Rock & Roar: The link between music and fintech
On this episode
Jay Haynes, founder of thrv.com and Kevin Trilli, CPO at Mambu, who also happen to be live music fans from way back when explain how innovations in technology, and a revolution in product roadmapping can help revive fan-economies and ensure that creativity and innovation don’t come at a cost to customer centricity.
Chief Product Officer, Mambu
Kevin has been a product leader for over 20 years across domains such as security, identity, and machine learning in B2B, SaaS and enterprise companies. At Mambu Kevin is leading the efforts in building and expanding our platform based on the needs and opportunities in the market.
Founder & CEO, thrv.com
Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) is a valuable tool for product managers and innovators, and there are different thoughts on how to actually put it into practice. Jay has innovated in the field by creating the first and only JTBD software for product, marketing, and sales teams, founding THRV (pronounced Thrive). Jay has three decades of innovation experience and has helped Microsoft, Dropbox, eBay, Twitter, American Express, Oracle and others.
Nina Mohanty [00:00:04] Hello. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Architects of Change, a podcast brought to you by Mambu, the cloud banking platform to help you evolve your business. I'm your host for this episode, Nina Mohanty, founder of Bloom Money. In this episode, I am thrilled to say that I'm joined by two tech heavyweights from Silicon Valley, where I'm actually originally from, to discuss the bare bones of technical product strategy and management with two of the very best in the industry. One of those people is Jay Haines, an award winning entrepreneur with over three decades of innovation and investing experience and some other experience that I'm very excited to touch on. The other is Kevin Trilli, Chief Product Officer at Mambu, who's been a product leader for over 25 years across domains, including fintech, security, identity, machine learning in B2B, SAS and enterprise companies. How he does it all, I have no idea. Trust me, though, if you're a CEO, founder, anyone frankly looking to hone your product strategy, this is the episode for you. Welcome, gentlemen. Thank you for joining.
Kevin Trilli [00:01:15] Thanks, Nina.
Jay Haynes [00:01:15] Thanks for having me.
Nina Mohanty [00:01:16] So let's kick off by telling us a little bit about your relationship and your experience working together.
Kevin Trilli [00:01:25] We actually met from school and our kids when we were both in San Francisco, and it was our kids were both very young. And for something, I remember the first time was a party that was housed to host parents at the school, and we met and started talking and I think we probably instantly figured out we both like music at that point and got into a long conversation about that and, and ended up staying in touch. And the funny part about this whole thing is I don't think I knew what you did for a long time and then realised both you and I did almost nearly identical areas of discipline around product management in many ways, and this was a by-product of a personal relationship that formed many years later. So I don't think we've been talk business much for many years and then realise we're both kind of doing the same thing. So very, very serendipitous.
Jay Haynes [00:02:09] Yeah. And I think we hit it off because oddly there is a relationship between product management and parenting.
Nina Mohanty [00:02:16] I bet.
Jay Haynes [00:02:17] You've got these little products that you want to be a success in the world.
Nina Mohanty [00:02:20] So, Jay, you're not just, you know, a finance man or a tech guy. Tell us about your music experience and why you have this fancy recording studio.
Jay Haynes [00:02:33] Yeah, well, I've always been interested in music. You know, I went to high school in the 1980s and college in the 1980s when the digital revolution was just happening. And I was always fascinated. My dad bought this thing called an Apple 2 in 1979, and then I got a Mac. And of course, Apple, from its early days was always interested in music. How can you use a computer to make music? Which seems like at the time it was a crazy idea. And what's really happened and the reason I still have a studio is that everything in the music world basically has been taken over by computer chips. You can do everything that you can do with the exception of a stringed instrument. And but even then, you can accomplish a lot within the computer. So it's amazing what you can do with software and hardware for music. And that's true for anything, whether it's financial products, whether it's parenting. I mean, the reason we're all using computers so frequently is they help you solve a lot of problems. And that's true for music. So I was always fascinated by that early on in my career. Turns out my first part of my career was a terrible way to make money in music, but it was really fascinating for a technology standpoint.
Nina Mohanty [00:03:46] And Kevin, you're very into music, too. Are you a musician yourself or how did you foster this love of music?
