Products That Count Crew Member Spotlight with Thomas Daly Samsung NEXT Product Lead
Every month, Products That Count will bring you stories from each of our crew members across the country. This month, the spotlight is on Thomas Daly, one of the hosts of the Product Talk podcast.
To us, he’s a valued member of the Products That Count Crew. But, when he’s not hosting great episodes of Product Talk, Thomas Daly is the Principal Product Manager at Samsung NEXT. He has worked in various product roles for nearly 15 years!
Daly is a product and UX guy who focuses on creating beautiful, useful and memorable experiences for consumer internet, mobile devices and consumer electronics. His specialties include:
- Fostering and nourishing high-performance (read: kick ass) product teams.
- Deep awareness and understanding of current design, technical and cultural trends and best practices for the web and mobile devices.
- The ability to bridge the gap between the business goals and the technology required to design experiences.
- The design and management skills to actually make it happen.
- Mixing data analysis with creativity for continuous innovation.
When he’s not building products, he spends time with his wife and four children in Nyack, NY and can be found strumming his guitars and toying with his effects pedals. Fun fact: Thomas and his wife Dana took a year off to start a micro-bakery business, baking out of their driveway with a 9,000 lb mobile wood-fired oven they bought from a baker in Ohio and drove back to the East Coast. But the call of the tech industry called him back, but he’s happy to go deep with you if you ever want to discuss the magical art of turning inedible grasses into delicious wholesome bread.
What’s your favorite product and why?
You can tell Daly loves products because he couldn’t keep his answer to just one.
“Mirror (Mirror.co). It is a truly enchanted object. 90% of the time, it’s a well built, unassuming full-length mirror. But when activated by the Mirror app, it becomes a futuristic fitness portal that feels magical (even though I know how it works).
2nd fav: Acorns. It’s a micro-savings platform, plus bank account with a slick tungsten debit card. Rounds up your “loose change” and auto-invests for you behind the scenes. The brilliant design of both the app and web experiences and the physical design of the debit card is top-notch.”
Why does product management matter to you?
This is the answer of a great Product Manager who loves what they do.
“Product management matters to me because the world is filled with physical and digital products and experiences. As product managers, we sit at the confluence of the activity streams that go into these products. As such, we have an incredible responsibility—and a lot of fun while we’re at it—to make sure we’re making the world a better place.”
So, Thomas Daly, what makes a great product?
Daly channeled his inner Billie Eilish with his answer to this question.
“A great product is one that makes you say to yourself, ‘Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?’ It seems obvious once it exists, like the iPod and then the iPhone.”
What makes a great product manager?
There’s a reason it takes a special person to be a great PM.
“A great product manager keeps a steady hand on the tiller while navigating often unpredictable seas. [We] make thousands of decisions per week to ensure designers and engineers are unblocked and that value is delivered to customers and the business. First, turning ambiguity into a coherent strategy and then executing on it is our art form.
Product management matters to me because the world is filled with physical and digital products and experiences. As product managers, we sit at the confluence of the activity streams that go into these products. As such, we have an incredible responsibility—and a lot of fun while we’re at it—to make sure we’re making the world a better place.”
What are the blogs, newsletters, books, and other resources that you find most helpful?
Thomas Daly shared a great list for those looking for some additional inspiration.
- Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan
- Rich Mironov on Mind the Product
- Intercom’s Product & Design Blog and their podcast
- a16z podcast
- No Mercy/No Malice
- productboard Blog
- Strategyzer’s books “Designing Value Propositions” and “Testing Business Ideas”
- Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim
- And so much more!