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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Idea killers, how to bounce back

whats-happening-here-concerns-me-enormously

A key skill in my opinion as a product person is to identify “idea de-railers”. Idea de-railers are specific phrases used to block ideas from going further. Once you can identify this pattern, it’s much easier to plan around it, and as leaders attack it head-on. Below follow some choice de-railers from my collection.

Obvious disclaimer, Yes product managers should be empathetic, yes everybody in the company is driving towards the same thing so idea-derailers seems a bit harsh of a characterization, yes this is not ideal company culture, yes yes yes. However, reality is an approximation of the ideal, it always helps to understand human behavior (good and bad) and have a plan to tackle. These are just techniques that have been useful to me 🙂  Continue reading “Idea killers, how to bounce back”

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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