This week on Product Talk we hand the hosting chair over to our very own Founder, and Managing Partner of Mighty Capital, SC Moatti. Her guest this week is Cisco SVP and GM of Security and Collaboration, Jeetu Patel, a product leader with decades of experience managing and driving digital product, lays out the future possibilities of the remote office. Listen to the whole episode right here on Products That Count, catch the highlights below, and don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and Spotify as to not miss out on a single insight from the top leaders in product.
Lessons to your younger self
Even the most revered product leaders, CPOs, and CEOs once lived the life of the young, hungry product manager. SC asks Jeetu to look back on the years and provide advice to the younger generation of future product leaders.
“Picking the right problem to solve is 99% of the game. The harder the problem you pick, the higher the likelihood of success because you attract really good talent to help you solve that problem. When you pick a mediocre problem, the probability of success actually drops, which is very counterintuitive.”
“You become the sum average of the people that you spend the most time with, so make sure that you are very deliberate on the kind of people that you’re learning from and spending time with. Surround yourself with people that can stretch your game, then ideally, bring them to work with you.”
“There’s something fundamentally unethical about building a mediocre product and taking it to market. Product is the origination of the value chain, so at least try to build a great product. You might fail, but strive to build a great product. Don’t strive to build something that’s just good enough.”
On future trends of the remote office
In a decade, the world of business will be able to look back and pinpoint the exact quarter the 9-5 commuter life became a thing of the past. Whether it’s hybrid or fully remote, the digital office is primed to change business life as we know it.
“I think you’re going to find that this obsession that we have around productivity alone is the wrong way to think about it. We have to think about well-being as the other side of the coin to productivity.”
“We have a unique global opportunity at this point where, for the first time in any kind of real way, we can dream that the 3 billion digital workers will have access to equal opportunity. Tech can level the playing field. Regardless of their geography, socio economic level, personality type, or tech proficiency, there will be opportunity to participate in a global economy.”
On product roles and product philosophy
Anyone who has lived the product management life knows there is no straightforward path to the C-suite. That being said, there is a certain mindset that can help open those doors. SC invites Jeetu to share his thoughts on the differences between product roles and the mindset that drives them.
“It has to start with a great product and a discontinuous level of asymmetrical thinking, so that you don’t just assume that everything that has been there in the past is what’s going to continue to be. It has to start with the idea that people don’t switch to you because of something that’s 20% better. People switch to you when something is 10x better.”
“There’s no clear guideline or industry known term that defines the difference between CPO and VP of Product. To me, though, it comes down to a difference in mindset. There’s the person who is in charge of keeping the trains running on time, then there’s the person that is thinking if the train is even the right mode of transportation.”
“The game is going to be played by influence, not ownership. But in the end, you have the ultimate accountability of whether you succeed or fail.”
About the speaker
Jeetu Patel is Cisco’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Security and Collaboration. He leverages a diverse set of capabilities to lead the strategy and development for these businesses and also owns P&L responsibility for this multibillion-dollar portfolio. Jeetu combines a bold vision, steeped in product design and development expertise, operational rigor, and innate market understanding to create high-growth Software as a Service (SaaS) businesses. Prior to joining Cisco, Jeetu was the Chief Product Officer (CPO) and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) at Box, a role he pioneered. He also created the Box Platform business unit where he led product strategy, marketing, and developer relations – driving products from the incubation stage to mature offerings.
About the host
SC Moatti is a technology visionary, entrepreneur and investor. She is the founding partner of Mighty Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and Products That Count, one of the largest communities of product managers, leaders and founders in the world. Previously, she built products that billions of people use at Facebook, Nokia and Electronic Arts. She also serves on boards of both public and private companies, including mobile technology giant Opera Software (OPERA:Oslo). An award-winning bestselling author, Moatti frequently gives keynotes on business and technology, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, and on NPR. She lectures at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she earned her MBA and has a Master of Science in electrical engineering. Andrew Chen, one of Uber's top executives, called SC “a genius at making mobile products people love.” For more information, visit scmoatti.com.