How can decision science principles revolutionize product management and drive user behavior? In this podcast, Join VP of Growth Heidi Gibson as she interviews Duolingo Fmr. Director of Product Jorge Mazal to explore the fascinating world of decision science and its practical application in product management. Drawing from his extensive experience in the industry, Jorge shares valuable insights and real-life examples that highlight the power of understanding user behavior and leveraging decision science principles to design products that deliver exceptional outcomes.

Subscribe to the Product Talk podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and catch every conversation with leading product executives. Episodes drop on Wednesdays.

Show Notes

  1. Decision science involves understanding people’s decisions and using that knowledge to design products.
  2. Duolingo introduced a leaderboard feature to promote competition and increase user engagement.
  3. The leaderboard allowed users to compete based on their language learning progress.
  4. The feature positively impacted user engagement, retention rates, monetization, and social media sharing.
  5. Duolingo used communication channels like push notifications, emails, and in-product pop-ups to engage users with features like leaderboards.
  6. Understanding user psychology and segmenting users based on motivations (competitiveness, mastery, collaboration) is important.
  7. Evidence-driven decision-making is crucial, considering insights from successful companies and other sectors.
  8. Techniques from different industries can be applied to b2b products, such as using monetization tactics from dating apps.
  9. Session economics, a concept introduced by an investor, is valuable in product management.
  10. Increasing perceived rewards in user interactions, even in non-consumer settings like accounting software, can boost engagement.
  11. Messaging, celebrations, and recognition can create a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction for users.
  12. Acknowledging the humanity of business users and incorporating humor and personal connection is important.
  13. User behavior surprises can occur, such as users not upgrading due to product not being the best allocation of their learning budget.
  14. Continuous improvements in user flow, like the checkout process and Duolingo streak feature, yield significant gains.
  15. Reducing friction in onboarding, setting expectations, and obtaining permissions for push notifications are key.
  16. Lenny’s newsletter and Bring the Donuts website are recommended resources for learning about customer psychology and product management.
  17. Jorge is working on creating his own content in the future.
  18. A great product solves user needs effectively and elegantly while providing emotional benefits and personal satisfaction.
  19. The podcast episode provides insights into decision science, user behavior, rewards, and onboarding in product management.

About the speaker
Jorge Mazal Duolingo, CPO Member
About the host
Heidi Gibson GoDaddy, Sr. Director Product Management

Heidi Gibson has over 20 years of product management experience, with most of that focused on SaaS consumer/small business software. She is currently Senior Director of Product Led Growth at Adobe, and past companies include Typeform, GoDaddy and and other industry leaders. Heidi has a B.S. and M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT.

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