Yeah. So I mean, let’s start with what is a creator, right. So I think a creator is anyone who is trying to make a living, publishing content online. And that can include like youtubers to upload videos, include, you know, podcasters, it can include write writers, you can, you can even include, like, community builders trying to build an online community or like game developers trying to make some sort of virtual world. So if anyone wants to make a living online, and the query economy has really taken off, I think recently, like, is what all the VCs and everybody talks about? And I think there’s a couple of reasons why. I think first, I think people in general are trusting brands and platforms less to trust other people more. So and I think the platforms are starting to realise that, you know, historically, you grow through SEO, you grow through paid ads. But right now, if you don’t have like a creator as part of your growth strategy, you kind of like fall. behind the curve, because they just these creators, these top queries have so many followers and fans, and they had, like, so much influence over what their fans do, they can’t even make it part of the part of your acquisition strategy. A second thing I think, is like, you know, more and more people want to work for themselves. And I think a creator is kind of like an interesting middle ground between a, you know, a fan, PM, and also someone who is like a tech entrepreneur. It’s a good middle ground, because you can basically scale to millions of people, millions of fans and, you know, make millions of dollars with just like a, you know, just by yourself or with a very small team. And, you know, the internet has made it possible for anyone to kind of publish content around like a niche, and reach a large audience. And I think that’s really powerful, right. And I think the third thing is like, you know, COVID have happened. So all of a sudden, you know, people were forced to teach yoga classes online form communities online, and basically learn how to make money online. And people are starting to realise in your home in your pyjamas, that they can actually, you know, do some side gigs and like, start making money themselves, as opposed to just being part of a corporation.

Randy Silver: 

you’re defining it a little bit narrowly. So I just want to dig into that. Yeah. You got into the fact that it someone who can scale to that level? Is that what you define it as someone who creates online content, rather than, say, someone who’s got an Etsy shop?

Peter Yang: 

I consider Etsy shop as a creator tool, for sure. Yeah. I mean, they basically have an online portal that sells offline goods. I think most people talk about careers in terms of like, people selling digital goods, like definitely think like, you know, ecommerce counts.

Randy Silver: 

Okay. So how do you cater specifically to to creators? What is different about trying to solve for them rather than for any other persona type?

Peter Yang: 

Yeah, um, I think, you know, when I was a Twitch, it was pretty hammer home to me that creators have three main needs, and that’s money, fame, and love. So what does that mean? So Love is love comes from the joy of just making great content and from talking to your fans. And fame comes from, you know, after you make good content, you can start growing an audience, and you can start kind of building a community. And, and money comes from making a living from the audience, you know, either getting your fans to pay you directly, or finding sponsors or some other way to make money, right. So those are kind of like the three high level needs, I think there’s like a fourth need, that people don’t really talk about, which is mental mental health, you would think that, you know, creators are kind of like, you know, entrepreneurs, small businesses, so they have like, more free time. But most of the time, that’s not the case, they are kind of, they need to produce content all the time and talk to fans all the time, otherwise, they’re gonna fall behind. So there’s a lot of pressure for them to perform. And I think mental health is like a very important need to, yeah,

Lily Smith: 

it’s really interesting hearing you talk about it, because so my husband is a musician, and sells some of his music online. So it a lot of what you’re saying, rings true of just, you know, that that pressure as well of having to create, and, and try and generate income from, you know, from essentially your passion. And it is a very unique, yeah, you’re right, it’s very kind of unique group of people. So when you’re creating solutions and products for people in the space, what are some of the kind of, you know, keys to success for, for creating products for these people?

Peter Yang: 

Yeah, I think the first thing is, you have to be really genuine and authentic with creators. They’re their creative people, right? So if you talk to them from perspective of like, Hey, you know, you know, here’s my platform, I want to grow using my platform, you know, let’s help make money for you. And for my platform, they’re not going to resonate very well, or we’re saying, I mean, right now, you’re in a situation where any crater with any, you know, like a decent sized audience is getting pinned by multiple query economy companies all the time. So you really have to speak their language and really have their needs in mind when you’re talking to them. So I think being authentic is the first thing. Second thing is just like, actually building on community, and you know, what kind of them we’ll talk about that later. But actually, like, you know, making them partners, like, instead of building for creators, you should build with creators, make them partners, your prod development, and that can go all the way into actually, you know, a lot of these companies these days actually have their top creators invest in the company. So that actually aligns interests. And a creator as an investor can not only help you, you know, get some funding, but they also have the reach in the audience to help you get the word out about your company. Right. So that’s, that’s huge. And yeah, like trying to solve one of their main problems, whether is money, fame, or love, and try to solve in a unique way, like try to solve like, there are certain segments of creators that have much bigger pain points than others. So for example, if you’re focused on You know, like, you can consider a VC as a creator, right? They’re tweeting, tweeting and writing thought leadership articles online. But you know, compare if you’re trying to help people make money, and you’re trying to help VCs make money versus help musicians and make money, that’s a huge difference. Why is like a hair on fire calm? And otherwise, just like a nice, nice to have to try to solve a burning pain point? Yeah. Okay.

Randy Silver: 

So I’m curious, is there a trick to engaging creators and getting them into that co building process? Because, you know, I try and do this with all of my customers new, whatever it is they’re trying to do. They’re trying to succeed at something, it may be a slightly different way. And I want them to get as involved as I can I want to co create with them where possible, what’s the, what’s the secret to doing it with, with creators, specifically? Um,

Peter Yang: 

I think one trick is creators are very public, right? They are opting out, their content is all over Instagram, Twitter, or whatever your platform of choice is. So a lot of entrepreneurs and PMS reach out to creators without doing their research. If you just take like half hour to look through your Instagram feed, or like, you know, whatever social media presence they have, you probably can get a pretty good understanding of what you need problem they’re struggling with right now. Yeah. And you can you can tailor your outreach in a way that kind of directly addresses that problem. And they’re much more likely to respond, if you do that. I think another thing to think about is that, I will say, 99% of time, a creator will always want to grow their audience bigger, you know, like, even even like, Mr. Beast, still wants to grow his audience. So if you can find some way to help them, like reach a new, you know, fan base, or like grow your audience. That’s always something that I think they’ll be interested in.

Lily Smith: 

So one of the things that must be like a real challenge is just getting started from scratch. Like, obviously, we know some of the big platforms like Spotify, that enable people to discover new music, or the all the references that I have are all music related and Bandcamp as well. But how do you if you want to provide a platform for creators? How do you kickstart that?