Kevin Trilli [00:03:54] So I too was in the um, at university in the late eighties, early nineties, and I worked at the University of Illinois as a lab administrator for when the floundering thing called the Internet was starting. And the first use case for me for the Internet on a personal level was trading live music tapes through the user net groups that were out there that were formed on these different communities. And I became a very power user and I think my first post still publicly or around 1990 that you can find, and this was one of the reasons why I ended up going into the Internet as a second part of my career was this experience. So music actually is connected to my career, and very much so how I think about the Internet in its earliest stages.
Nina Mohanty [00:04:36] Throughout this episode, we're going to draw on your experiences with music, but we're also going to talk about financial products and product strategy and how that can relate to the music industry. But before that, aside from your love of music, I mean, clearly your good friends, what makes you so compatible? Is it just like is it your children or what makes you such good friends?
Jay Haynes [00:04:59] I would say it's a way of thinking. And this is where I think it crosses over from parenting to music to technology, is what Kevin just said about music is really great and that's useful advice for product teams no matter what company you're at, because essentially a way to think about that is customer empathy. You know, the reason music's so great is because you love a song, because it empathises with some emotion you're feeling. You know something. There's something about the song and the groove, and that's what product teams really should do, is focus on customer empathy. They're ironically called product teams when they really should be called customer empathy teams because customers don't care about your product. They really don't. They care about getting stuff done in their lives. And that's where obviously parenting, you empathise more with your children than anybody in the world. And in music you empathise whether you like, you know, John Coltrane or Miles Davis or, you know, the Grateful Dead. You you're feeling that you're you're simpatico. You really are in the moment together. And that's a way that product teams should think about their customers, no matter what the industry is. And I think that's why Kevin and I are such good friends, is we just share this way of thinking and, you know, and that's really what friendship's about is that sort of commonality.
Kevin Trilli [00:06:23] Yeah I'll just add to that that I think, you know, Jay and I were sort of product leaders before there were product management books and techniques and names for things that are just a way of thinking, as Jay mentioned. And so I think when you find people that have the privilege, like we do, to kind of shepherd our chapter of the product management evolution story, you know, it just it's a privilege to be able to find oh, that's what people call this now. I just always thought that way, I learned the hard way to think that way and he and I have talked a lot about that. We're like, now there's a name for that, and it's a great technique and many people can learn this in a standardised way because product management's a funny thing to get into. There's not like a degree that you take to get into it. It's an experiential function that brings many disciplines together. And I remember when I first started it, people used to call me marketing, believe it or not, and it wasn't even called product management back then. So you have different evolutions of this discipline. And I think, Jay and I were lucky enough to come from separate areas, but be able to be part of one of the earlier parts of the evolution of it.
Nina Mohanty [00:07:19] Well, I'm glad you brought that up, Kevin. So let's just get down to business. There's there's not many people who can talk about product strategy as well as both of you and so eloquently and, and also tying it over to music. But before we get into current methods, let's talk about, you know, you were saying that there, there are names now for things that you just kind of did. So what was kind of the traditional old way of approaching product strategy? And you mentioned Kevin marketing and people calling you marketing. How did product actually evolve? So maybe paint me a picture of where we started and what it was like back in the day. I just done air quotes around the back in the day.
Kevin Trilli [00:08:10] I think the early days were very much business strategy type of approaches, right? They thought about it with company focus and maybe strategy development was a research project and it was a big spike, and we, oh we figured it out. Let's go build it. [00:08:24]And what happened and this happened as it went to technology also is that there was drift. And what happened is that you had this approach that you had technically, that you were trying to make a product and you're trying to fit that into a product market. And there was some set of assumptions you make up front. But then the focus and this is almost like human product, you know, kind of evolution is that more emphasis would go on how to build the mousetrap than is it a mouse we're trying to catch and what's changed. [28.7s] And so the mindset was adding about more product definition and it lost, you know, the analysis of the market, those became disjointed teams, they became commercial focussed discovery teams. When you had product building technological products, you had product definition happening only in technology organisations and you had sales organisations or commercial organisations figuring out the problem. And this disjoint just gets more and more pronounced as the companies grow and change people and you lose that initial set of people that form those opinions. And, and I think this is what all of a sudden started to realise that you had to get those product and technology teams back into the commercial side. And so then you started to hear about Eric Reece and other folks, Steve Blanck talking about customer discovery, which were I think so timely because you had waterfall and product technologist building product that didn't know why they were building code. They didn't know the context of a feature, they didn't know the why. And I think that's what happened. It went from business strategy to technological development and this chasm formed and you missed the interface of keeping alignment because, as we'll talk about today, product markets change right there, their technology cycles change. And if you're just focussed on the technology side, you start to lose touch with what the purpose of the strategy is, which is making you fit effectively into a profitable market over time.
