This is the 12th episode of the 2022 Product Awards series. Here, Ubiety Technologies CPO Nacho Andrade sits down with TripleBlind Chief Revenue Officer Jay Smilyk. Jay points out that product people need to listen to customers, but likewise, customers need to listen as well. Next, he discusses the idea that data is the new oil. Data creates business opportunities, and through that data is serving the greater good. He also explains what makes product managers unique, as well as successful.
Subscribe to the Product Talk podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and catch every conversation with leading product executives. New episodes go live every week. Episodes in the Product Awards Series drop on Fridays.
On listening as a two-way street
Product managers and salesmen need to listen to customer pain in order to serve those needs. By the same token, customers need to listen as well. At the least, says Jay, they need to be open to listening.
Jay says, “The customer side needs to be open to listen. I get it. That phone rings 800 times a day. You get a million spam. You get all kinds of things. But once we’ve agreed to have a conversation, and we go forward… I think everyone is a little jaded.
“If we could just step back and say, I really am here to solve your problem. Yes, I’m gonna make money. I’m not here to do it for free. It’s okay. But I want to make sure you get the most value out of what I’m selling you. Because I am selling you something. I think that is one of my biggest pet peeves. How do we get to that level playing field of trust, to move forward? Listen, we may walk away and say this isn’t a good fit. Or you could probably solve this problem better if you did X, Y, and Z. But at least give me the respect to listen to what we’re trying to do. And we can see if we can solve your problem together.”
On data serving the greater good
As the saying goes, data is the new oil. While oil generated much wealth for those in the oil industry, it also enabled the incredible standard of living we now take for granted. Similarly, data offers similar benefits. Jay says TripleBilnd explicitly looks for ways data can serve the greater good.
He says, “We really do look at, what could you do? What would it mean if you could do? Those open-ended questions of using our technology.
“I’ll give you a good example. If I was able to allow a Third World Country to collaborate on, let’s say, medical data with top tier medical facilities here in the US, where both of them benefit. The top tier health care system, here in the US, gets data from an underserved population that they probably don’t have information on. Which makes their trials and everything that they do better. But at the same time, getting quicker access, and healthcare information to a lesser served population. That system, and I hate to use the cliche, but that’s a win win.
“And those are the things that we work really, really hard at. And you always hear the cliche, data is the new oil, the new gold, whatever. But it is true. And there’s lots of great things and lots of money you can make with that data. But there’s also a lot of really good things you can do for the greater good. If you can collaborate and work that data together to serve the greater public.
“Maybe it’s just a better quality of life. Maybe somebody puts a coffee shop that I really like closer to my bus stop. Who knows? There’s always going to be people using that data.”
On how great product managers recognize potential
Here, Jay offers a view on product managers from a non-product perspective. Jay believes that PMs are unique in the way that they bring out the best in ideas as well as people. Additionally, he says the best PMs he’s worked with have been the most hungry to meet the customer.
According to Jay, “A good product manager not only is able to find the good within a product or an idea, but to find it within his people. And understanding what resources are needed to bring whatever you want to fruition. Sometimes even the people that you’re hiring might not think they have it, but a good product manager, just like with a product, sees that the person has potential. They know what they need. They know that they can get that out of that person. And that’s only going to cause that person to grow, become a better employee. And you know, who knows where it goes from there. That is that kind of part.
“That’s why, to me, a Product Manager is a little bit unique. Because I think they get siloed into thinking of a widget, a thing. And it’s not. The product is everything that encompasses it. So that’s what I look for. And the guys who have been most successful are the ones that are bugging you. I want to go out and meet the customer. Or if you lose an opportunity, they’re not saying, Well, they didn’t know what they were looking for. It’s, Why did we lose? That post-mortem piece. What could we have done better? Did we go out this opportunity? Maybe it just wasn’t a good fit. But constantly having that feedback loop.”
About the speaker
About the host
Big idea product leader specializing in the space between 0 to 1, digital transformation, and innovation.