Peter Yang: 

Yeah, that’s a really good question. So I think there’s something called the creator growth loop. And there can be different growth loops, where your focus on money, fame or love, right, so the typical growth loop isn’t like this, you, you target a very niche segment of creators, people who are already pre established. And then you give them either money, fame or love. And hopefully, these creators are, you know, happy enough that they will bring their fans to your platform. And some of those fans are other creators, and they will start that the flywheel will kind of take off after that, right. Just to make that a little bit more tangible. You know, like, money grow through is something like cameo, right? cameo is focused on Celebrity, personalised video shout outs, because these libraries can make money on the platform, they will bring more fans to perform and more or less people will get on board as creators of fame growth with the perfect example is Tick tock, right. Like in the beginning, you have a higher chance of taking off and growing your audience on dateline going viral, then on Instagram or some other established platform. So as a result, more and more creators came to try to kind of grow their audience. And finally, for love loop, I think I think discord is a good example of love loop. discord, you know, is like this chat chap. It doesn’t actually help you grow your audience or making money, but it helps you engage with your fan community. And because it does such a great job at doing that. More and more creators will set up their Discord server and kind of engage your fans through that platform. So yeah,

Lily Smith: 

is there anything else that these creative platforms have in common, that have made them successful? Because they’re, I felt like there’s a real kind of desire for people to want to provide platforms for creators, but often don’t quite get it. Right.

Peter Yang: 

Yeah, I think another common trait is that there’s founder market fit. So a very good path to success is you start by being a creator yourself. I mean, it’s kind of like one right? I’m trying to be a creator myself. I’m trying to grow an audience around my niche. And by the time actually have a good product idea or I want to start something I already have you know, 10,000 people are a hands on people for Follow me. And with a big audience, it’s pretty easy to have your product take off because which is the biggest hurdle so yeah, yeah, could be a creator yourself. Like jack Conte was a musician before he started page Patreon. Whereas I’m gonna give examples. There’s just a lot of different examples out there. Yeah, yeah.

Randy Silver: 

Well, let’s let’s dig into some of this because obviously, Lily and I are creators as well. We’ve got the podcast going, and it’s not often we get to talk to an expert who can help us Are things I think you’ve written about some keys to success that you’ve observed for creators in general? What are the the two or three biggest ones a piece of advice that you’d give to someone who is trying to be a creator? Or for someone who’s trying to create a tool for creators to unlock their psychology?

Peter Yang: 

Um, I think it’s the same. Yeah, I think it’s similar advice for someone trying to grow as a creator to someone trying to build a creator company. I think you got to follow the right steps, right. So the first step is to find the right niche, find what you’re good at and find what people are interested in. And kind of target that niche. Second step is to solve a problem and solve a problem that people have like a creator, maybe, you know, solving a problem, like I’m solving problem people who want to learn about the critter economy or see see me economy. And like a company might be solving for money for my life, to solve the right problem. And then use the growth loop to kind of like, you know, grow through the loop. And also like, make the loop grow faster by doing things that don’t don’t scale by like building a creator community, talking to them every day, making them like your loyal first customers so that they will help promote your product. And then after that you can you kind of like the growth loop will be kind of like, you know, a celebrating and you can think about monetization, and other stuff down the line.

Randy Silver: 

Fancy levelling up your product management skills, always, are you ready to take that next step in your product career? Of course, Well, you’re in luck mine, the product is offering interactive remote workshops where you can dedicate two half days to honing your product management craft with a small group of peers,

Lily Smith: 

you’ll be coached through your product challenges by our expert trainer, and walk away with frameworks and tools you can use right away. You can choose from product management, foundations, communication and alignment metrics for product managers or mapping to solve product

Randy Silver: 

problems. Find out more and book your place on a monthly workshop at mind the product.com slash workshops, that’s mine, the product comm slash workshops. So let’s let’s talk about monetization, because that’s one of the hardest things, it’s easy for people to throw things out there. You can get people to consume or, and get lucky every once in a while. But you’re lucky enough to get your 100 or 1000 true fans, and now you want to make a living off of them. Where do you start with that?

Peter Yang: 

So I think the first step is to think about your fans as a kind of like a demand curve, like we all learned is in economies one on one, where, let’s say you have you know, 10,000 fans, probably 9000 are gonna be like casual fans, who like your content, but probably won’t pay anything for free stuff, right. And then maybe there’s like 900, who are like more active fans maybe willing to pay like $5 a month to get access to or like some exclusive content. And then there’s probably gonna be like 10 left this way, like 100 or less, like super fans or true fans? Who will pay a lot. And I think a lot of creators underestimate exactly how much these true fans will pay, they will pay it like a boatload. Right. And this is part of this was part of why like this ft thing is taking off, because he’s probably better at monetizing your true fans than any other vehicle. So if you think about maybe you have like, you know, advertising, like on YouTube for your casual fans, and then you have subscriptions for your active fans, and then maybe you have like NF T’s or tipping or someone or like, you know, quote, unquote, will product for true fans. And with that portfolio products, that’s how you kind of make my money, if that makes sense. Yeah, and I guess one more thing is that, you know, companies are probably willing to pay a lot more than consumers. So be beyond your true fans. Think about how you can get like a brand or like a company to sponsor you. And I think they’ll probably learn a lot more through that, too. Yeah.

Lily Smith: 

And, and so I’m very familiar with the kind of ads and subscription side of things, but NF T’s like what, what are they How do people use them these days? Yeah.

Peter Yang: 

Yeah. f t is called non fungible token. But basically what it does, it allows a fan to own a piece of your content, right? So like, if you put a piece of art out there, and the fan actually buys the NFT for the art, technically, there’s a record online that shows that they own this content now, and they can resell it to someone else. So the reason I think that’s really powerful, right, because in a typical platform like YouTube or Instagram, the creator doesn’t own the content and defend his own content, actually, who wants the content is actually the platform itself. But what an auntie does is allows Create your own content and sell it according to the fans. So it kind of cuts out the middleman and allows the fan to basically, you know, pay a lot to have ownership over the current content. So,

Randy Silver: 

NF T’s are good from that perspective, because you’re giving someone a premium and exclusive thing. We talked about ads, it’s kind of the bottom of the barrel system. But both of those are either one time or traffic generated. What about recurring revenue? I mean, that’s the real trick, isn’t it? You want to get predictable? And we all know, we all like steady predictable growth, don’t we?