Nina Mohanty [00:10:13] Yeah, I like that mousetrap analogy that you used and it really feels like, from what I understand, it was product for the sake of furthering business goals usually. I saw you nodding along a little bit, but would you agree with with Kevin's assessment there?
Jay Haynes [00:10:32] Yeah, definitely. And I would say that the business goal is always important because businesses need to grow and become more profitable. But it really should be about the customer goal because the way that you achieve your business goals is creating customer value. So at the end of the day, that's everything. And you can look at historical examples and see how this plays out. People forget that BlackBerry was worth more than Apple when the iPhone launched. That's that's just, you know, hard to contemplate. So the key question to ask is your product roadmap the BlackBerry or the iPhone? [33.4s] There's other great historical examples of this. Microsoft, you know, thought there was a market for the iPod. And if you used the traditional MBA one on one, you know, business school textbook definition of the market, the size of the market is the number of products sold and the number of customers buy the product price. So if you're a Microsoft product manager, you're saying, wow, this iPod market is huge. It's $30 billion, you know, to bring it back to music because Apple sold 200 million iPods, $150 a piece. So you're Microsoft, you've got an OS, you've got, you know, a billion customers. You can build an iPod competitor and take, you know, 10% share of that market at a minimum. Right. So that's a $3 billion revenue opportunity. Turns out that market is now zero, literally $0. So what happened? Well, the customer problem you're solving is not use my iPod because no one uses an iPod anymore. They don't use MP3 players anymore, right? The problem is to create a mood with music and, back to the music example, that's a universal problem to solve. That is not going away any time soon since, you know, even chimps have been shown to have been drumming. So our ancestors were even into music, you know, so it's literally encoded into our DNA. So that's the problem to focus on, and that is the true market. The products are going to change. Kevin I are old enough. You know, I had record collections, cassettes and then I had CDs. I even own eight track tapes which, you know, listeners may not even know what those are. You know, and then I switched my entire collection to CDs and then of course, I had to rebuy it all in the iTunes store. And now everybody streams, you know, whatever song you want instantaneously. You know, my 15 year old self imagining a product where I just could wirelessly stream any song ever recorded to myself anywhere on the planet, that was inconceivable. But the problem is still exactly the same, the products and solutions have change, but what you're trying to do is of music consumers exactly the same.
Nina Mohanty [00:13:08] I'm the founder of a fence tech company. There are more founders than ever, a new start-ups everywhere. What would you impart in terms of advice on what they should be thinking about? The considerations they should have when thinking about product strategy? And I realise this is a kind of interesting question because especially in the tech world today, they kind of say like if you're hiring a product manager before you know your series A, you've done something wrong. But someone's got to think about the product strategy, right? So Kevin, I see you nodding along. What are the considerations that young companies or founders need to be thinking about?
Kevin Trilli [00:13:49] Your point about hiring a product manager and when someone is going to have to do that job, regardless of how it's called structure to where it reports to. And it could be the founder or an entrepreneur, you know, it could be a product development team. It could be a customer discovery team. Just we'll leave that aside for a moment. But you may be a, you know, providing a Pandora like service back in the day. You might be providing the iPod. There's different ways you can participate in the music market. So knowing the full supply chain, knowing all the compliments and the subsidies. I like to think about the porters model, going back to Jay's Al Mater, as a great structure of defining the overall market because then you figure out your participation strategy and this comes back down to now I know the need from the job, I know the segmentation, I know that the ecosystem and now I start to think about my competitive advantage and how I can participate in whatever part of market it is. And all these things are important to do. And almost to the point where you're in the back thinking of what is the technology you're going to introduce into that market as a capability? But again, as I go back, the tendency of many companies is to try to take that capability and change the market and force the market in a certain direction where the technology doesn't matter, as Jay mentioned. Right. They're trying to get a need fulfilled. So your approach might work. It might not work. And if you're too wed to that approach, you're going to miss where you're actually going to have to provide value and hold that value creation over time. So I think that's the important part, is really understand it and give yourself a set of options. You may realise your initial approach is not the right approach for the market and you have to be flexible and readjust. You want to do that as early as possible and that's what I mean. You've got to really understand these buying needs of what's going on in the market.
