Magic and Fintech – a thought experiment

A thought experiment on the sort of fintech experiences and products we’d want as consumers in the distant (or near) future. The thought process is structured as a conversation between an older father and an adult son. Italics is the dad.

So son, hows your financial life going? Everything under control?

Oh, Fiona’s got it all covered.

Whats Fiona?

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Investment products are counter-intutive| do conventional engagement metrics matter?

Product engagement is a hot topic. As a product person, you are always looking for the quantifiable metrics that indicate that your product is solving your user’s problem and that you are on your way to product market fit.

The conventional metrics for product market fit usually sound like the below with the trend line going up and to the right

  • User engagement measured by DAU MAU
  • Time spent on your product (Session time)
  • Core loop (# of times your core customer value transaction is executed)

An area which I’m deeply interested in is – do these same metrics hold true when we are dealing with anything related with money? Our relationship with money is very complicated. In silicon valley we see everything as a technology problem, is that true with money? is the success of digital products that deal with money more of a behavioral finance problem than a technology problem?
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PM personas in the wild

Over the years I had the opportunity to work with and interview a lot of product managers. Once you see enough people a few traits emerge. What follows is a humorous take on the various PM personas found in the wild via Dilbert cartoons.

Disclaimer: This is supposed to be funny and a caricature. If this offends you I’m sorry, but please no hate comments and/or twitter hate – it’s just not worth it.

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The one thing that demonstrates greatness

I’ve been really fortunate over my career to be in companies that were experiencing tremendous growth. As companies grow, hiring and getting the right team in place is important, multiple interviews and mistakes later I’ve landed on one key insight, one thing that I look for

creating playbooks > following playbooks

What is a playbook?

I define playbooks broadly as a set of processes, principles, required behaviors, and measures that lead to a repeatable outcome. A playbook is structured and is the key enabler for scale in the problem area of your choice. Problem: Hiring, figure out your playbook. Problem: User acquisition: figure out your playbook. Problem: High-velocity product delivery: figure out your playbook. Continue reading “The one thing that demonstrates greatness”

15 minutes is all it takes – practical tips for distributed global teams

Global, distributed teams are everywhere. Companies expand beyond their home country to grow their business and/or find talent. Pretty soon you are managing a global team and your managers are all over the globe. How do you cope? How do you scale yourself and your team? How do you keep in touch?

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Practical tips for accountability in product teams

Accountability is a fascinating topic. The textbook definition is “the quality or state of being accountableespecially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions”. While a lot has been written about individuals, I’ve found in my experience, the actual mechanics of how to think about team accountability for product teams, pretty lacking. This post is an attempt to describe the framework that has been useful for me. A few of these tips are borrowed from the great executives I’ve had the pleasure to work with and a few are homegrown. Hopefully, this helps somebody who is just starting out or well into their manager/team leader journey.

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FinTech businesses, platforms or not?

I’ve been deeply interested in understanding what actually makes a platform business a platform¹ business ?— are there any patterns? How do platform businesses actually win? Is there something unique about them or is it all just branding? This is a particularly insightful question to ponder on as, if you talk to any company today , you are certain to hear “ we are a platform”:). Everybody wants to be a platform or at least positions themselves as one. How does one separate the wheat from the chaff?

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Scaling product teams the structured way

You’re the first PM at a startup. You are a small company with one product, searching for product market fit. You grind and preserve and you achieve the holy grail of product market fit. CEO walks over and says “It’s time to start scaling, give me a plan, how are you going to scale the product management team? Let’s chat in a few days”. At this moment you are probably thinking “whoa what? team? There is going to be more of me (PMs)?”

How can I do it? So many questions. Where do I start? How do I hire? What do I do?

Have no fear, read on.

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