Peter Yang: 

Yeah. Yeah. Why, you know, why worked at twitch subscriptions has been like the bread and butter. And yeah, like, you know, it might feel nice to make some money through like a big tip or like some other, you know, NFT. But if you want to go full, full time and make a living as a creator, without worrying about your paycheck, you know, you have to keep going to subscriptions. And the other thing about subscriptions is that the church is like you know, a little bit lower is that the income is a lot more predictable than any other, you know, monetization channel. So a lot of people are focused on subscriptions. The problem is subscriptions right now is that the platform takes like a huge cut of it, right? Like twitch takes 50% cut, if you people buy it through, like, you know, mobile, Apple takes like a 30% cut. It’s just like, you know, the, what ends up if someone pays a creator of $5 a month, the creator of my own edit would like one or $2. So they need to get like a lot of subscriptions to to actually kind of like sustain themselves. So neither either kind of that basically or subscriptions. But you also need the the whale stuff around like gift to subscriptions, or like FTS or tips.

Lily Smith: 

It’s pretty tricky, isn’t it? Because you’ve got a lot of kind of struggling creators out there. And then these big platforms, are these small platforms that grow into big platforms that then take the small amount of like big chunks of the small amount of money that they are earning. Is that do you see, like, foresee in the future? Like, a tip of that balance? And, and that changing?

Peter Yang: 

Yeah, I think the good news is that is happening right right now, because because the economy is taking off, because creators wield so much power and trust. Now, you see a lot of platforms like Twitter, like Facebook, cutting the cutting the take rate that they take to like 20% or less. And, you know, their their play is that, you know, the creator will stay on the platform. And they can ultimately make more money from more eyeballs on more ads. Right. That’s how they’re playing. But I think it’s still good for creator, because now the creator can keep more of their subscriptions. keep more of their tips. Yeah.

Randy Silver: 

So if you’re trying to create tools for for these people, is this really just a race to the bottom? Or is there some room for innovation and doing something really new?

Peter Yang: 

Yeah, I think if you think about a creator as small business, I think, you know, growing your audience is a problem of making money, the problem. But I think there’s a whole iexplore area like these craters don’t have real financial health or health care, or it’s very hard for them to find, you know, video editors find like moderators to help their community. So that whole space, I think, is like pretty untapped. I think there’s like a lot of companies, I could come out of that space. But if you’re competing directly with Twitter or Facebook on like monetization, it might be a hard road ahead. Unless you can go into like the crypto space or something that’s a little bit more differentiated.

Randy Silver: 

This is like the story about the gold rush. You know, there’s all a bunch of people who came out as prospectors and trying to make money panning for gold. But the people who did the best were the ones who sold them the supplies.

Peter Yang: 

Yeah, exactly, exactly. It’s kind of like stripe, right? That they’re like the infrastructure, and they just keep making money as other companies make money.

Lily Smith: 

And you mentioned a couple of times earlier, about kind of bringing the customer into the conversation as you’re creating platforms or products for creators. And I think you called it at one point community led product development. And so what does that actually mean? How, like, you know, we’re familiar with user research and user testing, that is community led product development going beyond that.

Peter Yang: 

Yeah, I think so. So I’m gonna go a little bit of a rant here. So like, go for it. You know, I’ve worked out all these big tech companies. And what I see a lot in the pm that his company is that they spent all their time talking to internal stakeholders, they run AV tests, they look at metrics, and then I should talk to customers themselves. And in fact, if they try to talk to customers themselves, they get their hands slapped, they’re like, Hey, you didn’t follow this 10 step process, or don’t check a vehicle or like your hand slap, right? And I think that’s kind of sad, to be honest with you. Because for me as a PM, what the highlight of my day, you know, is talking to customers and I What I tend to do at the end of every day is like, did I ship value to customers or not that that makes them happy? Did I imagine make a customer happy not not an internal stakeholder, right? So I think the power of community product development is twofold. One is that the feedback loop is dramatically increased. Like if you rely on user research, or like, wait for some big panel to talk to customers, like focus group, and probably talk to customers maybe like once a once a month. But here, if you actually build a community, and why I think building community, I simply mean inviting a couple of early adopters into like a slack group or like a Discord. So you can talk to them, right? If you actually do that, and you talk to them every day, they become like part of your team. Just like how you talk to your designer or engineer everyday, you can talk to them every day. And it’s incredibly powerful, because like, you can talk to them about any kind of new problem that comes up on a daily basis. And they can provide their voice, the same way the internal stakeholders provide their voice. And it helps you build, it helps you build better products. The other part of it that’s very powerful is that you start understanding through a lot more, you start kind of like walking in their shoes, because you don’t just talk about the product and use discord servers or you know, in a slack groups, you actually talk about their lives and how they’re doing right. And you start identifying problems that you actually haven’t even thought about, maybe that’s actually maybe more important than a problem that you’re trying to work on right now. So yeah, it just feels like you have this. You have this core team, that’s kind of your company and your product team. But you also have a larger circle of early adopters. And I feel much more confident doing price with the community than without.

Randy Silver: 

So we’ve all met that executive who comes by and says, Hey, I just talked to a customer and they said this. So how do you avoid over indexing towards a couple of influential people that are on that slack or discord, and recency bias and things like that?

Peter Yang: 

Yeah, so those are all definitely concerns. And you know, I’m not saying you should ignore a B test, or like the status or like, you know, the other channels. But I think those concerns are often pretty overblown. If you’re working on a zero to one product, you’re gonna have to rely on early adopters to adopt the product anyway. Right? So the people who are most passionate about it are probably the people who are in your community, we’re gonna try out first. Second thing is, I mean, there is some basic things you can do to not ask leading questions, questions and get a biassed answer, like, I think this book called The mom test that I really recommend to do customer research. But But yeah, just like, keep a balance of all the channels. And you know, some of these communities, they grow into 10,000 people, communities, or like, you know, a very large community. And at that point, you don’t actually get buyer’s input, you actually get like, a pretty good sample of what customers think.

Lily Smith: 

And is there are there any companies that you’re aware of that are kind of doing this really well?