Nina Mohanty [00:15:31] It strikes me as kind of counter intuitive in today's world. I, you know, just went through the fundraising process and with VCs in particular, they're like, how big is your market? They're like tells us the TAM and you're you are incentivised to give them the biggest number you can possibly find. It's like, you know, you see some founders being like cars, every car in the world. That's our TAM. Or like, you know, some founders might be building a streaming platform for music and be like, well, there's nearly 8 billion of us. So that's our TAM. Literally every human on the earth is going to stream using our platform. And it's like, well, actually that is counterintuitive to actually building a good product for the right reason and for the right problem, right?
Jay Haynes [00:16:19] In all seriousiousness, market sizing is the biggest problem because traditional definitions of the market as we show with the iPod are inherently flawed. If you think the market is for cars, you know, you've misunderstood what customers are trying to do. They're trying to get to a destination on time. And they used to use horses. You can use aeroplanes, right? And this is the famous Henry Ford quote, If I asked customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse, because what people want is to have you solve a problem that's independent of the solution. They don't want a horse. They want to get to a destination. So and this is, this is a huge problem. If you go to, you know, major consulting firms, if you go to equity analysts on Wall Street, they are using the textbook definition of a market which is inherently flawed. And that gets back to what Kevin was saying, that if you were going to segment your market, which is unbelievably critical to do, you can be in a big market. But the first people that are going to buy your product are those people that are pounding their head against the table to help you solve a problem. So let's use the music example again. Spotify even has a list called Mood. You can type in your mood and pull up, you don't even need to know the artist. You're like, I want a relaxing mood or I want an upbeat dance mood. And that is because the market really is not the product. That is the essential element of any product strategy. And back to your other question, Nina, if if people are at a company and every single person in product marketing, sales and the executive team can't articulate what the product strategy is, that's a huge red flag. You should stop and say we don't even have an agreed upon definition of what our product strategy is. And then you should go around to your team-mates and say, what is product strategy? Not even what is our product strategy, but just what is product strategy? And the good news is the answer is really simple. It's as it's what Kevin was saying. [00:18:19]Product strategy is simply what unmet customer needs. Are you satisfying better than your competitors? That's it. That is it. You're your job as a company, as a product marketing sales team is just to satisfy unmet needs better than your competitors. And that brings up the question is what is a customer need? Of course, but having that agreed upon definition of strategy, agreed upon segmentation of the market to identify those unmet needs for the customers you're going to serve is critical to success. [31.1s]
Nina Mohanty [00:18:51] There has to be and we've been talking about a lot of these analogies already, but, an analogy here between, you know, live music, a band on stage, the audience raring to go, you know, all of this excitement and actually building products. So I want to throw to you. Is there an analogy or is there a line to be drawn there?
Jay Haynes [00:19:17] Yeah, absolutely. So let's talk about music and money. So the same thing is happening in music and finance, music and money. And basically what it is, is the underlying customer problems are the same. You know, all everybody's financial problems are exactly the same. They've never changed. You're still trying to transact. You're still trying to plan for retirement. You're still trying to optimise your cash flow. These are all problems that are universal. You know, they've been around forever. Same thing with music. You're trying to create a mood with music. You're trying to enjoy a live experience, you know, etc.. And what's happened is technology has enabled companies to create solutions to solve those problems faster and more accurately and at lower cost. So I'll give you a good example in the music world. So first on the recording side, the reason I have a recording studio here is because the price of a recording studio has dropped thousands of times. You know, it used to cost $1,000,000 to have one of those huge consoles that you would see in a studio. And that doesn't include the electricity bill just to keep that thing powered up, right? And you need a team of engineers, you know, is ridiculous. Now, on any laptop, actually, even on your phone, you have a better recording studio than the Beatles, Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, you know, any huge band had ever. Right. So, so the technology has moved. It's advanced to help people solve the problem of creating and recording a song. And Clay Christensen put this very eloquently, he called it enabling non-consumption of the products because who could own a recording studio? Well, record companies and they could afford that's why the record companies held all the power, because if you wanted to record, you had to get a half million dollar record contract just to afford the rates to go into a recording studio, it's insanely expensive. Now, you