Celebrating World Product Day 2021
By João Alves
Today is World Product Day 🎉 and we have asked our Product leaders from Chattermill to share their product philosophy, insights and advice for you all.
First off, we asked our CEO & Co-Founder, Mikhail, to share his thoughts on our Product Culture...
Chattermill’s culture even beyond the Product teams is very product centric. In the early stages the culture is quite usually shaped by the foundation story and for better or for worse, both Dmitry and I are product people at heart which leads to us thinking through problems we see in the world through a product lens. Unsurprisingly given our space, we put a huge emphasis on learning from our customers. Beyond listening, we always strive to not be afraid to try new things, be bold with our vision, and ruthless in executing it.
We asked Mikhail what the thought process is behind a new product…
For me it usually starts with customer development or in other words having an unbiased, critical conversation with a customer or a prospect about their problems. Typically after having a few conversations like this, you start seeing common patterns and then start working on a solution. When it comes to solutions, it’s usually helpful to deconstruct the customer’s pain and pattern match it to other problems, often in completely different spaces. Then you can find the right inspiration to start building...
Meet Chattermill’s Product Leaders 🌟
(From left to right) >> Mikhail Dubov - Co-Founder & CEO, Aji Ghose - VP Data & Research, Lorenzo Espinosa - Director of Data Operations, Andrew Ivanov - Head of Engineering, Jack Miller - Head of Growth, Gregory Muryn-Mukha - Product Designer, Vasily Shalaev - Product Lead.
Chattermill’s Product Principles 👇
- Everybody at Chattermill deeply cares and passionately gets involved in shaping our product
- Our product culture is an evidence-formed culture
- Obsessed with feedback from our customers and it's one of our core company values
- Staying ahead of the curve by incorporating cutting-edge NLP tech into our product
- Product Success is based on how well we can deliver on speed of insight and depth of insight
- Strong sense of growing and developing together with book-clubs, meet-ups and forums
- We practice what we preach
- We truly value research and experimentation
Q&A with our Product Leaders ❓
What is Chattermill's Product Culture like?
Chattermill's product culture is defined by everyone at Chattermill deeply caring and passionately getting involved in shaping our product, from sales and marketing right through to customer success, data scientists and engineers. It's worth noting that Chattermill's product culture is an evidence-informed culture, which means we use the best set of prioritised user insights available. - Aji Ghose
What's the thought process behind a new product?
At Chattermill, we're (unsurprisingly!) obsessed with feedback from our customers, so much so that it's one of our core company values. Nearly all of our impactful product features stem from iteratively listening, observing and understanding our users and then weaving together various technologies that transform our users' experiences when analysing customer feedback data. We also have a history of staying ahead of the curve by incorporating cutting-edge Natural Language Processing tech into our product. - Aji Ghose
How do you measure product success?
At its core, our product success is based on how well we can deliver on two critical user experience dimensions, namely speed of insight and depth of insight. Our product (or specific features) are only truly successful if they can provide faster insights and/or greater granularity to inform actionable business decision making. - Aji Ghose
How do you level up your product leadership skills?
We have a strong sense of growing and developing together, which, in practice, translates to a bunch of engaging activities, and there is usually something for everyone at Chattermill. For example, we run product-themed book clubs and in-depth discussions from data-intensive product applications to the cognitive science underlying seamless user experiences!
We run a paper club where we discuss and strategise based on state-of-the-art NLP research and explore possibilities for improving our "under-the-hood" algorithms. We've recently developed this paper club into a virtual Meetup open for anyone interested to join, which has already grown to 400+ members and is an excellent forum for honing our product skills by sharing our knowledge and learning from others in this space. - Aji Ghose
How do you incorporate customer feedback in decision making?
Our mission at Chattermill is to enable our partners to increase their customer-centricity by providing them with holistic customer insights to guide them in building the right solutions for their clients and users. We practise what we preach.
We use a range of qualitative and quantitative feedback sources such as NPS surveys, customer interviews, support requests, behavioural data or feedback from our internal teams.
Using Chattermill to unify and aggregate our own data, we can continuously unearth product gaps and opportunities to validate our hypotheses and inform the next steps in our product roadmap. - Lorenzo Espinosa
How do you optimise products for different stages of growth?
Given the deep tech nature of our products, one of our core beliefs at Chattermill is the value of research and experimentation. Hence, before launching new products, we conduct several validation exercises and beta rollouts to:
- Refine the value proposition for the potential customers
- Confirm the technical feasibility of our proposed solution from several angles including Engineering and Data Science
Ensure that our solution is aligned with the business strategy and objectives
When it comes to optimising our already launched products, we use product sequencing where possible as a way to create compounding value. In other words, we try to identify the key features or changes that will satisfy an immediate user need and, at the same time, lay the foundation for future shared capabilities. - Lorenzo Espinosa
How did you get into Product?
The lines between Growth, Marketing and Product over the past couple of years have become increasingly merged together. Product as a function is no longer focused 100% on customer problems, objectives tied to commercial targets are becoming part of Product's responsibility and so blending Growth skills and approaches together with typically Product driven projects is becoming a common way for Growth and Marketing operators to work in product (including myself!) - Jack Miller
What tools are critical for your product function?
Within Growth, rapid experimentation and prototyping are key to moving quickly and iterating on successful projects. Focusing on no-code / low code approaches and tools such as Airtable, Zapier and Figma allow you to stay nimble and avoid taking on too much technical debt for projects. - Jack Miller
What do you think the Product function will look like in 2 years?
There has been a meteoric rise in companies using Product Led Growth to scale their Go To Market strategy from well established companies to new startups.
This shift has increased the need for Product Led Growth skills and mindset within Product functions across the board and I think that within the next two years we will see a gradual shift of typically commercial targets and objectives being part of Product's remit alongside the emergence of completely new roles oriented around Product Led Growth (shameless side project plug: if you are interested to find out what kind of roles Product Led Growth is creating, check out PLGJ). - Jack Miller