Peter Yang: 

Yeah. I’ll give a couple examples. So I think when tik tok first started, you know, the tick tock team is based in China, right. And it was called musically back in the day. And they were a team based in China, building products for American teams. So they basically put everyone into like a WeChat group, which has like China’s, you know, messenger, and they were talking to us American teens, everyday, I’m building products for them. And I think that’s a really good example of how of why they succeeded. And that a good example, is what Twitter is doing with spaces, their audio product, they are aren’t actually doing it in a closed community. As far as I can tell, they’re just like tweeting out figma designs and what they’re planning. And they’re getting, like a lot of good feedback publicly about the product product. And I think that’s definitely helping them kind of like, build the right experience. And at Reddit, where work right now, you know, moderators are our most important customer segment, right, because they actually control the subreddits that, you know, makes radio platform. And historically, like, you know, the relationship between Britain and the moderators has not, has not been very good. But I basically have a private community where I talk to the, you know, let’s say 100 or so mods every day. And I share designs, and I think I’ve really kind of wonder trust, I actually have not shipped anything for for them yet. But just by talking to them, they’re like, well, this person actually talks to me, and actually listens for input. So now they’re like, really eager to adopt whatever prize I have. And I think that has made a huge difference.

Lily Smith: 

Do you have to do find with Reddit that you have to kind of talk in the environment that they’re comfortable in? And, you know, do you have to write to to them, rather than actually speaking to them?

Peter Yang: 

Yeah. Well, I mean, the good news is that I’m working on a product already talk where you can have live audio conversations and dogfooding that product with them where we can actually talk to each other through voice. Yeah, but typically, it happens through text. Yeah.

Lily Smith: 

Cool. Cool. So if a product manager is listening to this and thinking, Well, that sounds great. And I think that would work for my For my product or for my business they work for, how would you suggest that they get started with it

Peter Yang: 

with community lead prior development? Yeah, sorry, you probably have to make a case for it. If you’re working on like a semi big company for what kind of startup, I think you can just go do it, you can just like, find a couple of customers make a Discord server or like a subreddit, or something, and just start talking to customers. But if you’re kind of like a semi large company, you probably have to make an internal case for it. And I think you do that by pointing to examples of, you know, how it’s done well in the past, and maybe doing like a pilot or something, something. And I think my advice for PMS or larger companies won’t do this is their processing place. But look, don’t let them stop you. Like, give people a heads up that you want to do this. But, uh, you know, go ahead and do it right, like, what’s the worst that can happen? I mean, maybe some products will leak. But I think having that happen, the risk of having to happen is like so much lower than the value that you get all the time with your customers every day.

Randy Silver: 

Yeah. And if you are trying to create and trying to to become more of a creator yourself, what’s one thing that you can do someone can do tomorrow to get started or improve their efforts? What’s one big secret?

Peter Yang: 

I mean, I think this, this podcast is for PMS, right. And I think a lot of PMS, they haven’t really woke up their climb, to try to climb the career ladder in your company. And they’re like, you know, well, I’m a Facebook employee. I’m a Google employee, I think, I think instead of saying you’re a Facebook employee, Google employees say, they try to build your own personal brand. And that’s like, super important. So try to try to, you know, use Twitter or write blog posts or to, you know, whatever you’re passionate about, and try to build a personal brand around a niche. You know, obviously, I probably probably not be on this podcast, if I didn’t have a personal brand. And having a personal brand has really opened a lot of doors. You know, I met a lot of people through it. I built a reputation. I talk to all these leaders all the time. And you know, why let the VCs do it, right. I mean, the people who actually manage the PMS and the people just take time to build a personal brand.

Randy Silver: 

Yeah. Except that no one ever wants to see how the sausage is made. that’ll turn you off forever. Yeah.

Peter Yang: 

Yeah, I mean, I have I have this meme where it’s like a bell curve, where on when you are posting thought leadership, and on their annual posting means, in the middle, in the trough of despair, you’re, you’re actually like, you know, talking to stakeholders, building products, doing testing. Like that’s the hard part, right? It’s not like, it’s like thought leadership and means. So show people that you’re doing all this work, and like, I think build a personal brand through that.

Lily Smith: 

Amazing. Peter, it’s been really great talking to you today. Thank you so much for sharing everything. And yeah, if people want to read more than we will share lots of notes in the show notes as well. So check them out. Cool. Thanks. It was a pleasure. It’s a bit weird trying to talk to listeners who can’t answer back so I will talk to you again. Now. Randy. Okay. Oh,

Randy Silver: 

so now you want to talk to me. But now you know, I want to actually talk to our listeners. Because if you’re listening to this on the day it comes out. We’re hosting a special social event at MTP Digi con tomorrow. Come join us for a special group therapy session after the main event on Thursday the 15th of July. See you there.

Lily Smith: 

Hey, it’s me, Lily Smith and me

Randy Silver: 

Randy silver.

Lily Smith: 

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

Randy Silver: 

Our theme music is from Humbard baseband power that’s p A you thanks to Nick Hitler who runs product tank and MTP engage in Hamburg and plays bass in the band for letting us use their music. Connect with your local product community via product tank or regular free meetups in over 200 cities

Lily Smith: 

worldwide. If there’s not one negue you can consider starting one yourself. To find out more go to mind the product.com forward slash product tank.

Randy Silver: 

Product tech 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 greetings and tips.

[buzzsprout episode='8836079' player='true'] We all know that solving your customer's problem - in a way that's feasible, viable and usable - is the key to a product's success.  (Or one of them, anyway!) Inherent in that is clearly understanding your users, and their problems.  We talked with Peter Yang, product lead at Reddit, about understanding the needs and mindsets of creators, and how to build products for them. Featured Links: Follow Peter on LinkedIn and TwitterCreator Economy|Build for Creators Course  | Buy Peter's book 'Principles of Product Management'  | Rob Fitzpatrick's book 'The Mom Test'