know anybody on their laptop, I mean, you know, Billie Eilish and her brother sit in their, you know, bedroom and record, you know, massively successful album, right? And that's the same thing with the cloud, with finance and money. A good example is like financial planning. Financial planning is really hard and it's very expensive. And, you know, if you're wealthy, you can hire all sorts of people who are super educated and very expensive to help you, you know, financial plan. But as banks and financial institutions recognise, we should create a product that enables anybody to do better financial planning. And even true for businesses, if you can have a better system to help businesses understand, you know, their cash flow, so not just consumers but also businesses, you're lowering the cost of solving the problem and you're doing it faster and more accurately. And that's really the key to all innovation and that's where you're helping your customers solve their problem using the new technology, but not trying to force the technology on them. And remember, if you look at the venture world, everybody loves to look at the huge successes, you know, the Apples and Googles and etc.. But most of them fail. The vast majority of new ventures fail. So that actually is the key, is try to solve that failure rate. You don't want to fail. And this goes back to what Kevin said earlier about risk mitigation. And unfortunately, as a culture where we have this bad notion, everybody should be a risk taker. You want to be a swashbuckling entrepreneur taking a ton of risk. That's such an incredibly stupid idea. You want to be a risk mitigator. An entrepreneur, a great entrepreneur is a risk mitigators. You do not want to take risk like that is like jumping out of an aeroplane without a parachute. It's an incredibly dumb idea, like, you know, so you want to mitigate as much risk as possible.
Nina Mohanty [00:23:06] I was thinking about, you know, like I saw Billie Eilish performing at Glastonbury and the audience, I would almost liken them to being like super users almost, you know. Would you agree with that kind of comparison there?
Jay Haynes [00:23:23] I hope the innovation in live music is that we all show up for the show wearing headphones because it's, it went from the Beatles when they first arrived in the United States. No one could hear them. There was it was there was no amplification. Back to Kevin's point about the Grateful Dead, the Dead pioneered live audio very famously. And they were also famous for very low volume concerts. And the reason was they had repeat customers, their fans, you know, you have Grateful Dead fans that have seen hundreds of shows. And if you go see a hundred Olivia Rodrigo shows at the concerts, that you will go deaf. My daughters will go deaf. I'm getting them earplugs because, you know, you have a little decibel metre on your Apple Watch. It's like glowing red. The entire concert is like 110 decibels. It's so loud, it's offensive. And it also doesn't sound as good. So the artists are all wearing headphones. Olivia Rodrigo is not listening to, like, giant loudspeakers. She's got a perfectly, you know, beautiful 85 decibel, like, mix in her headphones. And that's what the audience should experience. You can still hear the people singing and hear the background and you know, you can have the bass be felt because you've got that low frequency. But it'd be a much better experience to have lower volume, higher quality audio.
Kevin Trilli [00:24:44] I wanted to hit your point about the super users, and I want to make sure that this is mapping as we're trying to map it to software and everything. Like I think going back to the Grateful Dead, I think the important thing, they transformed the music product in a very specific way. I think it's important to call it from a business perspective, which is they allowed their fans to record their concerts for free and then trade these. And they were the first band really to do this in mass. Other bands like The Allman Brothers and a few others did this to follow. But that's a such an important concept when you think of the primary product was a certain direction that we talk about radio albums, eight tracks, and they're like, no, we're about the live experience because of our fan connection, our customers, and therefore we're going to take a risk because the fans wanted to do this to save this very special experience and record it. So not only were they the fans, the superfans, to your point, they actually had developers, they were called tapers. I was one of them for a while. They bought DAT machines, really expensive microphones. They had a very, very high level of quality they searched for. And this became massive viral marketing for their product. Which what did it do? Sold more tickets because that was their business model in this big job to be done market of creating mood. They were live mood and their connection was fuelled by not only their superfans, as we've talked about, the listeners and the singers, but they actually had this developer community that they embraced. And my goodness, how does that analogy play toward any software product now? Is that key to having developers who use your product and integrate with it with special rights and privileges and you know, you're speaking directly to them as a persona. And what happened? They sold out 2,300 concerts over 35 years, and that was the way that they fuelled their business model and their product strategy, which to the nature of what they were, is an improvisation band, they improvised their product strategy over time with their fans, which is an amazing concept to think about.