Episode transcript

Lily Smith:  Hey listeners, I usually talk to Randy when we record our intro, but this week, I'm talking to you. How you doing? Randy Silver:  You'd know that they can't actually answer you, Lily. I mean, not in real time anyway. Lily Smith:  Well, I'm just checking in to see if they call, you know, making sure we're listening to our listeners. Okay. Okay, I Randy Silver:  see what you're trying to do. This has something to do with inviting our customers in, you know, to be part of the whole product development process, isn't it? Lily Smith:  Yes, listeners, Randy is right. This week, we're talking to Peter Yang product lead at Reddit and creator economy expert, we had a great chat with Peter about creating products for creators very matter, and also what it means to do community led product Randy Silver:  development. Peter has also been at Twitch and Facebook and Twitter. But we're the creators of this podcast. So you know, we hit him up for some advice that should be useful for all of you to let us know what you think. Lily Smith:  Let's get to the chat. 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:  Because it mind the product calm to catch up on past episodes, and to discover an extensive library of great content Randy Silver:  and videos, browse for free, or become a mind the product member to unlock premium articles, unseen videos, ama's roundtables, discounts to our conferences around the world training opportunities. Lily Smith:  Mining product also offers free product tank meetups in more than 200 cities. And there's probably one way you Randy Silver:  Peter, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. Yeah, glad to be here. Thanks for inviting me. For anyone who doesn't already follow your your writing. Can you just give us a quick introduction? Tell us what you're doing these days? And how did you get into product? Peter Yang:  Yeah, so right now I am a product lead. I read it. I'm also a wannabe Twitter influencer, I tried to publish content on the creator economy. And it was pretty hard for me to get a product I think, you know, five or six years ago, I was at Facebook, working in marketing. And I tried to transition to product for like three years in a row and couldn't make it through the loop. And then somebody told me like, hey, you're the person who tried to most in this companies you're trying to transition internally, like maybe we should think about externally or something. And yeah, eventually, because I was lucky enough to be part of the live video, Tim Murphy's Facebook, I build expertise in the industry. So I was able to transition to Twitter as a live video pm. So it was probably like a three or four year journey to become a product manager. Randy Silver:  Yeah, fantastic. And when so when you finally landed in the role wasn't what you expected it to be? or How was it different? Peter Yang:  Yeah, I think it's pretty different. I mean, I think when I was working in marketing, I really wanted to have input on the product itself, as opposed to just how to launch the product. Right. But after I became a PM, and as I become more experienced, I think a pm is someone who is much more of a facilitator, someone who actually posed the best opinions out of other people out of your team. And also, you know, very importantly, out of customers, and kind of like these a team towards building the right product that solves a real customer problem problem. So it's less than someone who's calling the shots and more someone who's trying to drive the effort forward. Does that make sense? Lily Smith:  Yeah, absolutely. And I think we're going to talk a little bit about how the customer can be part of your team later. But before we get into into that, one of the things that you are known for writing about and that you are quite expert in, is the creative economy, which you mentioned earlier. So for anyone who hasn't heard the term before, what is the creator economy? Peter Yang:  Yeah. So I mean, let's start with what is a creator, right. So I think a creator is anyone who is trying to make a living, publishing content online. And that can include like youtubers to upload videos, include, you know, podcasters, it can include write writers, you can, you can even include, like, community builders trying to build an online community or like game developers trying to make some sort of virtual world. So if anyone wants to make a living online, and the query economy has really taken off, I think recently, like, is what all the VCs and everybody talks about? And I think there's a couple of reasons why. I think first, I think people in general are trusting brands and platforms less to trust other people more. So and I think the platforms are starting to realise that, you know, historically, you grow through SEO, you grow through paid ads. But right now, if you don't have like a creator as part of your growth strategy, you kind of like fall. behind the curve, because they just these creators, these top queries have so many followers and fans, and they had, like, so much influence over what their fans do, they can't even make it part of the part of your acquisition strategy. A second thing I think, is like, you know, more and more people want to work for themselves. And I think a creator is kind of like an interesting middle ground between a, you know, a fan, PM, and also someone who is like a tech entrepreneur. It's a good middle ground, because you can basically scale to millions of people, millions of fans and, you know, make millions of dollars with just like a, you know, just by yourself or with a very small team. And, you know, the internet has made it possible for anyone to kind of publish content around like a niche, and reach a large audience. And I think that's really powerful, right. And I think the third thing is like, you know, COVID have happened. So all of a sudden, you know, people were forced to teach yoga classes online form communities online, and basically learn how to make money online. And people are starting to realise in your home in your pyjamas, that they can actually, you know, do some side gigs and like, start making money themselves, as opposed to just being part of a corporation. Randy Silver:  you're defining it a little bit narrowly. So I just want to dig into that. Yeah. You got into the fact that it someone who can scale to that level? Is that what you define it as someone who creates online content, rather than, say, someone who's got an Etsy shop? Peter Yang:  I consider Etsy shop as a creator tool, for sure. Yeah. I mean, they basically have an online portal that sells offline goods. I think most people talk about careers in terms of like, people selling digital goods, like definitely think like, you know, ecommerce counts. Randy Silver:  Okay. So how do you cater specifically to to creators? What is different about trying to solve for them rather than for any other persona type? Peter Yang:  Yeah, um, I think, you know, when I was a Twitch, it was pretty hammer home to me that creators have three main needs, and that's money, fame, and love. So what does that mean? So Love is love comes from the joy of just making great content and from talking to your fans. And fame comes from, you know, after you make good content, you can start growing an audience, and you can start kind of building a community. And, and money comes from making a living from the audience, you know, either getting your fans to pay you directly, or finding sponsors or some other way to make money, right. So those are kind of like the three high level needs, I think there's like a fourth need, that people don't really talk about, which is mental mental health, you would think that, you know, creators are kind of like, you know, entrepreneurs, small businesses, so they have like, more free time. But most of the time, that's not the case, they are kind of, they need to produce content all the time and talk to fans all the time, otherwise, they're gonna fall behind. So there's a lot of pressure for them to perform. And I think mental health is like a very important need to, yeah, Lily Smith:  it's really interesting hearing you talk about it, because so my husband is a musician, and sells some of his music online. So it a lot of what you're saying, rings true of just, you know, that that pressure as well of having to create, and, and try and generate income from, you know, from essentially your passion. And it is a very unique, yeah, you're right, it's very kind of unique group of people. So when you're creating solutions and products for people in the space, what are some of the kind of, you know, keys to success for, for creating products for these people? Peter Yang:  Yeah, I think the first thing is, you have to be really genuine and authentic with creators. They're their creative people, right? So if you talk to them from perspective of like, Hey, you know, you