Nina Mohanty [00:26:35] That really speaks to where we are today. And you know what you said about having individual headphones. I mean, I have been to one of those what do they call them, like silent discos. But it does allow for a certain amount of personalisation now to, right? Creating products for specific personas, whether that is leveraging an existing API and taking what you need from that and using that to build something specific for someone else, or for a different client or whatever that might be. Am I going too far with that analogy there, or would you say that that's a pretty fair comparison to make?
Jay Haynes [00:27:15] No, I think it's great. And to stick with music, the reason that it's important is everybody is different. My hearing's different than yours, Nina. Different from Kevin's. Unfortunately, I have some hearing loss at 4K after too many concerts, and I really don't want my daughters to have that. And I actually have tinnitus which is, you know, a problem. And already you can see this, Apple is doing some of this. I think they have a new feature where you can literally take a picture of your ear and, you know, you can sample someone's hearing and say, okay, you have a different EQ curve. Essentially no bass and treble, for people don't know music tech. And you can because Nina, if you're at a concert, you're going to want to hear it differently and you might have like a little bit more bass, you know, where someone else wants someone wants more vocals and you can't do that at the Olivia Rodrigo concert. And I think it's amazing to me also that they haven't learnt the lesson the Grateful Dead, that Kevin was talking about about this openness because every single person also at the Olivia Rodrigo concert held their phone up the entire time to videotape the entire concert. And when you get back home, that's going to sound terrible. It just is going to it's going to sound awful. And, you know, video call quality is probably pretty good. But why doesn't she just record that concert, you know, in San Francisco and make it available to fans at super high quality? They'll eventually get there, I think, and charge for it. Yeah, sure.
Nina Mohanty [00:28:43] So I want to land finally on jobs to be done, which is personally one of my favourite frameworks for product development. Jay, I'm going to go back to you because it's literally what you're currently doing at your day job. Can you explain to us what jobs to be done is?
Jay Haynes [00:29:02] It's a very, very simple idea that has big implications, and Clay Christianson really helped popularise the term and it's a way of articulating customer problems. So the core idea is that customers don't want products. They want to get a job done. So it's become known as jobs to be done, but it's really customer problems. And the big insight was that the customer problems are independent of any product solution or technology, and they're stable over time. So what does that mean for product teams? It means that you can actually know what customers want. And that's really, that's an important insight because jobs are very, very complex. So if you're trying to create a mood with music, that job has 15, 20 different steps and hundreds of needs. That's true. If you're trying to get to a destination on time. In financial markets, if you're trying to plan for retirement or optimise cash flow. All of those things are now known as jobs to be done, and they're essentially customer problems. [00:30:08]They're really goals that someone is trying to achieve. So you've got a goal you're trying to achieve, you know, frame it as a problem or a job done. And the reason it's important is you can do all sorts of things with the customer's job. You can segment the market, you can understand what they're willing to pay to get the job done. You can understand how much effort it takes to get the job done. And all of those are critical inputs into product development and product strategy independent of any product ideas you have. And this is, this is one of the issues and the reason that product management is so hard and product development often fails is people start with ideas and they think, I got a great idea. And as Kevin's mentioned multiple times here, well, why is that idea good. That's the question you have to ask. And ultimately, that will bring you back to a customer problem, a job to be done.
Nina Mohanty [00:31:05] When I think about product roadmaps and the ones that I've personally helped define or work on, you kind of see some businesses fall into this trap of defining the roadmap based on, hey, that'd be cool, wouldn't it be nice if... this would be a cool feature. So Kevin, I mean, when you're thinking about setting your product strategy or looking at your team's product roadmap, would you say that you're actually using jobs to be done to build that out and the direction that you want to take the product org? [29.8s]
Kevin Trilli [00:31:35] The comment I made earlier about the tendency and drift of teams, I've been, the last couple of companies I've worked in, I've either been at the very early stage of it or walked into a relatively early stage. And what typically happens is you need to shock the product org back to thinking about jobs to be done. And this is again the nature of an operational, you know, all these businesses are high pressure and customers are demanding and there's escalations - and we're recording this on a Friday here - take a pause on a Friday and think about, what have I thought about to advance my understanding of the customer job this week as a product person? And I bet there's an immediate feeling of panic that you haven't done enough. I can almost guarantee it. Now you play it forward a month, now you play it forward a quarter. And what happens to a company? It's the end of the year, it's the holidays. And we are all stacking assumptions continually. But man, have we built a lot of stuff. So what is the deal with all that stuff? How does it fit back to the fundamental need, the why, in which your strategy should be developed out of? There's always drift that happens and it's just something you have to keep bringing back. And so I personally try to force myself to say to a customer, 'can I just come and listen to what you're doing? Can I see your situation, what you're doing? Can I see the people you're talking to?' I guarantee you're going to learn something by doing it. [79.9s] Even if you have this initial ball of understanding, ball of clay, you're going to keep building to it because again, it's going to shift a little bit, not the need, but the how the needs going to be serviced. And so generally this gets left behind, this gets segmented out to the commercial sales organisations and it just the natural tendency of organisations is to keep building more technology or more features, but those features don't generate the profit and the value proposition and differentiation they did one, two, three years earlier. And I've seen that pattern over and over and over. So you've got to bring those together and sometimes artificially bring them together for some period of time before they naturally will go split out again.
Nina Mohanty [00:33:34] We unfortunately have to wrap up. I know that we could go on for hours and hours and hours, but before I let you go, I want to ask each of you, 30 seconds, [00:33:45]what is the optimal way to approach product strategy? When you just are plopped down into a new project, a new business? Jay, 30 seconds, how are you approaching it?
Jay Haynes [00:33:56] Figure out which unmet customer needs you are going to satisfy better than your competitors. And that means having an understanding what customer needs are in the job, what the segment is. Why is there a group of people who are struggling differently than the overall market? And analysing how quickly and accurately your competitors, which also might be your existing product, get the job done and satisfy those needs. And ultimately, at the end of day, the product strategy is designed to create customer value, and customer value is getting the job done faster and more accurately for your customer.
Nina Mohanty [00:34:37] Kevin, what about you?
Kevin Trilli [00:34:38] I should have went it first. Oh, boy.
Nina Mohanty [00:34:41] Sorry.
Kevin Trilli [00:34:41] So I'm going to have to build on top of that and just say that I guarantee that the current product strategy can benefit for some focus and to establish some non-goals based on what Jay just eloquently explained. And then to have conviction that your chosen direction is, and hopefully that maps to your strengths and your capabilities, is correct so that you have this prioritisation framework built into it. Because, again, the drift is going to happen, as I mentioned, kind of lacking the understanding of the core problem. But there's a drive of companies to want to expand. What's the second product? How do we keep going? How do we make more money? Right, and that's going to pull you in ways that don't necessarily align with the job market. And you got to be real careful with that. We all have to please shareholders and grow, that's what we do in these companies, right? But if you're not going back and keeping that somewhat aligned, which is often saying let's double down on a few things versus keep adding many things. And that's where strategies get diluted and try to accomplish too much and get too complicated, especially as you bring in portfolio strategy second, third and fourth products. It gets very complicated as you move to business strategy and how to manage that. So if you keep going back to these fundamentals and ground yourself in that, you'll be able to be much more with conviction on your prioritisation and saying no when you need to say no, which is very difficult to do.
Nina Mohanty [00:35:56] Well, thank you both for such a fantastic conversation. Thank you for joining us and giving me lots of reasons to giggle and talk about Olivia Rodrigo.
Kevin Trilli [00:36:04] Likewise. Good riff.
Jay Haynes [00:36:06] Yeah. Thanks, Nina.
Nina Mohanty [00:36:07] There you have it. Did you ever think you would hear so much about music in an episode talking about tech and product management? I certainly did not. I'm so grateful to Jay and Kevin for walking us through how they think about product management, the different waves of frameworks and approaches to product management in their ver, very accomplished careers that they've seen. But also talking about the parallels that there are to recording music, to being in a live music audience, to being a fan of music, and even to a certain extent, co-creation and how we can do that today as consumers of music, but also the parallels that there are when we are building technology. And lastly, of course, my favourite topic was just nerding out about jobs to be done and how that is a really great place to start when thinking about one's own product roadmap. So that brings us to the end of this episode of Architects of Change brought to you by Mambu. Thank you to my two amazing guests, Jay Haynes and Kevin Trilli. If you'd like to delve into more of Kevin's work, please head to mambu.com/insights and to find out more about Jay's work, please visit thrive, thrv.com. For more Mambu podcasts, head to wherever you get your podcasts and don't forget to subscribe to our channels so you don't miss an episode. I've been your host, Nina Mohanty. See you next time.
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