know, here's my platform, I want to grow using my platform, you know, let's help make money for you. And for my platform, they're not going to resonate very well, or we're saying, I mean, right now, you're in a situation where any crater with any, you know, like a decent sized audience is getting pinned by multiple query economy companies all the time. So you really have to speak their language and really have their needs in mind when you're talking to them. So I think being authentic is the first thing. Second thing is just like, actually building on community, and you know, what kind of them we'll talk about that later. But actually, like, you know, making them partners, like, instead of building for creators, you should build with creators, make them partners, your prod development, and that can go all the way into actually, you know, a lot of these companies these days actually have their top creators invest in the company. So that actually aligns interests. And a creator as an investor can not only help you, you know, get some funding, but they also have the reach in the audience to help you get the word out about your company. Right. So that's, that's huge. And yeah, like trying to solve one of their main problems, whether is money, fame, or love, and try to solve in a unique way, like try to solve like, there are certain segments of creators that have much bigger pain points than others. So for example, if you're focused on You know, like, you can consider a VC as a creator, right? They're tweeting, tweeting and writing thought leadership articles online. But you know, compare if you're trying to help people make money, and you're trying to help VCs make money versus help musicians and make money, that's a huge difference. Why is like a hair on fire calm? And otherwise, just like a nice, nice to have to try to solve a burning pain point? Yeah. Okay. Randy Silver:  So I'm curious, is there a trick to engaging creators and getting them into that co building process? Because, you know, I try and do this with all of my customers new, whatever it is they're trying to do. They're trying to succeed at something, it may be a slightly different way. And I want them to get as involved as I can I want to co create with them where possible, what's the, what's the secret to doing it with, with creators, specifically? Um, Peter Yang:  I think one trick is creators are very public, right? They are opting out, their content is all over Instagram, Twitter, or whatever your platform of choice is. So a lot of entrepreneurs and PMS reach out to creators without doing their research. If you just take like half hour to look through your Instagram feed, or like, you know, whatever social media presence they have, you probably can get a pretty good understanding of what you need problem they're struggling with right now. Yeah. And you can you can tailor your outreach in a way that kind of directly addresses that problem. And they're much more likely to respond, if you do that. I think another thing to think about is that, I will say, 99% of time, a creator will always want to grow their audience bigger, you know, like, even even like, Mr. Beast, still wants to grow his audience. So if you can find some way to help them, like reach a new, you know, fan base, or like grow your audience. That's always something that I think they'll be interested in. Lily Smith:  So one of the things that must be like a real challenge is just getting started from scratch. Like, obviously, we know some of the big platforms like Spotify, that enable people to discover new music, or the all the references that I have are all music related and Bandcamp as well. But how do you if you want to provide a platform for creators? How do you kickstart that? Peter Yang:  Yeah, that's a really good question. So I think there's something called the creator growth loop. And there can be different growth loops, where your focus on money, fame or love, right, so the typical growth loop isn't like this, you, you target a very niche segment of creators, people who are already pre established. And then you give them either money, fame or love. And hopefully, these creators are, you know, happy enough that they will bring their fans to your platform. And some of those fans are other creators, and they will start that the flywheel will kind of take off after that, right. Just to make that a little bit more tangible. You know, like, money grow through is something like cameo, right? cameo is focused on Celebrity, personalised video shout outs, because these libraries can make money on the platform, they will bring more fans to perform and more or less people will get on board as creators of fame growth with the perfect example is Tick tock, right. Like in the beginning, you have a higher chance of taking off and growing your audience on dateline going viral, then on Instagram or some other established platform. So as a result, more and more creators came to try to kind of grow their audience. And finally, for love loop, I think I think discord is a good example of love loop. discord, you know, is like this chat chap. It doesn't actually help you grow your audience or making money, but it helps you engage with your fan community. And because it does such a great job at doing that. More and more creators will set up their Discord server and kind of engage your fans through that platform. So yeah, Lily Smith:  is there anything else that these creative platforms have in common, that have made them successful? Because they're, I felt like there's a real kind of desire for people to want to provide platforms for creators, but often don't quite get it. Right. Peter Yang:  Yeah, I think another common trait is that there's founder market fit. So a very good path to success is you start by being a creator yourself. I mean, it's kind of like one right? I'm trying to be a creator myself. I'm trying to grow an audience around my niche. And by the time actually have a good product idea or I want to start something I already have you know, 10,000 people are a hands on people for Follow me. And with a big audience, it's pretty easy to have your product take off because which is the biggest hurdle so yeah, yeah, could be a creator yourself. Like jack Conte was a musician before he started page Patreon. Whereas I'm gonna give examples. There's just a lot of different examples out there. Yeah, yeah. Randy Silver:  Well, let's let's dig into some of this because obviously, Lily and I are creators as well. We've got the podcast going, and it's not often we get to talk to an expert who can help us Are things I think you've written about some keys to success that you've observed for creators in general? What are the the two or three biggest ones a piece of advice that you'd give to someone who is trying to be a creator? Or for someone who's trying to create a tool for creators to unlock their psychology? Peter Yang:  Um, I think it's the same. Yeah, I think it's similar advice for someone trying to grow as a creator to someone trying to build a creator company. I think you got to follow the right steps, right. So the first step is to find the right niche, find what you're good at and find what people are interested in. And kind of target that niche. Second step is to solve a problem and solve a problem that people have like a creator, maybe, you know, solving a problem, like I'm solving problem people who want to learn about the critter economy or see see me economy. And like a company might be solving for money for my life, to solve the right problem. And then use the growth loop to kind of like, you know, grow through the loop. And also like, make the loop grow faster by doing things that don't don't scale by like building a creator community, talking to them every day, making them like your loyal first customers so that they will help promote your product. And then after that you can you kind of like the growth loop will be kind of like, you know, a celebrating and you can think about monetization, and other stuff down the line. Randy Silver:  Fancy levelling up your product management skills, always, are you ready to take that next step in your product career? Of course, Well, you're in luck mine, the product is offering interactive remote workshops where you can dedicate two half days to honing your product management craft with a small group of peers, Lily Smith:  you'll be coached through your product challenges by our expert trainer, and walk away with frameworks and tools you can use right away. You can choose from product management, foundations, communication and alignment metrics for product managers or mapping to solve product Randy Silver:  problems. Find out more and book your place on a monthly workshop at mind the product.com slash workshops, that's mine, the product comm slash workshops. So let's let's talk about monetization, because that's one of the hardest things, it's easy for people to throw things out there. You can get people to consume or, and get lucky every once in a while. But you're lucky enough to get your 100 or 1000 true fans, and now you want to make a living off of them. Where do you start with that? Peter Yang:  So I think the first step is to think about your fans as a kind of like a demand curve, like we all learned is in economies one on one, where, let's say you have you know, 10,000 fans, probably 9000 are gonna be like casual fans, who like your content, but probably won't pay anything for free stuff, right. And then maybe there's like 900, who are like more active fans maybe willing to pay like $5 a month to get access to or like some exclusive content. And then there's probably gonna be like 10 left this way, like 100 or less, like super fans or true fans? Who will pay a lot. And I think a lot of creators underestimate exactly how much these true fans will pay, they will pay it like a boatload. Right. And this is part of this was part of why like this ft thing is taking off, because he's probably better at monetizing your true fans than any other vehicle. So if you think about maybe you have like, you know, advertising, like on YouTube for your casual fans, and then you have subscriptions for your active fans, and then maybe you have like NF T's or tipping or someone or like, you know, quote, unquote, will product for true fans. And with that portfolio products, that's how you kind of make my money, if that makes sense. Yeah, and I guess one more thing is that, you know, companies are probably willing to pay a lot more than consumers. So be beyond your true fans. Think about how you can get like a brand or like a company to sponsor you. And I think they'll probably learn a lot more through that, too. Yeah. Lily Smith:  And, and so I'm very familiar with the kind of ads and subscription side of things, but NF T's like what, what are they How do people use them these days? Yeah. Peter Yang:  Yeah. f t is called non fungible token. But basically what it does, it allows a fan to own a piece of your content, right? So like, if you put a piece of art out there, and the fan actually buys the NFT for the art, technically, there's a record online that shows that they own this content now, and they can resell it to someone else. So the reason I think that's really powerful, right, because in a typical platform like YouTube or Instagram, the creator doesn't own the content and defend his own content, actually, who wants the content is actually the platform itself. But what an auntie does is allows Create your own content and sell it according to the fans. So it kind of cuts out the middleman and allows the fan to basically, you know, pay a lot to have ownership over the current content. So, Randy Silver:  NF T's are good from that perspective, because you're giving someone a premium and exclusive thing. We talked about ads, it's kind of the bottom of the barrel system. But both of those are either one time or traffic generated. What about recurring revenue? I mean, that's the real trick, isn't it? You want to get predictable? And we all know, we all like steady predictable growth, don't we? Peter Yang:  Yeah. Yeah. Why, you know, why worked at twitch subscriptions has been like the bread and butter. And yeah, like, you know, it might feel nice to make some money through like a big tip or like some other, you know, NFT. But if you want to go full, full time and make a living as a creator, without worrying about your paycheck, you know, you have to keep going to subscriptions. And the other thing about subscriptions is that the church is like you know, a little bit lower is that the income is a lot more predictable than any other, you know, monetization channel. So a lot of people are focused on subscriptions. The problem is subscriptions right now is that the platform takes like a huge cut of it, right? Like twitch takes 50% cut, if you people buy it through, like, you know, mobile, Apple takes like a 30% cut. It's just like, you know, the, what ends up if someone pays a creator of $5 a month, the creator of my own edit would like one or $2. So they need to get like a lot of subscriptions to to actually kind of like sustain themselves. So neither either kind of that basically or subscriptions. But you also need the the whale stuff around like gift to subscriptions, or like FTS or tips. Lily Smith:  It's pretty tricky, isn't it? Because you've got a lot of kind of struggling creators out there. And then these big platforms, are these small platforms that grow into big platforms that then take the small amount of like big chunks of the small amount of money that they are earning. Is that do you see, like, foresee in the future? Like, a tip of that balance? And, and that changing? Peter Yang:  Yeah, I think the good news is that is happening right right now, because because the economy is taking off, because creators wield so much power and trust. Now, you see a lot of platforms like Twitter, like Facebook, cutting the cutting the take rate that they take to like 20% or less. And, you know, their their play is that, you know, the creator will stay on the platform. And they can ultimately make more money from more eyeballs on more ads. Right. That's how they're playing. But I think it's still good for creator, because now the creator can keep more of their subscriptions. keep more of their tips. Yeah. Randy Silver:  So if you're trying to create tools for for these people, is this really just a race to the bottom? Or is there some room for innovation and doing something really new? Peter Yang:  Yeah, I think if you think about a creator as small business, I think, you know, growing your audience is a problem of making money, the problem. But I think there's a whole iexplore area like these craters don't have real financial health or health care, or it's very hard for them to find, you know, video editors find like moderators to help their community. So that whole space, I think, is like pretty untapped. I think there's like a lot of companies, I could come out of that space. But if you're competing directly with Twitter or Facebook on like monetization, it might be a hard road ahead. Unless you can go into like the crypto space or something that's a little bit more differentiated. Randy Silver:  This is like the story about the gold rush. You know, there's all a bunch of people who came out as prospectors and trying to make money panning for gold. But the people who did the best were the ones who sold them the supplies. Peter Yang:  Yeah, exactly, exactly. It's kind of like stripe, right? That they're like the infrastructure, and they just keep making money as other companies make money. Lily Smith:  And you mentioned a couple of times earlier, about kind of bringing the customer into the conversation as you're creating platforms or products for creators. And I think you called it at one point community led product development. And so what does that actually mean? How, like, you know, we're familiar with user research and user testing, that is community led product development going beyond that. Peter Yang:  Yeah, I think so. So I'm gonna go a little bit of a rant here. So like, go for it. You know, I've worked out all these big tech companies. And what I see a lot in the pm that his company is that they spent all their time talking to internal stakeholders, they run AV tests, they look at metrics, and then I should talk to customers themselves. And in fact, if they try to talk to customers themselves, they get their hands slapped, they're like, Hey, you didn't follow this 10 step process, or don't check a vehicle or like your hand slap, right? And I think that's kind of sad, to be honest with you. Because for me as a PM, what the highlight of my day, you know, is talking to customers and I What I tend to do at the end of every day is like, did I ship value to customers or not that that makes them happy? Did I imagine make a customer happy not not an internal stakeholder, right? So I think the power of community product development is twofold. One is that the feedback loop is dramatically increased. Like if you rely on user research, or like, wait for some big panel to talk to customers, like focus group, and probably talk to customers maybe like once a once a month. But here, if you actually build a community, and why I think building community, I simply mean inviting a couple of early adopters into like a slack group or like a Discord. So you can talk to them, right? If you actually do that, and you talk to them every day, they become like part of your team. Just like how you talk to your designer or engineer everyday, you can talk to them every day. And it's incredibly powerful, because like, you can talk to them about any kind of new problem that comes up on a daily basis. And they can provide their voice, the same way the internal stakeholders provide their voice. And it helps you build, it helps you build better products. The other part of it that's very powerful is that you start understanding through a lot more, you start kind of like walking in their shoes, because you don't just talk about the product and use discord servers or you know, in a slack groups, you actually talk about their lives and how they're doing right. And you start identifying problems that you actually haven't even thought about, maybe that's actually maybe more important than a problem that you're trying to work on right now. So yeah, it just feels like you have this. You have this core team, that's kind of your company and your product team. But you also have a larger circle of early adopters. And I feel much more confident doing price with the community than without. Randy Silver:  So we've all met that executive who comes by and says, Hey, I just talked to a customer and they said this. So how do you avoid over indexing towards a couple of influential people that are on that slack or discord, and recency bias and things like that? Peter Yang:  Yeah, so those are all definitely concerns. And you know, I'm not saying you should ignore a B test, or like the status or like, you know, the other channels. But I think those concerns are often pretty overblown. If you're working on a zero to one product, you're gonna have to rely on early adopters to adopt the product anyway. Right? So the people who are most passionate about it are probably the people who are in your community, we're gonna try out first. Second thing is, I mean, there is some basic things you can do to not ask leading questions, questions and get a biassed answer, like, I think this book called The mom test that I really recommend to do customer research. But But yeah, just like, keep a balance of all the channels. And you know, some of these communities, they grow into 10,000 people, communities, or like, you know, a very large community. And at that point, you don't actually get buyer's input, you actually get like, a pretty good sample of what customers think. Lily Smith:  And is there are there any companies that you're aware of that are kind of doing this really well? Peter Yang:  Yeah. I'll give a couple examples. So I think when tik tok first started, you know, the tick tock team is based in China, right. And it was called musically back in the day. And they were a team based in China, building products for American teams. So they basically put everyone into like a WeChat group, which has like China's, you know, messenger, and they were talking to us American teens, everyday, I'm building products for them. And I think that's a really good example of how of why they succeeded. And that a good example, is what Twitter is doing with spaces, their audio product, they are aren't actually doing it in a closed community. As far as I can tell, they're just like tweeting out figma designs and what they're planning. And they're getting, like a lot of good feedback publicly about the product product. And I think that's definitely helping them kind of like, build the right experience. And at Reddit, where work right now, you know, moderators are our most important customer segment, right, because they actually control the subreddits that, you know, makes radio platform. And historically, like, you know, the relationship between Britain and the moderators has not, has not been very good. But I basically have a private community where I talk to the, you know, let's say 100 or so mods every day. And I share designs, and I think I've really kind of wonder trust, I actually have not shipped anything for for them yet. But just by talking to them, they're like, well, this person actually talks to me, and actually listens for input. So now they're like, really eager to adopt whatever prize I have. And I think that has made a huge difference. Lily Smith:  Do you have to do find with Reddit that you have to kind of talk in the environment that they're comfortable in? And, you know, do you have to write to to them, rather than actually speaking to them? Peter Yang:  Yeah. Well, I mean, the good news is that I'm working on a product already talk where you can have live audio conversations and dogfooding that product with them where we can actually talk to each other through voice. Yeah, but typically, it happens through text. Yeah. Lily Smith:  Cool. Cool. So if a product manager is listening to this and thinking, Well, that sounds great. And I think that would work for my For my product or for my business they work for, how would you suggest that they get started with it Peter Yang:  with community lead prior development? Yeah, sorry, you probably have to make a case for it. If you're working on like a semi big company for what kind of startup, I think you can just go do it, you can just like, find a couple of customers make a Discord server or like a subreddit, or something, and just start talking to customers. But if you're kind of like a semi large company, you probably have to make an internal case for it. And I think you do that by pointing to examples of, you know, how it's done well in the past, and maybe doing like a pilot or something, something. And I think my advice for PMS or larger companies won't do this is their processing place. But look, don't let them stop you. Like, give people a heads up that you want to do this. But, uh, you know, go ahead and do it right, like, what's the worst that can happen? I mean, maybe some products will leak. But I think having that happen, the risk of having to happen is like so much lower than the value that you get all the time with your customers every day. Randy Silver:  Yeah. And if you are trying to create and trying to to become more of a creator yourself, what's one thing that you can do someone can do tomorrow to get started or improve their efforts? What's one big secret? Peter Yang:  I mean, I think this, this podcast is for PMS, right. And I think a lot of PMS, they haven't really woke up their climb, to try to climb the career ladder in your company. And they're like, you know, well, I'm a Facebook employee. I'm a Google employee, I think, I think instead of saying you're a Facebook employee, Google employees say, they try to build your own personal brand. And that's like, super important. So try to try to, you know, use Twitter or write blog posts or to, you know, whatever you're passionate about, and try to build a personal brand around a niche. You know, obviously, I probably probably not be on this podcast, if I didn't have a personal brand. And having a personal brand has really opened a lot of doors. You know, I met a lot of people through it. I built a reputation. I talk to all these leaders all the time. And you know, why let the VCs do it, right. I mean, the people who actually manage the PMS and the people just take time to build a personal brand. Randy Silver:  Yeah. Except that no one ever wants to see how the sausage is made. that'll turn you off forever. Yeah. Peter Yang:  Yeah, I mean, I have I have this meme where it's like a bell curve, where on when you are posting thought leadership, and on their annual posting means, in the middle, in the trough of despair, you're, you're actually like, you know, talking to stakeholders, building products, doing testing. Like that's the hard part, right? It's not like, it's like thought leadership and means. So show people that you're doing all this work, and like, I think build a personal brand through that. Lily Smith:  Amazing. Peter, it's been really great talking to you today. Thank you so much for sharing everything. And yeah, if people want to read more than we will share lots of notes in the show notes as well. So check them out. Cool. Thanks. It was a pleasure. It's a bit weird trying to talk to listeners who can't answer back so I will talk to you again. Now. Randy. Okay. Oh, Randy Silver:  so now you want to talk to me. But now you know, I want to actually talk to our listeners. Because if you're listening to this on the day it comes out. We're hosting a special social event at MTP Digi con tomorrow. Come join us for a special group therapy session after the main event on Thursday the 15th of July. See you there. Lily Smith:  Hey, it's me, Lily Smith and me Randy Silver:  Randy silver. Lily Smith:  Emily Tate is our producer. And Luke Smith is our editor. Randy Silver:  Our theme music is from Humbard baseband power that's p A you thanks to Nick Hitler who runs product tank and MTP engage in Hamburg and plays bass in the band for letting us use their music. Connect with your local product community via product tank or regular free meetups in over 200 cities Lily Smith:  worldwide. If there's not one negue you can consider starting one yourself. To find out more go to mind the product.com forward slash product tank. Randy Silver:  Product tech 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 greetings and tips.